The Beatles’ music videos
THE BEATLES’ MUSIC VIDEOS
|Various Beatles music videos found on The Beatles’ official YouTube channel, sadly only snippets are available.|
Tuesday November 25th, 1965, the Beatles filmed ten different promotional clips in black and white for five songs, effectively starting the band’s career as makers of music videos.
These promotional clips were made to avoid the necessity of constant exclusive TV appearances, and to make profit from direct sales to various TV companies throughout the world. Earlier mimed appearances by the group exist, but those were made by TV companies themselves, for a specific TV show, like episodes of Ready Steady Go!, Thank Your Lucky Stars and various other British television shows by ITV and the BBC.
One earlier promotional film had been made for the song “Help!“. On 22 April 1965 Richard Lester shot The Beatles performing the song at Twickenham Film Studios in London. The black and white clip, meant to simulate a television performance, served two purposes. The first was that it was used in the opening of the movie as the film at which the villain Klang (played by Leo McKern) throws darts. The second was as a promotional film that could be sent to various television programmes. The “Help!” promotional film aired on Thank Your Lucky Stars on ITV on 17 July 1965 and on Top of the Pops on the BBC on 29 July 1965. A little bit of it was later successfully used as part of the opening shot of the Beatles’ Anthology TV series.
|The first music video: “Help!” was filmed in black and white.|
The batch of ten music videos, made on November 25th, 1965, also shot at Twickenham, but by Intertel (V.T.R. Services) Ltd., were quick to make. They were “Help!,” “We Can Work It Out” (three versions), “Day Tripper” (three versions),” “Ticket To Ride” and “I Feel Fine” (two versions).
The BBC paid NEMS £1750 for several broadcasts of the clips (largely on Top of the Pops), while the cost of the production itself was just £750. And of course, other TV companies around the world also paid good money in order to show these clips.
Although many of the clips made only a semi-diegetic use of music (on “Help!” Ringo simply holds an umbrella, on “I Feel Fine” he rides on an exercise bike). There’s also a version of “I Feel Fine” where the Beatles are snacking on fish and chips, while occasionally mouthing the words of the lyrics.
|I Feel Fine (fish’n’chips version)|
Produced by Tony Bramwell in black and white, still photos were in colour. Many colour photos captured on these film sets later became front covers for internationally released sleeves for singles and EP (four track singles) records.
|The new “Help!” music video.|
|I Feel Fine|
|One of the “Day Tripper” videos.|
With “Day Tripper” / “We Can Work It Out” being the then current single release, more work (and more versions) was put into these music videos. The rest of the songs were older releases. In the various clips for the new ones, The Beatles alternated between dark suits and the brown/beige 1965 stage suits (famously worn at the Shea Stadium concert).
|Large tickets on display for “Ticket To Ride”.|
|One of the three “We Can Work It Out” music videos. Photo provided by our reader, Marcelo Ravelo from Barcelona.|
|B/W photo from the filming of another “We Can Work It Out”. Looks like Ringo has another photo of this moment.|
|Sales presenter from 1965|
A 4-page presentation folder was made specifically for the program purchasers of the worlds major TV networks, announcing the completion, for the first time of five video clips of The Beatles newest hit songs ready for distribution.
These music videos marked the start of The Beatles’ music video era, and after this, the band always made sure to make a music video for nearly every (British) single they released.
|In Germany, a still photo from the second “Help!” music video was used as cover photo for the
“Paperback Writer”/”Rain” sleeve.
Beat Club was a popular German TV show which presented both mimed and live performances by bands and artists visiting the studio, as well as music videos. Their records show that “Day Tripper”, “Ticket To Ride” and “We Can Work It Out” were shown on 12 February, 1966, whereas “I Feel Fine” and “Help!” were screened on 26 March, 1966.
PAPERBACK WRITER – RAIN
The next single release for The Beatles was “Paperback Writer” / “Rain“, and just like for “We Can Work It Out” / “Day Tripper”, the group made several music videos for both these songs. On 19 and 20 May 1966, The Beatles shot no less than four different films for “Paperback Writer” and three for “Rain”. These were all directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who had already directed several editions of Ready, Steady, Go!.
|Filming the studio promos for Paperback Writer and Rain|
THE ABBEY ROAD STUDIO FILMS
On 19 May 1966 The Beatles and the film crew (also from Intertel VTR Services, the same company that filmed the earlier music videos) gathered at Studio One at Abbey Road where they shot two promo films for their singles “Rain” and three for “Paperback Writer”. One of the promo films for “Rain” and one for “Paperback Writer” were shot in colour for the American market, while the rest were filmed in black and white. Video tape was used on this first day, while the following day’s footage was shot on film. Intertel was a professional company dealing in video tape recording (V.T.R.), and made sure that the colour clips were shot in NTSC/525 line, as they were specifically made for The Ed Sullivan Show. After lunch The Beatles recorded black-and-white versions for UK and European viewers, two for Paperback Writer and one for Rain, between 3.30pm and 6.15pm. These were all 405 line but was later transferred to t/r for some overseas sales.
The colour versions of “Rain” and “Paperback Writer” would air on The Ed Sullivan Show on 5 June 1966, along with a filmed introduction by The Beatles themselves.
The first filmed black and white version of “Paperback Writer” aired on the final edition of Thank Your Lucky Stars on 25 June 1966 and the second black and white version of “Paperback Writer” as well as a black and white version of “Rain” aired on Ready, Steady, Go! on 3 June 1966, which was the first time the programme had broadcast footage not from its own studio.
|Again, photographer Robert Whitaker’s still photos from the filming became record sleeves.|
THE CHISWICK HOUSE FILMS
On 20 May 1966 The Beatles and the Intertel film crew went to Chiswick House, an 18th century house and gardens in West London, to shoot one more promo film each for “Paperback Writer” and “Rain”. Both were shot on 35mm colour film. The film for “Paperback Writer” was more or less a straightforward performance clip, with most of the film devoted to The Beatles miming in the statue garden of Chiswick House.
The film for “Rain“ followed The Beatles wandering about the grounds of Chiswick House as well as footage of children at play around one of the house’s cedar trees, bringing us step away from standard performance clips towards more conceptual videos. Just like in their work in the studio for new songs and albums, as well as their approach when it came to the Christmas flexis, not to mention posing for photos, 1966 is the year when experimentation starts to blossom.
Both films were shot in colour, but they were aired in black and white on Top of the Pops, as the BBC had yet to make the shift to colour. The second colour promo film for “Paperback Writer” debuted on 2 June 1966 on the show, while the second colour promo film for “Rain” debuted on 9 June 1966 on the show.
PENNY LANE – STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
|Filming Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane at Sevenoaks.|
The Beatles’ next two promo films, one each for “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”, would be purely conceptual promo films, with no miming. This was probably because of the then ban on miming on TV, brought about by the Musicians’ trade Union. John Lennon can be seen mouthing a few words now and then, eye-witnesses claim that he was merely singing the theme from the Monkees TV-show!
Tony Bramwell again produced the two promotional films for Subafilms. The film crew was provided by Don Long Productions. The director on both films was Peter Goldman from Sweden, who had been recommended by The Beatles’ friend Klaus Voorman.
|The Beatles shot home movies of their own during filming.|
Shooting of the music video for “Strawberry Fields Forever” began on 30 January 1967 at Knole Park in Sevenoaks, Kent, and finished on the next day. Many of the films sequences centred on a dead oak tree in the park, under which sat a piano. The “Strawberry Fields Forever” film uses a number of effects that had never been done before as far as promotional music films are concerned. The film includes jump cuts, reversed film, various speed techniques, etc.
|One of the effects was projecting a film on John’s face. From “Penny Lane”.|
Along with the promotional film for “Penny Lane”, “Strawberry Fields Forever” has been named among the most influential music videos of the 1960s by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. When the music video was shown during the Beatles’ Anthology TV-series and later commercial releases of same, home movie footage shot by the Beatles themselves was inserted into the video here and there, thereby creating a new version of the video.
Peter Goldman – A Swedish pop film maker who worked for Swedish Television during the 60’s and 70’s tells his story behind the making of the Strawberry Fields Forever film.
“Everything went so fast. It wasn’t until I sat on the plane for London I realised what I was up to. I felt the nervousity and the excitement crawling under the skin. How in the world should I be able to make something enough funny-bizzare-cleaver-crazy-sofisticated to satisfy The Beatles.”
“John, Paul, George and Ringo liked good food and they did lose their temper if they didn’t get their special food even during the shootings. So, their big metal coloured catering bus followed them wherever they went. Containing a staff of cooks made the tables with their favourite food, baked in a gratin-disk with parsley over it or the special chicken that they liked of something else that they ordered.”
“-The food was served in a special order. First John, Paul, George and Ringo were served, then me, the head director, and after me my assistant and then the other assistants and so on.”
“- Ringo had a dog named ‘Tiger’ that he was very proud of. Tiger wasn’t the most terrifying dog in his class, not at all. It was the smallest and the most well cared for little white poodle I’ve ever seen. Paul had a dog that looked like a small pony; named Martha.”
“The film was filmed on an estate in Kent. The surroundings were incredibly English with a great old castle and hundreds of semi-tame deers that were strolling around in an enormous park. We built a giant instrument that actually was an old torn-apart piano with strings up in the air. The wind played on the strings that kept falling all the time and made a mess.”
“In John’s specially equipped Rolls Royce the fab four had a real big laugh. Through a microphone and a loudspeaker they tried to cheer me up with comments and advises that made an echo out over the neighbourhood.”
This gave an unexpected result. A lot of truant boys from an boarding school nearby came to see what it was all about. Boys in all ages dressed in uniforms and little caps hunting for autographs and souvenirs. A piece of a cigarette or an autograph by Peter Goldman was good enough. Peter could just establish the fact that the Beatles fever seemed to rise every year.
