Long-Awaited Digital Remastering of Beatles Hollywood Bowl Performances from 1964 and 1965 Without Bogus Audience Track Precedes World Premiere of “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years” Film Documentary by Ron Howard
Titled “The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl,” the upcoming release is more than a reissue of the original because it’s sourced from three Bowl concerts, not two; the CD’s track list is slightly different and ends with four previously unreleased performances; and the bogus audience track added to the original release is gone.
Apple/Universal are releasing “The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl” worldwide on CD and for digital download and streaming on September 9, followed by a 180-gram vinyl LP in a gatefold cover November 18, according to a news release today from Apple and Universal.
The reissue precedes by a week the theatrical premiere of “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years,” Oscar-winning director Ron Howard’s documentary film about the 166 concerts Liverpool, England’s John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr played in 90 cities in 15 countries between “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9, 1964, and the band’s final concert at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.
Universal, now the parent company of Capitol Records, the label that’s released Beatles records in the United States since 1964, has posted a listing for the album on Amazon and is taking pre-orders. The adjacent image is from that page.
The new package also includes a 24-page booklet with track info and liner notes by longtime Rolling Stone magazine writer-editor David Fricke, and a cover photo by Bob Bonis, The Beatles’ U.S. tour manager in 1964, taken August 22 as the Fab Four boarded a chartered jet from the Seattle-Tacoma airport en route to Vancouver, BC, for their first show in Canada.
Next stop: Hollywood.
Capitol’s original Hollywood Bowl album was one of only two albums in the label’s Beatles catalog not restored and reissued on CD; the other is 1980’s “Beatles Rarities” in the gatefold cover. Both albums have been bootlegged on CD but never legitimately released.
Capitol Records recorded three concerts at the Hollywood Bowl – August 23, 1964, and August 29 and August 30, 1965. DJ Bob Eubanks of L.A. radio station KRLA promoted the shows, which sold out immediately.
The 1964 show sold out in three hours and touched off a series of near-riots among local teenaged fans who couldn’t get tickets. According to famed gossip columnist Hedda Hopper’s account in The Los Angeles Times, Eubanks paid the band $58,000, or about $1,933 a minute, for the 1964 show alone.
On their final tour in 1966, The Beatles played Dodger Stadium, but Capitol did not tape that concert.
Capitol’s 1977 vinyl release combined tracks from the 1964 and the August 30, 1965 Hollywood Bowl shows. The complete concerts from those dates have been widely bootlegged but never been released legitimately.
The New Beatles Hollywood Bowl Track List
The 2016 digital update of “The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl” includes tracks from those two concerts, and, for the first time legitimately, from August 29, 1965.
Here’s the track list:
1. “Twist and Shout” (August 30, 1965)
2. “She’s A Woman” (August 30, 1965)
3. “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” (August 30, 1965/August 29, 1965 edit)
4. “Ticket to Ride” (August 29, 1965)
5. “Can’t Buy Me Love” (August 30, 1965)
6. “Things We Said Today” (August 23, 1964)
7. “Roll Over Beethoven” (August 23, 1964)
8. “Boys” (August 23, 1964)
9. “A Hard Day’s Night” (August 30, 1965)
10. “Help!” (August 29, 1965)
11. “All My Loving” (August 23, 1964)
12. “She Loves You” (August 23, 1964)
13. “Long Tall Sally” (August 23, 1964]
14. “You Can’t Do That” (August 23, 1964) *
15. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (August 23, 1964) *
16. “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby” (August 30, 1965) *
17. “Baby’s In Black” (August 30th, 1965) *
* Previously Unreleased
Technical Challenge for Giles Martin & Sam Okell
George Martin’s son Giles Martin worked at Abbey Road in London to remix and remaster the original three-track tapes, assisted by engineer Sam Okell. Both are Grammy-winners.
The primary reason for the long delay in reissuing the Beatles’ Hollywood Bowl album in digital form was the dodgy quality of the original three-track recordings.
Recording and mastering hardware and software have finally caught up with this challenge.
“Technology has moved on since my father worked on the material all those years ago,” Martin said in a statement. “Now there’s improved clarity, and so the immediacy and visceral excitement can be heard like never before.”
