The Hollywood Bowl tapes: Missing for decades

Original 1977 U.S. edition of The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl

A Facebooker who calls himself Michael McCartney tells an interesting tale on Facebook about how the Hollywood Bowl tapes went missing after possibly an aborted attempt to mix them for a CD reissue, and how difficult it was to bring them back. Here’s what he writes:

Something that Giles Martin did not know about in his announcement yesterday of the upcoming re-release of “The Beatles Live At The Hollywood Bowl“. I’ll add an important footnote but you can read his quote first:

“A few years ago Capitol Studios called saying they’d discovered some Hollywood Bowl three-track tapes in their archive. We transferred them and noticed an improvement over the tapes we’ve kept in the London archive. Alongside this, I’d been working for some time with a team headed by technical engineer James Clarke on demix technology, the ability to remove and separate sounds from a single track. With Sam Okell, I started work on remixing the Hollywood Bowl tapes.”

Inner sleeve photo from the original U.S. version of The Beatles at The Hollywood Bowl

Here’s a little bit of background for your info. Capitol Studios did not discover the Hollywood Bowl three-track tapes in their archive. They were given to them by my friend who had them in his home for years. He tried to return the original tapes to Apple but they said it wasn’t their property but actually Capitol Records. I’m not sure how Capitol misplaced the tapes decades ago (possibly to remix for CD release in the late eighties or early nineties) but they ended up on my friend’s desk and they were truly a treasure to listen to.

I actually had the pleasure of mixing my own Beatles concert at the Hollywood Bowl with those tracks about ten years ago. I had fun bringing up Paul’s bass or George’s guitar on songs like “Baby’s In Black” and “You Can’t Do That”. I could bring the audience screaming down, not much though (*lol). I should stress that I was just messing around with the mixing aspect and did not actually dedicate anything to tape or digital source as this was not my property to begin with but it was an afternoon of being behind the console that I will never forget.

Inner sleeve photo from the original U.S. version of The Beatles at The Hollywood Bowl

Another friend of mine in an heritage rock and roll band that is a household name, that will remain nameless, also played around with those same tapes and felt like a kid again. Bless my friend for not giving up and finally getting someone at Capitol to finally take responsibility for taking care of the tapes for historical purposes.

Basically, if these tapes never made it back to Capitol, there would still be no official re-release of this album. This is the very first time it is being released in the digital world. It’s been thirty-nine years since the album was released and vanished completely when the compact disc format took over the marketplace in the late eighties, so this is truly a musical gem and a piece of history for Beatles fans. The addition of the four previously unreleased live performances will amaze even the casual Beatles fan.

This story was previously attributed by us to the real Mike “McGear” McCartney, Paul McCartney’s brother. We apologise for this.

12 Responses

  1. Geert says:

    How then did they make the version of Baby's In Black for the Anthology project in the mid 1990s?

  2. DukeViking says:

    Apple used the tapes that were in their London Archive. It appears Capitol had one set and Apple had another.

  3. Unknown says:

    Plus The Cassette Version Was Issued Up Until 1992.

  4. gsv107 says:

    Wish they'd release the whole 1964 & 1965 shows and not combine the two years. The bootlegers always get it better and a legitimate releases from a collectors perspective

  5. winston o´boogie says:

    For the Anthology DVD they remixed "Twist and Shout" from the Hollywood Bowl tapes to do the dubbing over the Shea Stadium footage and it sounds great. Also a bit "All My Loving".

  6. S e as garotas que erraram says:

    So, all Beatles recordings made in US (live shows, tv appearances etc) belongs to Capitol?

    Well, I could imagine these guys making a proper transfer of these tapes and shared it online, so we could get the complete shows, not butchered versions

  7. Unknown says:

    It makes you wonder how many times the tapes got played by the guy holding on to them…

  8. Unknown says:

    It makes you wonder how many times the tapes got played by the guy holding on to them…

  9. Unknown says:

    It's possible that safety copies were sent to the UK – Capitol often made back ups. Alternatively they could have run two machines simultaneously (something often done at Capitol studios in those days). If these are better it points to safeties. However I can't see why capitol would have let these out of their site and send them anywhere.

  10. Martin says:

    I hope the full Bowl tapes and the 64 Paris shows are released at some point. And a 'Thirty Days' style box set of the 'Get Back/Let It Be' sessions is ludicrously overdue…

    Also, I wonder is there anything planned for Sgt Pepper's 50th anniversary next year? Maybe a Pet Sounds box set type of thing?

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