The Beatles talked to the arriving fans and John took his film camera and filmed the crowd. The truant boys from the boarding school weren’t as keen as The Beatles to listen to their director.
– Jump! said John. I want everybody to jump!
Nobody jumped so John didn’t get the scene he wanted on film. Instead, he had to be content with filming trees, the piano strings and other things that he felt that he should immortalise.
All four Beatles had excellent film equipment at home, and Ringo proudly showed his 16 mm equipment to Peter. The Beatles were very patient actors in front of the camera. They were interested and competent in all things technical. There were cold winds blowing at the estate, but The Beatles kept the whole team in a good mood. In spite of frozen noses they were fooling around and always had encouraging things to say.
In Strawberry Fields Forever there are seven changes of clothes. Four red coats was all that they had to buy specially for the film, the rest came from John, Paul, George and Ringo’s own wardrobes. Peculiar combinations occurred. Ringo loved an old uniform coat. John changed between a knee long beige jersey, a scarf and a preacher’s coat that he originally had hired for masquerade, but hadn’t been able to divorce.
|“Penny Lane” featured The Beatles riding horses.|
Shooting for “Penny Lane” began on 5 February 1967, and Peter Goldman later shot some additional footage without The Beatles at a later date. Even though “Penny Lane” was inspired by the street of the same name in Liverpool, only a few shots of buses, the barber shop, and “the shelter in the middle of the roundabout” were actually shot there. Most of the film was shot on Angel Lane in Stratford, London, with several scenes shot in Knole Park as well. As with “Strawberry Fields Forever”, The Beatles do not mime to the song. Instead they wander about Angel Lane and ride horses in Knole Park.
The promo clips for both “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” were shown on Top Of The Pops 16 February, 1967, in glorious black and white. In the USA on February 25th 1967, both films were shown on the variety show The Hollywood Palace. Of course, the films were also televised everywhere else in the world where the Beatles were popular, either in black and white or colour, depending on whether or not each country had made the switch. For instance, in Germany’s “Beat Club”, they were in black and white – Penny Lane was shown February 25th, same date as in the USA, whereas Strawberry Fields Forever was shown on May 1st. Here in Norway, we didn’t get colour television until 1974, so on March 25, 1967, “Penny Lane” was screened in black and white on the TV Show “Som De Vil” (“As you wish”).
After this,they were largely forgotten about, and when the popular early eighties Britih television programme “The Tube” discovered a silent colour copy of the “Strawberry Fields Forever” film, they had no clue as to which song it was the music video for, and screened it to the audio of “Good Day Sunshine”!
When Beatles fan and film archivist Ron Furmanek was put in charge of restoring the Beatles’ music videos in the early nineties, the one film that was missing from the Apple Corps’ archives was “Penny Lane”. Both the 35mm camera cut negative and IP’s are missing, probably stolen or lost ages ago, although they have all of the trims and outtakes. Furmanek ended up restoring “Penny Lane” from the colour copy from The Hollywood Palace TV show 2 inch tape from 1967. Apart from that, Furmanek said that all of The Beatles promotional films are in pristine mint shape and are awaiting release.
In 1980, following the death of John Lennon, Swedish Television showed a pristine colour copy of the “Strawberry Fields Forever” music video, leading me to believe that Peter Goldman himself may have brought with him copies of his films when he resumed working there in the seventies.
A DAY IN THE LIFE
|Still capture from the “A Day In The Life” music video|
Taking the home movie footage idea to it’s fullest extent, the Beatles’ next promo film was not made for a single release. The Beatles had planned to make on a television special on the making of the “Sgt. Pepper” album. For this, it was decided to film the recording of the orchestral overdubs on the song “A Day in the Life”. A number of guests were invited to the studio for the recording, including Donovan, Marianne Faithfull, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Keith Richards. The Beatles, the various guests, and even the orchestra dressed up in costumes.
Tony Bramwell was put in charge of a team of seven people with handheld cameras to record the event for the television special.
The idea of a Sgt. Pepper’s television special was quickly abandoned, but the footage was there, and was later edited together with stock footage from other sources to create a promo film for “A Day in the Life”. Unfortunately, “A Day in the Life” would remain unseen for years – although short excerpts of it were shown on various television stations worldwide. Perhaps it was forgotten about when the BBC banned the playing of the song because they thought there were drug references in the lyrics. “A Day in the Life” resurfaced in the in-house 1983 documentary “The Beatles at Abbey Road” and later most of it was later included in The Beatles’ Anthology TV series and subsequent home video release.
|“Plain clothes” version of “Hello Goodbye”|
The Beatles next returned to performance clips, although they would have elements of conceptual video. Footage for the promotional films for “Hello Goodbye” would be shot at the Saville Theatre in London on 10 November 1967. Paul McCartney served as the director on the three different promotional films. They were edited by Roy Benson, fresh from editing the television special Magical Mystery Tour.
Three different “Hello Goodbye” music videos would emerge from the footage shot on 10 November 1967. The first film shot featured The Beatles in their “Sgt. Pepper” uniforms performing against a psychedelic backdrop and featured cutaways to The Beatles, seated and waving, wearing their grey, collarless stage suits from 1963.
