More from the Fab Four
Beatlemania is alive and well
T he Beatles may have broken up in 1970, but the band’s music and legend has lived on ever since. The Ron Howard film Eight Days A Week, out currently in select UAE cinemas, recaps the oftentold story of how the Fab Four, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr conquered the world.
The film brings to life the band’s incredible live shows in that key period between 1964 and 1966 when Beatlemania truly took off and the Brits stormed America. While the action still looks incredible, recreating the music was not easy. Giles Martin (right), son of legendary Beatles producer George, was the man tasked with the job.
He explains: “I had a different approach to most producers of live albums in that, instead of trying to add things to a live performance to make it sound fuller, I was actually trying to take things away, to reduce the noise and bring the band closer to the listener.”
Martin knows a thing or two about live shows. He’s the man behind the Cirque du Soleil production Love, which splices together scores of Beatles songs. He’s confident that the film is the nearest we will ever come to hearing the band play live. Given the noise in the arenas they performed in, it will sound far better than actually being at the concerts. Don’t forget, the Beatles weren’t just ground-breaking in terms of music. They were the first band to undertake big concerts, including the famous Shea Stadium gig in New York. That was amplified using the tannoy system normally used by the stadium announcer.
Giles gives an example. He said: “The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl album we’ve just done, is a really honest representation of the band playing live. George, apparently, wasn’t so keen on the original release because there were mistakes, but maybe that’s what live music should be. Live music isn’t supposed to be perfect.
“We’re capturing The Beatles at a certain point in their life.
“It’s about experiencing The Beatles the best we can now.”
Martin is proud of the work he carries out – he was first brought in to work on Anthology, the career-spanning vault-raid of outtakes, alternative takes and oddities.
He says: “This is important music. That sounds very grandiose, I realise, but it is. We have to make sure a new generation can come to it, without sacrificing any of the original spirit.
“It has to be relevant, and it has to be about keeping new listeners coming to The Beatles. There are very few things in life that make you feel good that don't do you harm, and The Beatles are one of those things.”
THE LEGEND LIVES ON: George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr