If you’re a super-fan like me, with 40-years of Beatlemania under your belt (I was raised on a diet of Rubber Soul, married in Gibraltar à la John and Yoko and middle-named my son Jude), glimpsing the Apple Corps logo in a trailer might make your heart skip a beat. Yes, Ron Howard’s shiny, new documentary, Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, is an authorised release, produced with the “full cooperation” of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.
What’s more, for its theatrical release, the documentary will be followed by a 30-minute restored version of the Beatles’ 1965 iconic performance at New York’s Shea Stadium. The sound was remastered at Abbey Road Studios by among others George Martin’s son Giles.
From early Cavern performances to their final gig at Candlestick Park, the film focuses on 1962 to 1966, when the band played 166 concerts in 90 cities – and the trailer captures this buzz. To the strains of Day Tripper, it introduces the boys as if we’ve never met them, the stills and footage looking vibrant against a jarring audio clip (“you guys are nothing but a bunch of British Elvis Presleys”) countered by a classic Ringo quip.
Then we’re into Help!, a song Lennon wrote about The Beatles’ stifling success. As young Ringo talks about intense pressure, on-screen titles set out the film’s stall: “The Band you know. The story you don’t.”
Enter a flash of modern-day McCartney. Eight Days a Week features brand new interviews with surviving Beatles Paul and Ringo. As much as I loved Macca waxing lyrical at the helm of his fishing boat for Anthology, new insights on an old story are always a pleasure.
A Day in the Life changes the tone as George Harrison talks about “magic chemistry” and the word “brotherhood” flashes onscreen. The trailer ends with the song’s final, sustained piano chord and a typically snide joke from the late Lennon: I expect I’ll be an emotional wreck come 15th September.
We Beatles fans yearn for new material to fuel our unshakable belief they’re the greatest. As Howard says, “their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated.” For the fans, Ron’s reverence is deeply reassuring. And, judging by the trailer, Eight Days a Week will be an addition to The Beatles’ canon well worthy of our attention – and adoration.