At the end of the film they were joined by a group of hula dancers.
The second film featured The Beatles wearing what would be everyday clothing for 1967 (for a Beatle, anyway) performing against a different backdrop, showing a vibrant rural scene.
The third film combined The Beatles’ performance in their “Sgt. Pepper” uniforms from the first clips with outtakes from the second clip of The Beatles hamming it up (including John and then the other Beatles doing the Twist). All three videos show a clean shaven Lennon without his granny glasses. These films for “Hello Goodbye” was the last time The Beatles wore their Merseybeat suits and the last time they wore their “Sgt. Pepper” uniforms – collectively. George’s suits would reappear in his own music video for “Ding Dong, Ding Dong”, and his “Sgt Pepper” suit again reappeared in his music video for “When We Was Fab”. Paul’s “Sgt. Pepper” suit had a cameo in his music video for “My Brave Face”.
|Ringo had a tiny drum kit on the Sgt Pepper costumes version of “Hello Goodbye”|
One of the promotional films for “Hello, Goodbye” was scheduled to air on Top of the Pops on 23 November 1967. Unfortunately, as it was clear that The Beatles were miming, the film ran afoul of the Musician’s Union’s ban on miming. For the 23 November edition of the show, then, Top of the Pops ran footage from the movie A Hard Day’s Night instead. Eventually footage from one of the promotional films for “Hello, Goodbye” combined with still photographs was aired on Top of the Pops on 7 December 1967. In the United States Version 1 was aired on The Ed Sullivan Show, introduced by Sullivan reading a telegram from The Beatles. The third version of the “Hello, Goodbye” music video (the one which combined The Beatles in their “Sgt. Pepper” uniforms with outtakes from the second promotional film) is also said to have been aired on The Ed Sullivan Show. One of these Ed Sullivan airings took place on November 26th, but we don’t have information whether this was version 1 or version 3.
A fourth promoclip for the song, credited to “Top of the Pops 1967”, appeared as a bonus feature on the 2012 DVD release of a digitally restored version of the telefilm Magical Mystery Tour. It is all in black-and-white and features all four Beatles as well as their then-girlfriends at an editing table in an editing room, handling film reels and editing a film referencing the song’s lyrics by utilizing simple in-camera editing techniques to make people seen in a field “magically” appear and disappear.
When aired on Anthology, film from the first and the third versions were combined, thereby creating yet another version of this music video.
Of course, the other side of the single, “I Am The Walrus” exists as one of the songs filmed for the Magical Mystery Tour television special, in essence a string of music videos in itself. “Walrus” in particular, looks like a much more contemporary music video.
The Beatles’ next set of films would be for their single “Lady Madonna”. To avoid the Musician’s Union’s ban on miming, it was decided that The Beatles would simply be filmed recording another song. On 11 February 1968 Tony Bramwell then shot The Beatles recording the song “Hey Bulldog”. Two individual promotional films for “Lady Madonna” emerged from the footage. In one the first shot of a Beatle is of Ringo on drums. In the other the first shot of a Beatle is of George eating a plate of beans.
In 1999 the footage would be used again, this time to create a video for the song that The Beatles had actually been recording at the time, “Hey Bulldog”.
In the UK one promotional film for “Lady Madonna” aired on Top of the Pops on 14 March 1968. In the United States one of the promotional films for “Lady Madonna” aired on The Hollywood Palace on 30 March 1968.
When “Lady Madonna” was aired in the Anthology TV-series, unrelated footage of The Beatles recording “Hey Jude” for a TV Special called “Music! Experiment in Television” was inserted here and there, thus creating another variation of the “Lady Madonna” music video.
The B-side of the single, George Harrison’s “The Inner Light” was never considered as material for a music video.
The next two promo films would also be shot with the Musician’s Union’s ban on miming in mind.
HEY JUDE – REVOLUTION
On 4 September 1968, the music videos for “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” were filmed. In order to get around the ban on miming, the vocals for both songs were recorded live, even though they sang over pre-recorded tracks. These colour music videos were directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who had earlier directed the videos for “Paperback Writer” and “Rain”.
The footage for “Hey Jude” was shot first, from which three individual but similar looking music videos would emerge: one for release to various television programmes around the world, one that would be shown on David Frost’s show Frost on Sunday in the United Kingdom, and one that would be shown on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the United States. All three music videos would follow the same format, as straight performance clips in which an audience joins The Beatles for the final, long chorus of “Hey Jude”. The differences between the three promotional films were minor at best.
On the version shown on Frost on Sunday the audience is shown a few seconds earlier and there are more close ups of individual members of the audience.
The version shown on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour tended to be closer to the promotional film meant for general release, although there were a few subtle differences. At the same time that footage was shot for the “Hey Jude” promo films, an introduction by David Frost was also shot for his programme, as well as a short instrumental version of the David Frost theme played by The Beatles.
