Friday, 10 November 2017
Beatles night on BBC Four
In Great Britain, BBC Four is having a Beatles night, just have a look at the schedule:
9.30: Storyville: How The Beatles rocked the Kremlin
Documentary which tells the extraordinary unknown story of how the Beatles helped to destroy the USSR.
In August 1962, director Leslie Woodhead made a two-minute film in Liverpool's Cavern Club with a raw and unrecorded group of rockers called the Beatles. He arranged their first live TV appearances on a local show in Manchester and watched as the Fab Four phenomenon swept the world.
Twenty-five years later while making films in Russia, Woodhead became aware of how, even though they were never able to play in the Soviet Union, the Beatles' legend had soaked into the lives of a generation of kids. This film meets the Soviet Beatles generation and hears their stories about how the Fab Four changed their lives, including Putin's deputy premier Sergei Ivanov, who explains how the Beatles helped him learn English and showed him another life.
The Soviet authorities were alarmed by the seditious potential of rock and roll, with the Beatles a special target and denounced as 'bugs' in official papers. Their smuggled records were destroyed and their music was banned, but the myth blossomed as bootlegs and photos were covertly traded and even rented amongst fans.
Soon there were thousands of rock bands across the USSR, trying to make music with crude home-made guitars. Speakers on lampposts installed to broadcast propaganda were grabbed by rock hopefuls, while reports that an electric pickup could be cannibalised from a telephone led to phone boxes being raided and disabled.
Millions of young people fell in love with the Beatles and the culture of the Cold War enemy, and defected emotionally from the Soviet system. The Beatles prepared the cultural way for the fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately helped to wash away the foundations of that system.
10.30: Sgt Pepper's Musical Revolution by Howard Goodall
On 1 June, 1967, an album was released that changed music history - The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In this film, composer Howard Goodall explores just why this album is still seen as so innovative, so revolutionary and so influential. With the help of outtakes and studio conversations between the band, never heard before outside of Abbey Road, Howard gets under the bonnet of Sgt Pepper. He takes the music apart and reassembles it, to show us how it works - and makes surprising connections with the music of the last 1,000 years to do so.
Sgt Pepper came about as a result of a watershed in The Beatles' career. In August 1966, sick of the screaming mayhem of live shows, they'd taken what was then seen as the career-ending decision to stop touring altogether. Instead, beginning that December, they immersed themselves in Abbey Road with their creative partner, producer George Martin, for an unprecedented five months. What they produced didn't need to be recreated live on stage. The Beatles took full advantage of this freedom, turning the studio from a place where a band went to capture its live sound, as quickly as possible, into an audio laboratory, a creative launch pad. As Howard shows, they and George Martin and his team constructed the album sound by sound, layer by layer - a formula that became the norm for just about every rock act who followed.
In June 1967, after what amounted to a press blackout about what they'd been up to, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released. It was a sensation, immediately becoming the soundtrack to the Summer of Love - and one of the best-selling, most critically lauded albums of all time. It confirmed that a 'pop music' album could be an art form, not just a collection of three-minute singles. It's regularly been voted one of the most important and influential records ever released.
In this film, Howard Goodall shows that it is the sheer ambition of Sgt Pepper - in its conception, composition, arrangements and innovative recording techniques - that sets it apart.
Made with unprecedented access to The Beatles' pictorial archive, this is an in-depth exploration, in sound and vision, of one of the most important and far-reaching moments in recent music history.
11.30: Arena: The Magical Mystery Tour Special
Arena presents the greatest Beatles story never told, a blockbuster double-bill. Beginning with a documentary full of fabulous Beatles archive material never shown before anywhere in the world.
Songs you'll never forget, the film you've never seen and a story that's never been heard. In 1967, in the wake of the extraordinary impact of Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles made a film - a dreamlike story of a coach daytrip, a magical mystery tour. It was seen by a third of the nation, at 8.35pm on BBC1 on Boxing Day - an expectant public, hoping for some light entertainment for a family audience.
Magical Mystery Tour was greeted with outrage and derision by middle England and the establishment media.
'How dare they', they cried, 'They're not film directors, who do they think they are?' they howled. Where were the four lovable moptops of Help! and A Hard Day's Night?
What propelled The Beatles to make this surreal, startling and - at the time - utterly misunderstood film?
Roll up roll up for the Mystery Tour!
this is followed by Top of the Pops from 1984, and more Beatles:
01.10: ...Sings The Beatles
Recorded for the 40th anniversary of Abbey Road, The Beatles' final album, a journey through the classic and curious covers in the BBC archives.
Featuring Sandie Shaw singing a sassy Day Tripper, Shirley Bassey belting out Something, a close-harmony Carpenters cover of Help!, Joe Cocker's chart-topping With a Little Help from My Friends, Oasis reinventing the Walrus and a little Lady Madonna from Macca himself.
Plus a few 'magical' moments from Candy Flip, The Korean Kittens and Su Pollard.
Then at 2.10, the Storyville programme about The Beatles and Kremlin is reprised.
Link: BBC Four