Jimmie Nicol – The Fill-In Beatle

You would think this would be a dream come true…but having sudden fame thrown on you without acclimating could be a bad thing.

In June of 1964, Ringo Starr collapsed with tonsillitis with a tour coming up. Ringo had to go to the hospital. The Beatles wanted to cancel the tour rather than go out without their drummer. Brian Epstein and George Martin did not want the momentum they help create to stop and disappoint all of the fans.

George Harrison said it would not be the Beatles without Ringo. As Brian and George Martin tried to reason with them all, George Harrison said that they would have to find two replacements because he would not go without Ringo.

Epstein and Martin pleaded with them and told them about all the fans they would disappoint. It would only be until Ringo was well again.

Someone actually brought up Pete Best’s name. John Lennon said no because that would be bad for him because he would think he was back in the band. George Martin looked up drummers and finally found Jimmie Nicol. He was the drummer for an unknown group called The Shubdubs and also did some studio work. Martin thought he was a good fit so they rang him up.

Jimmie came over to Abbeyroad for the rehearsal. He had played Beatle songs before so he knew the arrangements. The Beatles were welcoming to Jimmie knowing he was in a tough spot. A little over 20 hours later he as playing his first concert with them in Copenhagen. Denmark. He was given the Beatle haircut and he even wore Ringo’s suit. He as reportedly paid 2500 a show…which was a huge amount in 1964.

Sudden fame can be a hard thing to handle. Jimmie said that before he played with the Beatles no girls were interested in him but while he was with them that girls were everywhere. Supposedly Jimmie and John spent a night in a brothel.

Jimmie played eight shows altogether with The Beatles and thirteen days altogether with them… before arriving in Melbourne. Austrailia where Ringo was well enough to play again. During his time with The Beatles, he did help inspire a song 3 years later. Every time John and Paul asked him how he was doing he would always answer “Getting Better.” Paul thought of this in 1967 while walking his dog and ended up with John writing “Getting Better” for Sgt Pepper.

After it was over he declared bankruptcy in 1965 but he eventually joined a band that had some success called The Spotnicks and they did two world tours. He eventually moved to Mexico and then got out of music. Here are a couple of his quotes.

“The day before I was a Beatle, not one girl would look me over. The day after … they were dying just to get a touch of me. Strange and scary all at once. It’s hard to describe the feeling but I can tell you it can go to your head. I see why so many famous people kill themselves.” 

The last quote is telling of his character.

“After the money ran low, I thought of cashing-in in some way or other. But the timing wasn’t right. And I didn’t want to step on The Beatles’ toes. They had been damn good for me and to me.”

The Beatles with Jimmie

 

Two sites where I got info

https://www.beatlesbible.com/people/jimmie-nicol/2/

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/entertainment/meet-jimmy-nicol-the-forgotten-beatle-standin-drummer-for-ringo/news-story/0f79dd8eda8adc579d3c35c6bfb32f1f

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I had to add this quote…

 “I thought I could drink and lay women with the best of them until I caught up with these guys.”

Beatles at the Star-Club 1962

These are the punk Beatles. Raw and relentless playing fast and furious. The Beatles before the world was paying attention to them. This was recorded on an old reel to reel recorder on the slowest speed to conserve tape. It was not meant to be an album or anything commercial. A friend named Ted “King Sized” Taylor the leader of a band called the Dominoes, put a microphone near the stage to record them. The quality is poor, to say the least.

It was released in 1977 and the record company sunk 100,000 dollars just to make the audio listenable.

The Beatles were playing to an audience of sailors, prostitutes, drunks and gangsters. They would rip through songs at such a speed that only 2 songs on this double album are over 3 minutes long.

They are a great band here. You catch them with their guard down and acting completely natural.

The Beatles were in their last club dates at Hamburg. They had already recorded Love Me Do and it was on the charts. They did not want to be back in Hamburg but they honored a previous agreement and was there. They didn’t mail the performances in but they were loose and relaxed.

It contains mostly cover songs with very few originals. The track listing is at the bottom of the post. This is close to what Brian Epstein heard when he first saw them, this is why they took over Liverpool and this is why they got signed.

Casual fans will not want this album but serious Beatles fans will love it. This is more than a low fidelity album…it is history. John Lennon always said that the world didn’t hear the best of the Beatles live…I agree.

After they became THE Beatles…they could not hear themselves play because of the long constant jet taking off screaming. On this album you hear them as they were before the screams.

I was 11 when I bought this and I didn’t get the importance to a few years later.

This is out of the book Tune In… Without a doubt the best book out on the Beatles. It’s the first of three volumes.

Their playing is adept and hyper-energetic, and the microphone catches many important moments. The tape’s value has been downplayed on the basis that the Beatles are musically sloppy and perhaps even lazy, knowing they’ve one foot out of the door, but this is to ignore its virtues. The Beatles did hate being in Hamburg this last time … but the recording shows them still cutting the mustard on stage. They’re sloppy because, here, they can be, but they’re not lazy, and they’re not playing with extra care because they’re being recorded: this is an authentic eavesdrop on their club act, not something fizzed-up for the tape machine.
At least three sets were recorded, and because the Beatles rarely repeated themselves in Hamburg, there are only five duplicates among the thirty-seven songs. The repertoire is a real surprise. The only self-written pieces are “Ask Me Why” and “I Saw Her Standing There” (twice), so there’s no “Love Me Do,” “PS I Love You,” “Please Please Me,” “One After 909” or any of several other possibilities, and there are few of the songs from the spine of their all-conquering 1962 stage sets—no “Some Other Guy,” “Soldier of Love,” “Please Mr. Postman,” “Don’t Ever Change,” “A Shot of Rhythm and Blues,” “Devil in Her Heart,” “Baby It’s You,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody,” “Hey! Baby, A Picture of You,” and so on. What’s here is an idiosyncratic selection of old rock numbers all played at breakneck speed—Prellies pace. The nights of half-hour “What’d I Say” marathons are past: everything is high velocity, only three numbers tipping into three minutes.

 

 

 

Side one
  1. Introduction/”I Saw Her Standing There” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 0:34/2:22
  2. “Roll Over Beethoven” (Chuck Berry) – 2:15
  3. “Hippy Hippy Shake” (Chan Romero) – 1:42
  4. “Sweet Little Sixteen” (Berry) – 2:45
  5. “Lend Me Your Comb” (Kay Twomey, Fred Wise, Ben Weisman) – 1:44
  6. “Your Feet’s Too Big” (Ada Benson, Fred Fisher) – 2:18
Side two
  1. “Twist and Shout” (Phil Medley, Bert Russell) – 2:03
  2. “Mr. Moonlight” (Roy Lee Johnson) – 2:06
  3. “A Taste of Honey” (Bobby Scott, Ric Marlow) – 1:45
  4. “Bésame Mucho” (Consuelo Velázquez, Sunny Skylar) – 2:36
  5. “Reminiscing” (King Curtis) – 1:41
  6. “Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey” (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Richard Penniman) – 2:09
Side three
  1. “Nothin’ Shakin’ (But the Leaves on the Trees)” (Eddie Fontaine, Cirino Colacrai, Diane Lampert, John Gluck) – 1:15
  2. “To Know Her Is to Love Her” (Phil Spector) – 3:02
  3. “Little Queenie” (Berry) – 3:51
  4. “Falling in Love Again (Can’t Help It)” (Frederick Hollander, Sammy Lerner) – 1:57
  5. “Ask Me Why” (Lennon, McCartney) – 2:26
  6. “Be-Bop-A-Lula” (Gene Vincent, Bill Davis) – 2:29
    • Guest lead vocal by Fred Fascher, Star-Club waiter
  7. “Hallelujah I Love Her So” (Ray Charles) – 2:10
    • Guest lead vocal by Horst Fascher, Star-Club manager
Side four
  1. “Red Sails in the Sunset” (Jimmy Kennedy, Hugh Williams) – 2:00
  2. “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby” (Carl Perkins) – 2:25
  3. “Matchbox” (Carl Perkins) – 2:35
  4. “I’m Talking About You” (Berry) – 1:48
  5. “Shimmy Like Kate” (Armand Piron, Fred Smith, Cliff Goldsmith) – 2:17
    • Based on The Olympics’ arrangement of “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”;[32] sometimes misidentified as “Shimmy Shimmy” or “Shimmy Shake”
  6. “Long Tall Sally” (Enotris Johnson, Robert Blackwell, Penniman) – 1:45
  7. “I Remember You” (Johnny Mercer, Victor Schertzinger) – 1:54