One of the promotional films for “Hey Jude” debuted on Frost on Sunday in the United Kingdom on 8 September 1968. Another made its debut in the United States on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on 6 October 1968. A fourth promotional film for “Hey Jude” was later created for The Beatles Anthology in 1995. This version was shorter than the other versions by several seconds, using a combination of clips from the three videos.
|“Revolution”, with a smelly John.|
While the footage shot for “Hey Jude” would result in three music videos, the footage shot for “Revolution” would result in two versions. The Beatles again sang live to a prerecorded tape. One of the promotional films for “Revolution” would make its debut (and only contemporary screening) in the UK on Top of the Pops on 19 September 1968. A promotional film for “Revolution” also aired in the United States on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on 13 October 1968. It has been rumoured that in the eighties, the other version of “Revolution” became standard, because in the first version George moves away from John, commenting to Paul “John smells like s**t!”
THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO
|The Ballad of John and Yoko|
The shooting of the promotional films for “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” would be the last time all four Beatles gathered for the shooting of promotional films.
Their next promotional films would be for the single “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, which was released on 30 June 1969. By the time of “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were filming much of their life and the various events in which they were involved. Much of this footage naturally found its way into the promotional films for the song. The promotional films for “The Ballad of John and Yoko” also feature footage of The Beatles rehearsing in the studio in January 1969 (taken from the Let It Be sessions), even though only John and Paul were actually involved in recording the song. As to the two promotional films for the for “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, they were essentially similar.
One of the films for “The Ballad of John and Yoko” aired in the United Kingdom on Top of the Pops on 5 June 1969. A music video for “The Ballad of John and Yoko” aired on the television show Music Scene in the United States on 22 September 1969. In The Beatles’ Anthology, it is believed that the version of the music video shown there was a mixture of the previous two, this time using as many colour clips as possible.
The B-side of the single, the Harrison penned “Old Brown Shoe” was never a contender for a music video. But his time was to come.
The final music video made while all four Beatles were together as a band (unless one counts footage from the Get Back sessions) was “Something”. The single “Something”, backed by “Come Together”, was released on 6 October 1969 in the United States and 31 October 1969 in the United Kingdom, just as The Beatles were on the verge of breaking up – George Harrison’s first Beatles single A-side.
Since the individual Beatles had drifted apart by this time, each of The Beatles and their wives at the time (George Harrison and Pattie Boyd, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Paul and Linda McCartney, and Ringo Starr and Maureen Cox) were shot around their respective homes. The individual footage was then edited together to create the promotional film for “Something”, very reminiscent of how the 1969 Christmas flexi disc was made. The film was directed by Neil Aspinall and premiered in the UK on Top of The Pops 13 November, 1969.
|Still from the “Something” promo, this is Maureen Starkey.|
The B-side: A newspaper article published while Apple was busy preparing The Beatles Anthology multimedia project in the mid-nineties indicated that a 1969 music video for the other side of the single, “Come Together” existed, and was purchased by The Beatles’ company. The music video never materialised in the TV-series or in the later laser disc, video cassette or DVD releases of the series, even though there was a shortage of material for the “Abbey Road” album part of the project.
LET IT BE FILM FOOTAGE
From outtakes from the January 1969 shooting of the “Let It Be” film, at least five music videos were made, four for Paul McCartney’s songs: “Get Back“, “Two Of Us“, “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road“, one for John Lennon’s “Don’t Let Me Down“. The latter premiered in colour on April 30, 1969 on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour in USA, and featured footage of The Beatles rehearsing in the studio as well as performance footage from the rooftop concert.
“Get Back” was aired on Top Of The Pops in the UK on 17 April, 1969 in black and white. The clip was reprised several times during the year, and on Christmas Day, it was shown in colour for the first time.
On 5 March, 1970, Top of the Pops showed a promotional clip of the Beatles performing “Let It Be” from January 1969. The clip was repeated on 19 March.
The clip of “The Long and Winding Road” is likely to have been made available as a music video when the song was selected as a single in USA and other countries.
The Beatles’ last appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was in form of a clip of “Two Of Us” from the “Let It Be” film, on March 1, 1970. Whether this was meant to be a music video is not known, but is likely. The clip was also used in remastered form as music videos in 1996 and 2000.
When I first arrived in London in the summer of 1982, I was in a pub which had something I had never come across in Norway: a video jukebox. It was just like a regular jukebox, but along with the song, a TV screen showed the music video. It was here that I first saw these promo films from the “Let It Be” film, or at least two of them, but they were shown in black and white.
After The Beatles broke up in 1970, there have been lots of new Beatles videos released, and new versions of the old music videos have been made.
