Guide to British Music of the 1960s

September 2016

CD Review: The Beatles - Eight Days a Week - Live at the Hollywood Bowl

 

Released to coincide with the new film The Beatles The Touring Years, Eight Days a Week is a remastered version of Live at the Hollywood Bowl which was released in 1977 but never on CD. The original album was the only "official" Beatles live release but was marked by excessive audience noise, i.e. girls screaming. This made the band difficult to hear and, indeed, they found it difficult to hear themselves when playing. Back in 1964-1965 there were no monitors, the band played through low wattage amplifiers and the house PA was generally used for the audience. For 2016, Giles Martin, son of Sir George Martin who oversaw the updated version of 1, has worked on the 3-track tapes to improve sound quality. This has removed a lot of the audience noise/screams and allows the Beatles to be heard. This is a revelation as the band were playing extremely well and together, even though they may have had difficulty hearing themselves.

Even after releasing several albums there were still a lot of cover versions included, several of the songs remaining in the set from Hamburg days: Twist & Shout, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Roll Over Beethoven, Long Tall Sally, Everybody's Trying to be My Baby. The Beatles' original tracks are a mix of singles, b-sides and album tracks covering the LPs that had been released.

This is a document of the band playing at their peak. At the time the Beatles could do no wrong. LPs and singles were major successes around the world. The band was also touring extensively where they played to packed houses, with accompanying screaming. In fact they had been playing live extensively since 1960 and they knew how to handle an audience. However, in 1-2 years they would give up playing live and concentrate on the studio. Although there were several reasons for ending touring, the band must surely have been burnt out from the excessive touring.

The tracks are taken from a number of gigs at the Hollywood Bowl. Giles Martin stated that he was given a free reign to choose tracks from the master tapes but he ended up choosing the same selection of songs that his father had chosen for the vinyl release many years earlier. This is surely the Beatles at their finest, especially now they had been heard much more clearly. Each song is greeted by audience screams not just the hit singles. Maybe there was so much noise that the audience found it hard to tell exactly what the band was playing.

There are some definite highlights. Things We Said Today is incredible in its live incarnation. When McCartnet launches into "Me I'm just the lucky kind" the audience goes crazy. Maybe they are shaking their moptops at the same time. Ringo's turn on Boys and George's Roll Over Beethoven may be cover versions but they are greeted almost as if they are the latest hit.

There is not much to be said about the music that has not been said before. These are all classic tracks that sound great in the live context. This is an essential album of the world's greatest band.

Apple

Released: 9 September 2016

Essential Tracks

  • A Hard Day's Night
  • Things We Said Today
  • She Loves You

Track Listing

  1. Twist & Shout
  2. She's a Woman
  3. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
  4. Ticket to Ride
  5. Can't Buy Me Love
  6. Things We Said Today
  7. Roll Over Beethoven
  8. Boys
  9. A Hard Day's Night
  10. Help!
  11. All My Loving
  12. She Loves You
  13. Long Tall Sally

Bonus Tracks

  1. You Can't Do That
  2. I Want To Hold Your Hand
  3. Everybody's Trying to be My Baby
  4. Baby's in Black

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