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live!_at_the_Star-Club_in_Hamburg,_Germany;_1962

 

Cream – Badge

One of my favorite Cream songs. Badge was written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison. In Georges handwritten lyrics he wrote the word “Bridge” as in bridge of a song and Clapton that it was “Badge” so they named the song that. In 1969 Badge peaked at #60 on the Billboard 100 Charts, #18 on the UK Charts and #49 in Canada.

It appeared on Cream’s final album “Goodbye.”… Ringo Star threw in a line also.

George Harrison on writing Badge with Clapton

I helped Eric write “Badge” you know. Each of them had to come up with a song for that GoodbyeCream album and Eric didn’t have his written. We were working across from each other and I was writing the lyrics down and we came to the middle part so I wrote ‘Bridge.’ Eric read it upside down and cracked up laughing – ‘What’s BADGE?’ he said. After that, Ringo [Starr] walked in drunk and gave us that line about the swans living in the park

Badge

Thinkin’ ’bout the times you drove in my car.
Thinkin’ that I might have drove you too far.
And I’m thinkin’ ’bout the love that you laid on my table.

I told you not to wander ’round in the dark.
I told you ’bout the swans, that they live in the park.
Then I told you ’bout our kid: now he’s married to Mabel.

Yes, I told you that the light goes up and down.
Don’t you notice how the wheel goes ’round?
And you better pick yourself up from the ground
Before they bring the curtain down.
Yes, before they bring the curtain down.

Ah Ah Ah, yeh yeh yeh
Ah Ah Ah, yeh yeh yeh

Talkin’ ’bout a girl that looks quite like you.
She didn’t have the time to wait in the queue.
She cried away her life since she fell off the cradle.

The Beatles at Shea Stadium 1965

On August 15, 1965 The Beatles played to the largest audience to that point of any rock band. 55,600 fans were in Shea Stadium ready to be entertained by the Beatles.

Looking at the equipment they had…it had to be hard to hear anything. They used 100 Watt Vox amps. They are great amps but they used the house PA in a baseball stadium. I’ve played much smaller outside events with more powerful equipment and most importantly a better PA…but it didn’t matter at the time though as Ringo said:

“We always used to use the house PA,” added Starr. “That was good enough for us, even at Shea Stadium. I never felt people came to hear our show — I felt they came to see us. From the count-in on the first number, the volume of screams drowned everything else out.”

The fans turned Beatle concerts…and especially this one into an event more than a concert. The Beatles were very aware of the magnitude of this concert. ABC filmed the concert and it became a documentary. The looks on the Beatles faces were “Can you believe this?” and they seem to really enjoy this concert. The screams come through when you watch the documentary. They drown out everything. Luckily they plugged the recording equipment into the soundboard so at least you can hear them.

During the closing song, “I’m Down” John was playing the organ and you can tell he was having a great time. He was playing this his arms and cracking up George as well. John once told Sid Berstein who promoted the concert “You know, Sid, that concert in 1965 at Shea Stadium … I saw the top of the mountain on that unforgettable night.'”