EMI/CAPITOL MUSIC VIDEOS
In 1976, EMI/Capitol was promoting their “Rock and Roll Music” compilation album by releasing the single “Back In The USSR”/”Twist and Shout”, and a music video was made for “Back In The USSR“. The video was compiled from newsfilms of the Beatles arriving at airports etc.
|When the Beatles mimed to a part of “Love Me Do” in 1962, they had no idea that it would become a music video 20 years later.|
In 1982 and 1983, music videos were made for the 20th anniversaries of “Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me“, utilising a short, mimed performance of the former and Washington DC concert footage of the latter, interspersed with unrelated clips from newsfilms and TV-shows. Ron Furmanek was involved in the creation of these two videos, and is billed as co-director and co-producer.
|Washington DC footage was used for the “Please Please Me” music video.|
Next up was the music video for “The Beatles’ Movie Medley“, a single made to promote the compilation album The Beatles: Reel Music, as well as to capitalise on the success of the Stars on 45 cover version single. The music video was made up of clips of Beatles songs from their motion pictures and the Magical Mystery Tour TV-film, in itself a compilation of music videos held together by a thin plot. Also used was a clip from the “Our World” performance of “All You Need Is Love”. The footage was put together by Ron Furmanek.
|Music clips from the Beatles’ movies were included in the “Movie Medley” video.|
In 1984, Capitol Records made a music video for the 20th anniversary of the “I Want To Hold Your Hand” single. Made from old stock non-performance footage, the clip was shown on Friday Night Videos, on the 10th of February, 1964 with Paul McCartney also appearing on the show. Again, film archivist Ron Furmanek was involved in the creation of the video and is credited as producer.
The single was also reissued in USA, this time with Paul McCartney’s cigarette airbrushed away from the cover photo.
APPLE IS BACK
With Apple on board again, the contract issues between The Beatles and EMI having been settled, the older Beatles music videos are being provided by The Beatles’ company for promotional use. In 1993, with the compilation albums “The Beatles 1962-1966” and “The Beatles 1967-1970” (aka “the red album” and “the blue album”) coming out on CD for the first time, several music videos were distributed to TV companies around the world, probably the newly restored versions by Ron Furmanek, which also sported new soundtracks.
A promotional video cassette featuring short edits of a few of the clips were also made, but the full videos were only available to television stations. These clips were treated with either a prominent, rather large Apple logo on the screen, or with the frame of the screen either decorated in red (for the red album music videos) or blue (you get the picture).
The video snippets included with the promotional video cassette were “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “Help!” (Intertel version), “Hello Goodbye” (plain clothes version) and “Fool On The Hill” (from the “Magical Mystery Tour” TV special). More films were released to TV stations only.
November 1, MTV Europe declares it’s “Beatles Day”, by showing, at regular intervals throughout the day, brand new exclusive interviews with Paul and George, the November 1965 Intertel studio promotional film clips, plus the original films for “Hello Goodbye”, “Something” (the first complete television screening anywhere in the world since 1969), and the TV film “Magical Mystery Tour”. All music videos as well as the “Magical Mystery Tour” TV special were supplied by Apple Corps Ltd.
|“The Fool On The Hill” sequence from “Magical Mystery Tour” was turned into a music video.|
Most of the later music videos were put together to promote then current releases, like “The Beatles Live at the BBC“, the “Yellow Submarine Songtrack“, “Anthology” VHS and Laserdisc releases, “1“, “Anthology” DVD series, “Let It Be…Naked“, “The Capitol Albums Vol 2“, “Love” and “On Air – The Beatles Live at the BBC Vol 2“.
In 1995, a 4-track EP was made to promote the new collection of Beatles BBC performances, and a music video was made for the main track, “Baby It’s You“, from still photos of the Beatles recording at the BBC studios, as well as old home movie footage of the Beatles arriving and departing from the studios. Directed by Mark Haefeli and edited by Jeff Wurtz, two different edits of the film have been televised.
|Courtesy of home movie footage, the Beatles come alive in the “Baby It’s You” music video.|
In 1995 Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr reunited to complete two songs recorded by John Lennon during his solo career (“Free as a Bird” from 1977 and “Real Love” from 1979 and 1980) to create the first new Beatles songs in 25 years as part of the multimedia Beatles Anthology project.
|The Abbey Road scene was recreated in the “Free As A Bird” music video.|
The music video for “Free as a Bird” was produced by Vincent Joliet and directed by Joe Pytka. It was shot as if from the point of view of a bird, who as he is flying travels back through time and The Beatles’ career. There are several allusions to The Beatles’ songs in the video, including the pretty nurse who was “selling poppies from a tray” from “Penny Lane”, Strawberry Field from “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and so on. A “Making of…” video was also made.
|Flying instruments in the “Real Love” music video.|
The video for “Real Love” was directed by Kevin Godley and Geoff Wonfor. It incorporated archival footage of The Beatles and John Lennon with modern footage of Paul, George, and Ringo recording in the studio. Added to this were scenes of various Beatles artefacts (Ringo’s drum kit, their “Sgt. Pepper” uniforms, and so on) ascending into the sky. Upon discovering that there was quite a bit of footage of Yoko Ono, new clips of the other Beatle wives were edited in, creating a second version of the video.
Several songs from The Beatles’ Anthology were edited into music videos and distributed to TV companies in 1996, either to promote the ongoing series or the later release of a longer version of the series on laser discs and video cassettes.
|The “Hey Bulldog” video, with some of the same footage as the old “Lady Madonna” promo,
finally with the correct soundtrack.
