The Beatles: Eight Days a Week

By Dan Clendenin

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The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years (2016)

This documentary by director Ron Howard won Grammy and Emmy awards for its exploration of the earliest years of the Beatles. He begins with their formation and early tours in 1962 and ends with their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, named by Rolling Stone magazine as the best album of all time. The film was initially released in September of 2016; my wife and I watched its American debut on November 25, 2017 on PBS. There are numerous takeaways here, first of which is the crazy Beatlemania, which really was a cultural mania, so much so that the group eventually stopped touring. No wonder — in the four years 1962 to 1966 the Beatles played 815 times in 15 countries and 90 cities. I was also shocked to learn that the boys from Liverpool were only about seventeen when they started. Finally, the band was fortunate, at least early on, to have the oversight of manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin. The movie received the full support of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and George Harrison’s wife Olivia.

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