The Shea Stadium total was an attendance record that lasted until Led Zeppelin played to 56,800 in Tampa in 1973. That record was soon broken by The Who. The difference being by then the rock crowd had grown up and so had the equipment.

The 12 song Beatles setlist that lasted a whole 30 minutes.

  1. Twist and Shout
  2. She’s a Woman
  3. I Feel Fine
  4. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
  5. Ticket to Ride
  6. Everybody’s Tryin’ to Be My Baby
  7. Can’t Buy Me Love
  8. Baby’s in Black
  9. Act Naturally
  10. A Hard Day’s Night
  11. Help!
  12. I’m Down

Like so many of The Beatles achievements…They were pioneers.

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George Harrison – Any Road

This song was on George’s last album “Brainwashed” in 2003. George wrote the song in 1988 while working on a video for “Cloud Nine.” The song peaked at #37 in the UK chart in 2003.

George played this song on a VH1 show that ended up being his last performance before he died in 2001. George did not completely finish the album before he died so his son Dhani and Jeff Lynn helped finish it.

I thought this song was a good song for George to leave us with…It has his trademark slide and some ukelele in it.

This is from songfacts about the song.

George’s son Dhani said that while he and his father were in Hawaii, they walked by a beach and saw a sign that read, “If the wind blows, you can always adjust your sails, but, if you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there.” The sign was the inspiration for the song.

“Any Road”

(Give me that plenty of that guitar.)

But I’ve been traveling on a boat and a plane
In a car on a bike with a bus and a train
Traveling there, traveling here
Everywhere in every gear

But oh Lord we pay the price
With the spin of the wheel with the roll of the dice
Ah yeah you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

And I’ve been traveling through the dirt and the grime
From the past to the future through the space and the time
Traveling deep beneath the waves
In watery grottoes and mountainous caves

But oh Lord we’ve got to fight
With the thoughts in the head with the dark and the light
No use to stop and stare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

You may not know where you came from
May not know who you are
May not have even wondered
How you got this far

I’ve been traveling on a wing and a prayer
By the skin of my teeth, by the breadth of a hair
Traveling where the four winds blow
With the sun on my face, in the ice and the snow

But oooeeee it’s a game
Sometimes you’re cool, sometimes you’re lame
Ah yeah it’s somewhere
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

But oh Lord we pay the price
With the spin of the wheel with the roll of the dice
Ah yeah you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

I keep traveling around the bend
There was no beginning, there is no end
It wasn’t born and never dies
There are no edges, there is no sides

Oh yeah you just don’t win
It’s so far out, the way out is in
Bow to God and call him Sir
But if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there
If you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

(Yeah hey! Ah ee ah! Ah he ah!)

George Harrison – Isn’t It a Pity

This 1970 George Harrison song is off of the great album “All Things Must Pass.” It is often overlooked but its one of my favorite George Harrison songs. George wrote it in 1966 but it didn’t see daylight until 1970. He brought it up on the Let It Be sessions but he later said that John Lennon rejected it. That I don’t understand…I Me Mine was passed but not this one? I like “I Me Mine” but not like this one. Maybe George did more work on it afterward or it was the length of the song.

It resembles Hey Jude in its structure. It was the B side to My Sweet Lord which went to #1 on the charts. In Canada, this song was the preferred song and it went to #1 in Canada.

No one benefitted from the break up of the Beatles like George. He had so many songs that we had written and could not get enough of them on Beatles albums, understandably so with Lennon and McCartney. He released a 3 album set called “All Things Must Pass” in 1970.

George began recording this Isn’t It A Pity on June 2, 1970. Phil Spector produced it using his trademark Wall of Sound with heavy reverb. On the remastered version, the reverb is toned down a little.

This is from Timothy White’s interview with George Harrison that appeared in the Dec. 30, 2000, issue of Billboard:

Had you intended songs like “Isn’t It A Pity” to be things just for you?