With 1999’s “Hey Bulldog“, they were in luck, as the original recording session had been filmed in order to make the 1968 music video for “Lady Madonna“. The footage works a lot better when used to illustrate the actual song they were recording! The “Hey Bulldog” video is available from iTunes.
|Flash animation: “I Feel Fine”.|
To promote the highly successful “1” compilation album in 2000, new music videos were produced, and older music videos were also remastered and distributed to TV stations as promotion for the album. “I Feel Fine” and “Come Together” were new animated music videos in the then popular Flash format, produced by Melon Dezign. For The Beatles’ Anthology, the black and white footage from the original TV programme “Our World” of the Beatles recording “All You Need Is Love” was colourised, and even though the clip was edited in the TV series, a full length colour music video of the song was made available to TV companies in 2000, to promote the new “1” compilation album.
|Flash animation: “Come Together”.|
Most of the music videos were distributed to TV stations only, and some were used at theBeatles.com website, but were later removed as the projects got old. A new “Get Back” music video was probably distributed around this time. It was still the rooftop performance, like the 1969 music video, but different shots were used, particularly noticable by the inclusion of footage shot from a rooftop across the street, which had previously not been part of the music video.
In 2003, aborting plans for a home video release of the “Let It Be” documentary, clips from the shooting of the film was made into new music videos promoting the reworked “Let It Be” album, titled “Let It Be…Naked“. The brilliant 2003 “Two Of Us“ video was an example of turning film footage from the Get Back sessions into black and white and augmenting the video with animated pencil drawings in the background. The clip was directed by Matt White of Supergrizzly Ltd.
|Still from the animated “Two Of Us” music video.|
|The 2003 “Get Back” music video had footage from the studio rehearsals.|
The new “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” videos were also released on iTunes in conjunction with the digital download debut of “Let It Be…Naked“. The new “Get Back” video used footage from the studio recordings and rehearsals of this and other songs, whereas both the 1969 and the 2000 “Get Back” music videos were made from the live rooftop performance of the track.
|The “One After 909” music video|
A new music video from the rooftop performance of “One After 909” has been sparingly shown on TV, and probably belongs to the batch of new videos made to promote “Let It Be…Naked”.
The 2006 “Dizzy Miss Lizzie” music video was simply taken from the remastered (and still unreleased) Beatles At Shea Stadium film and released to TV stations to promote “The Capitol Albums Vol. 2“.
A music video to promote the mash-up album “Love” was a completely new animated music video, set to the “Within You Without You“/”Tomorrow Never Knows” track. Working in close association with Apple Corps, the main concept behind ‘Within You Without You /Tomorrow Never Knows’ was that it should remain, at heart, truly a Beatles video, and, like the LOVE album and the track itself, be composed by combining ‘samples’ of existing Beatles material.
After extensively combing the Apple archives for appropriate footage, director Simon Hilton selected and edited appropriate excerpts of ‘Rain’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Penny Lane’, ‘Blue Jay Way’, ‘Fool On The Hill’, ‘Hello Goodbye’. ‘I Am The Walrus’ & ‘All You Need Is Love’.
There was no existing lip-sync for the song, so what you see was created by varispeeding, running backwards, and otherwise animating the original Beatles performances. Setting the video in a starfield of the Universe, we begin with a ‘message from beyond’, and move through the elements of earth, air, fire and water into an infinite mandala-oriented cosmos.
The mandala shapes and silhouettes were designed by Richard Hogg at Airside, Flame by Gary Brown at Munkey and Jason Watts & Steve Murgatroyd at Finish, 3-D by Tim Bacon, Daniel Sidi and Paul McBride, 2-D by Murray John, Roly Edwards and Camille Macmillan at Airside, and Shake by Byron Woolfindon at Finish. Tim Bacon designed the mathematically brilliant ‘Cello Tunnel’ at the end, while Andy Horner & Russell Farr shot and lit the ink and water effects created by Ray Spencer. You can watch the video here.
|Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows from “Love”|
Similarly, in 2013 a music video for a BBC recording of “Words of Love” was made by merging old newsfilm footage with new animation and drawings.
Produced by Jonathan Clyde and Katrina Lofaro for Passion Pictures NYC, the video was directed by Lee Gingold and Giles Dill. The company researched stories and footage from 1963 – the year The Beatles progressed from being the opening act on tour to very much the main event. The resulting video captures that heady period with a combination of archive news footage, material shot by director Richard Lester for the Fab Four’s first movie A Hard Day’s Night, and original frames of animation that create a narrative, part based in the fact of the band travelling Britain during the freezing winter of 1963, with an added whimsical graphic element. A “Making of…” video was also made.
