Actually, it was forty years ago this week that England’s number one vocal group set foot for the first time on American soil. This past Friday’s Washington Post Weekend section had a good set of stories by Richard Harrington in honor of the anniverversary. Weekend collects the stories under the heading of “We saw them standing there.”
“A hard day’s night” recounts the Beatles’ February 2 concert at the Washington Coliseum. The Beatles performed in the round on an elevated makeshift surface becaue the Coliseum did not have a performing stage. After their last song in a 35-minute set, the Beatles dropped their instruments and bolted up the aisle, running through the crowd past a rope of ushers and police. “They could have ripped me apart, and I couldn’t have cared less,” Ringo recalled. “What an audience! I could have played for them all night.”
Harrington also has a sidebar on the Maysles brothers’ documentary film of the Beatles’ American visit that the Post heads“A day in the life.” A DVD disc of their footage together with with a bonus disc on the making of the film was released yesterday. It sounds like fun:
Given total fly-on-the wall access, they ended up shooting virtual home movies of the Beatles in classic settings: the hilarious airport press conference; inside the limo delivering them to the Plaza Hotel with girls plastered to the windows; the bustling hotel suites where the Beatles gleefully listen to their songs on American radio for the first time; twisting the night away at the Peppermint Lounge; Starr entertaining the media with all kinds of physical comedy; the jovial train ride to Washington; the hysterical reactions as the Beatles performed at the Washington Coliseum.
The simultaneous production of the film “A Hard Day’s Night” caused the Beatles to nix the Maysles brothers’ film. Albert Maysles observes of their film of the first U.S. vist, “It was a real-life version of the dramatized version of the real-life story. Documentary filmmakers are prejudiced to think that the real thing is always better. What did bother us, of course, is that we couldn’t get our own film out.”