No, I mean, this is the funny thing: imagine if the Beatles had gone on and on. Well, the songs on “All Things Must Pass,” maybe some of them I would probably only just got ’round to do now, you know, with my quota that I was allowed [laughs]. “Isn’t It A Pity” would just have been a Beatles song, wouldn’t it? And now that could be said for each one of us. “Imagine” would have been a Beatles song, but it was with John’s songs. It just happened that the Beatles finished. 

What was the inspiration for “Isn’t It A Pity”?

It’s just an observation of how society and myself were or are. We take each other for granted — and forget to give back. That was really all it was about.

It’s like “love lost and love gained between 16- and 20-year-olds.” But I must explain: Once, at the time I was at Warner Bros. and I wrote that song “Blood From A Clone” [on the 1981 “Somewhere In England” album], that was when they were having all these surveys out on the street to find out what was a hit record. And apparently, as I was told, a hit record is something that is about “love gained or lost between 14- and 19-year-olds,” or something really dumb like that.

So that’s why I wrote “Isn’t Is A Pity” [laughs]; I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll get in on that!”

 

“Isn’t It A Pity”

Isn’t it a pity
Now, isn’t it a shame
How we break each other’s hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other’s love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pitySome things take so long
But how do I explain
When not too many people
Can see we’re all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can’t hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Isn’t it a pity

Isn’t it a pity
Isn’t is a shame
How we break each other’s hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other’s love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pity

Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pity
Forgetting to give back
Now, isn’t it a pity

[6 times, fade the 6th:]
What a pity
What a pity, pity, pity
What a pity
What a pity, pity, pity

The “Compleat” Beatles 1982

This is what Beatle fans had until the Anthology came out in 1995 and turned a new generation onto the Beatles. I wore out the recorded VHS copy my cousin gave me. It is a two hour documentary of the Beatles. It was narrated by actor Malcolm McDowell (Clockwork Orange) and was well done. I remember watching this and “The Kids Are Alright” in the 80s. It was nice seeing the footage that was not as available as today.

I do remember some small frustrating parts of it. I think it was  “Hey Jude” about to begin (David Frost Show) and whoever cut the film placed a George Martin voice over during some of the performance. Remember this was a time when you couldn’t just go on youtube and see performances. Overall it was very well made. I still have a copy of it somewhere. Paul McCartney bought out the negative rights to the film in the 1990s to clear the way for Anthology and below is that story from Wikipedia.

The Compleat Beatles was initially released as a PBS documentary in the United States, and then on VHS, Betamax, CED and Laserdisc that same year on the MGM/UA Home Video label. The 1982 Laserdisc was released in both Analogue and Stereo versions, as well as being released in Japan and England (in PAL format) in 1983.[3]

The film did very well, and in 1984 Delilah Films and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer arranged for it to be released theatrically in the U.S. by a small distributor named Teleculture. This contributed to its continuing to be a best seller on VHS. Some years later, when Paul McCartney was preparing The Beatles Anthology, he bought the negative and all the rights to the film from Delilah to get it off of the market and clear the way for his production. That, according to the film’s director Patrick Montgomery, is why it is not available on DVD or any newer formats and “probably never will be.”

If you find a copy somewhere buy it…it is worth it. Even if you already have Anthology. The Beatles Anthology is far superior but it does make a good companion piece.

This is from Rolling Stone magazine. It went over the other documentaries of the band. They make a good case for The Compleat Beatles. The link to the page is:

Again nothing has compared to the Anthology but The Compleat Beatles was very well done.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/the-compleat-beatles-10-takeaways-from-great-overlooked-fab-four-doc-121193/

But one Beatles doc you might not know – and its cause has not been helped by not having an authorized DVD release yet – is 1982’s The Compleat Beatles, written by David Silver, directed by Patrick Montgomery, and narrated by Malcolm McDowell, chief droog from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Clocking in at two hours – and titled in the spirit of The Compleat Angler, England’s definitive book on fishing, from 1653 – The Compleat Beatles tells the band’s entire story, from pre-fame days, with checkpoints at each album, right up through the breakup. It’s brimming with keen musical analysis, and a coterie of voices you normally don’t get with a Beatles documentary.