|Still frame from the 2013 “Words of Love” music video|
The Beatles’ music videos:
1965: “Help!” (new video)
1965: “We Can Work It Out” (three versions)
1965: “Day Tripper” (three versions)
1965: “Ticket To Ride”
1965: “I Feel Fine” (two versions)
1966: “Paperback Writer” (three studio versions)
1966: “Rain” (two studio versions)
1966: “Paperback Writer” (Chiswick House version)
1966: “Rain” (Chiswick House version)
1967: “Strawberry Fields Forever”
1967: “Penny Lane”
1967: “A Day In The Life”
1967: “Hello Goodbye” (three different original 1967 versions exist)
1968: “Lady Madonna” (at least two different versions exist)
1968: “Hey Jude” (at least three different versions exist)
1968: “Revolution” (at least two different versions exist)
1969: “The Ballad of John and Yoko” (At least two versions exist)
1969: “Get Back” (Rooftop performance)
1969: “Don’t Let Me Down” (Rooftop concert + rehearsal footage from the studio)
1970: “Let It Be”
1970: “The Long and Winding Road”
1970: “Two Of Us”
1976: “Back In The USSR”
1982: “Love Me Do”
1982: “The Beatles’ Movie Medley”
1983: “Please Please Me” (at least three different edits were made)
1984: “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
1995: “Baby It’s You” (at least two different edits exist)
1995: “Free As A Bird”
1996: “Real Love” (at least two edits exist)
1996: “Two Of Us” (“Let It Be” performance)
1996: “For You Blue” (“Let It Be” performance)
1999: “Hey Bulldog” (created from the raw footage shot in the studio during recording)
2000: “She Loves You”
2000: “I Feel Fine” (Flash animated video, new creation)
2000: “Come Together” (Flash animated video, new creation)
2000: “Get Back” (Rooftop performance, this one has footage shot from across the street)
2000: “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
2000: “Ticket To Ride” (Remastered)
2000: “All You Need Is Love” (Colourised)
2003: “Two Of Us” (animated music video)
2003: “Two Of Us” (Same as 1996 version)
2003: “Get Back” (Studio clips, new creation)
2003: “One After 909” (Rooftop concert)
2003: “Don’t Let Me Down” (Rooftop concert, different to 1969 video)
2003: “For You Blue” (Same as 1996 version)
2003: “Let It Be” (the 1970 video, remastered)
2003: “The Long And Winding Road” (the 1970 video, remastered)
2006: “Dizzy Miss Lizzie” (Shea Stadium footage)
2006: “Within You Without You/”Tomorrow Never Knows” (New creation)
2013: “Words Of Love” (New creation)
Each title is linked to it’s own entry at BeatlesOnDVD.com, except for “Don’t Let Me Down”, which is linked to iTunes and “Words Of Love” is linked to the official Vevo video on YouTube.
Of course, music clips of the Beatles from their motion pictures and their Magical Mystery Tour TV special have also been used as music videos on TV.
After the Anthology project, Apple’s Neil Aspinall was asked if a collection of the Beatles’ music videos would be the next project from Apple/The Beatles, but his answer was that it would be “too obvious”, an answer that angered most Beatles fans and collectors.
In 2011, seven short snippets from the music videos were uploaded to The Beatles’ official YouTube channel, ranging from 31 seconds (“Help!”, “Paperback Writer”, “Penny Lane”, “I Am The Walrus”) to 1 minute, 11 seconds (“Strawberry Fields Forever”). Rounding out that collection of clips were “Hello Goodbye” #3 (1 minute, 7 seconds), and “The Fool On The Hill” (1 minute, 5 seconds). No release followed.
16 January 2013, no fewer than 22 short clips from the music videos were also uploaded to the channel. The clips were around 40 seconds long, and could for instance have been baked in as samples on a web page announcing an upcoming DVD/Blu-ray release of a collection of The Beatles’ music videos. Alongside these, two clips from The Ed Sullvan Show performance were also uploaded, leading us to think that these are considered music videos for release on a collection: “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “All My Loving”. But no release followed. It’s like they’re teasing us: “Look what we’ve got!”. Here’s a link to a playlist of these snippets.
In late 2013, it was revealed that finally, a collection of Beatles music videos themed to the “1” album was due for release in October 2014, but it failed to materialise.
In August 2014, Dutch oldies TV station “192 TV” broadcast 33 Beatles music videos in a show called “The Beatles: 50 jaar na Blokker – ook op veler verzoek in de herhaling”. The TV station had replaced all of the original audio with the ‘best available’ audio (which meant that live audio was replaced by studio audio). A list of what was televised was made available on WogBlog.
Very few of The Beatles’ music videos are available for the average Joe, most of them were only made available to television stations. However, a few are out there for us to watch for free or purchase. The “Hey Bulldog” music video is available on iTunes for downloading, but only to people with a USA Apple-ID. “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” are included on the “Anthology” DVD series, as is the “Making of Free as a Bird”. “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” are available in their 2003 incarnations on iTunes, but only for streaming, not for downloading to your hard drive. Finally, the 2013 music video of “Words Of Love” is available on Vevo (where you can get Vevo) and YouTube, however they are restricted, viewers from Germany are blocked from accessing these. Don’t ask me why this is so.
Then of course, everything is available illegally. Tough luck for those of us who hesitate to cross that line and want to buy music and music videos from the artists themselves.
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