For a long time, in the VHS era, it was a staple of high-school music teachers, starting 35 years ago in the summer and fall of ’82. If you were lucky enough to have had the TV set wheeled in by a Beatles-mad instructor, you know this is a special film.

Here are 10 reasons to check out this overlooked masterwork of the Beatles’ cinematic canon.

1. Writer David Silver had a pitch-perfect understanding of the Beatles’ career arc – and importance in their time and beyond.
“Poets of a generation, heroes of an era,” The Compleat Beatles begins, with Malcolm McDowell reciting Silver’s lines with Shakespearean gravity. This is to be a proper assessment of a band that was so much more than a rock & roll collective, something we’re made to feel immediately. “Like all poets and heroes, they reflected the spirt of their times.” The early sequences in the film present footage of a bygone Liverpool, which looks pretty grim, as if nothing mercurial could emerge from this seaport. When the opening chords of the Beatles’ cover of Chuck Berry’s “Rock and Roll Music” kick in, the film itself seems to pop with possibility, as if infused with Beatle-esque spirit. There was nothing the band couldn’t do, and now there will be nothing this movie can’t do.

2. Gerry Marsden was an ace witness to what the Beatles were doing.
The leader of Gerry and the Pacemakers, perpetual Liverpudlian also-rans, Gerry Marsden was always broad-spirited when it came to talking about the band that so outpaced his own, but you don’t get to hear him very much on film. Here he explains how the Liverpool acts were able to transform skiffle into something far grittier from what he terms the “ackky dacky” sounds of Lonnie Donegan. First he whips out a guitar to show how Donegan would play “Jambalaya,” before remarking “we’d get the record and we’d rock it up a little bit,” entering forth into a cool little demonstration. It’s a great primer for how the Northern bands were able to develop their own sound from what was a reductive, chipper genre in skiffle.

3. Early manager Allan Williams was quite the character.
Williams liked his tall tales, and the Beatles basically screwed the guy over after he hooked them up with Hamburg and they jumped ship for Brian Epstein, but Williams clearly loved reminiscing about his relationship with the band, which would continue on for a while still. (And resurface later when the legality of the Hamburg Star Club tapes was in dispute.) He describes a letter from Howie Casey of Derry and the Seniors begging him not to send “that bum group the Beatles” over to Hamburg, for fear that this would mess up everyone else’s good thing. Williams then goes on to (accurately) describe the style of then-drummer Pete Best as not very clever. Hardly a feeling-sparer, which is probably why the likes of John Lennon liked him – at least for a while.

4. George Harrison’s mom deserves serious props. The Compleat Beatles does an excellent job of synthesizing how the Beatles came together in their pre-fame years (complete with an image of John Lennon’s report card decrying his “insolence”), with a clear, concise chronology, and valuable insight directed towards the subject of George Harrison and his mother. Most Beatles studies focus, in terms of maternal subjects, on Lennon and his mother, Julia, and Paul McCartney and his late mother, Mary, but Mrs. Harrison knew a thing or two about rocking out. “To his classmates, George Harrison was the boy whose father drove the bus they all rode to school,” McDowell states. “His mother sat up with him night after night as he taught himself how to play Buddy Holly songs,” with his inclusion in the Quarrymen assured because “his mother could tolerate their noisy rehearsals.” Way to go, Mrs. H.

5. Reeperbahn mainstay Horst Fascher was one badass MF.
The Compleat Beatlesmakes commendable use of the underrated Star Club material to soundtrack several scenes, and it’s a delight when self-professed Beatles protector Horst Fascher turns up on camera. He made sure that they didn’t get in too much distress on their first Reeperbahn forays, or, as he puts it in the film, “If you are in trouble with some girls who are prostitutes, and you don’t know the girls are prostitutes, and the pimps find out, you can get in a lot of trouble,” which made Horst the guy to seek out to cure your ills and keep your ass intact, given that he was a former boxer who had been booted from competition for killing a sailor in a street fight. Ah, Hamburg.

6. The Litherland Town Hall show from December 27th, 1960, was the watershed gig of the Beatles’ career.The film also features a number of segments with Bill Harry, a friend of the band who was instrumental in spreading the good word about them in Liverpool – even before they deserved it – with his Mersey Beatmagazine, which documented the comings and goings of life on the local beat scene. Harry gives the backstory for the gig that would change the Beatles’ career. “They came back from Hamburg still as an unknown band,” Harry remembers, but he promoted they hell out of them, “because they were close friends of mine.” This got a promoter to book them at Litherland Town Hall, shortly following Christmas in 1960. Allan Williams was there, too. “The moment the Beatles struck up and did their stomping, every kid froze, and then they ran to the stage and started screaming.” That would be the gist of a lot of what was to follow.

7. According to George Martin, “Yesterday” was the crucial pivot point for the band’s sonic development.
Martin is eloquent throughout The Compleat Beatles: erudite, dapper, utterly sure of himself, being interviewed in a recording studio by his console, with no Beatles intruding with misremembered bits of info, something that dogged the Anthology. It’s just Martin, holding a master class in what it was like from his end to work with these guys. “They always wanted to have new ideas and sounds coming through. I found that they were almost more inquisitive than I was. In fact, in the end, it kind of exhausted me. Sometimes they knew what they wanted to do, but more often than not, they didn’t,” coming across like Yoda both frustrated and blown away by the gifts of Luke Skywalker. Regarding “Yesterday”: “It isn’t really a Beatles song,” Martin remembers saying to McCartney, then goes through how he made his pitch for the Beatles to forsake their standard drum-bass-guitar attack, which would become, through various methods, the mode of the future.

8. The doc features the coolest, trippiest, most cost-effective visual evocation of “Tomorrow Never Knows” ever filmed.
McDowell’s narration intones that “Two of John’s songs ‘She Said She Said’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ were the results of his recent experiments with drugs” – fair enough – as a quick tour of Revolver begins, but what follows is brilliant: Using only the cover of the album, director Montgomery, through a series of sweeps, pans and fast dissolves, gives us something of a visual acid trip, as “Tomorrow Never Knows” blasts from the soundtrack. Once you see the effect, it’s hard to disgorge it from your mind each time going forward that you hear that mindblower of a track.

9. The band’s final world tour was pure terror, and no film better evokes it.With a collage of on-the-street interviews, footage from Beatles record burnings and people getting hurt at shows as frantic MCs plead for calm, The Compleat Beatlesprovides a strong sense of why touring had to stop for the band. As the footage unfurls, there’s a low droning figure in the soundtrack, sort of like the protracted hum of the final chord on the Sgt. Pepperalbum stretched out for several minutes. We also get a self-righteous cop in Minneapolis who goes on at some length about how much he hates the Beatles: “As far as Beatle music, I could care about it not one bit personally … one of their group, with the British accent, told us they would never come back to Minneapolis, and I told him that would be too soon for me.”

 10. In Martin’s view, the Beatles were fated to become huge. George Martin has a lot of key lines regarding his four upstarts and their career. At one point he states, “Without Brian Epstein, the Beatles wouldn’t have existed,” by which he means that success would not have come to them and they would not be the galvanic entity we all know. But Martin is in downright Socratic mode, though, when he ventures towards a larger explanation for that success. “I think that the great thing about the Beatles was that they were of their time, their timing was right. They didn’t choose it – someone chose it for them. But the timing was right, and they left their mark in history because of it.”