Martin continued: “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,” he said.
“With Sam Okell, I started work on remixing the Hollywood Bowl tapes…. My father’s words still ring true, but what we hear now is the raw energy of four lads playing together to a crowd that loved them,” Martin said. “This is the closest you can get to being at the Hollywood Bowl at the height of Beatlemania. We hope you enjoy the show.”
Brian Kehew on ‘Demixing’ Beatles Voices & Instruments
“This (update) has been taken from the original tapes and there was some really special computer work to isolate the single instruments on their own tracks now,” said Brian Kehew, Los Angeles-based Beatles studio tech expert and co-author of “Recording The Beatles.” He has been aware of the Hollywood Bowl project as it progressed in relative secrecy, but has not yet heard the final result.
Kehew made the comments at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles Monday night, following an album listening session for The Beatles’ 1966 epic “Revolver” album and a Q&A panel afterward that also featured author-producer David Leaf and former Apple Records chief Jack Oliver.
“While (the music) was (originally) mixed together with all the guitars lumped on top of each other, it is possible now to separate out different singers, different instruments onto different tracks from a single track,” Kehew said. “So it’s been redone – a new, supposedly beautiful mix of the Hollywood Bowl.”
No Bogus Applause Track
Kehew also confirmed something hardcore Beatles fans have suspected for years.
“I was told by someone (on the project) that along the way they found out the audience noise was fake,” he said.
“On the (1977) version, somebody had tried to enhance (the audience) by bringing it up, but if you listen to Paul’s open mike or if you listen to John’s, it’s not that crazy,” Kehew said.
“They’re in the Hollywood Bowl, which is outside, and people are shrieking, but it’s not inside like the Ed Sullivan Theater,” he said. “So (Capitol) wanted the feeling probably of being in the audience where people are screaming around you. So the (reissue) is a realistic version, a great-sounding supposedly and super-rocking version of the Hollywood Bowl show.”
The Beatles authorized the original release. Lennon chose the gatefold cover package from three designs presented to him. In his approval memo, he asked the album title to be “The Beatles – Live at the Hollywood Bowl.” Capitol ultimately left off the word “live.”
That’s been rectified: The 2016 update uses Lennon’s preferred title.
The Original 1977 Beatles Hollywood Bowl Album
The original album’s track list was:
“Twist And Shout” (1965)
“She’s a Woman” (1965)
“Dizzy Miss Lizzie” (1965)
“Ticket to Ride” (1965)
“Can’t Buy Me Love” (1965)
“Things We Said Today” (1964)
“Roll Over Beethoven” (1964)
“A Hard Day’s Night” (1965)
“All My Loving” (1964)
“She Loves You” (1964)
“Long Tall Sally” (1964)
Capitol staff engineer-producer Voyle Gilmore produced the live recordings at the 1964 and 1965 Hollywood Bowl concerts, with Hugh Davies the engineer the first year and Pete Abbott the second.
Beatles producer George Martin and his engineer partner Geoff Emerick (from “Revolver” in 1966″ to “Abbey Road” in 1969) convened at Martin’s AIR Studios in January 1977 to produce the final sequencing and mixdown, and Capitol’s Wally Traugott and Emerick mastered the final mix for release on vinyl.
Martin wrote the liner notes for the gatefold package, detailing the project’s history.
“Over twelve years ago, The Beatles appeared for the first time at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles,” he wrote.
“It was not long after they had made their first impact on the United States, but already two years after I had signed them to record contract with EMI.
“Frankly, I was not in favor of taping their performance. I knew the quality of recording could not equal what we could do in the studio. But we thought we would try anyhow. Technically, the results were disappointing, the conditions for the engineers were arduous in the extreme.
“The chaos, I almost might say panic, that reigned at those concerts was unbelievable unless you were there. Only three track recording was possible: The Beatles had no ‘fold-back’ speakers, so they could not hear what they were singing, and the eternal shriek from 17,000 [sets of] healthy young lungs made even a jet plane inaudible.
“A year later in 1965, John, Paul, George and Ringo appeared again at the Hollywood Bowl and Capitol again taped the show for posterity. And there the tapes remained for over a decade. Neither the boys nor I considered they should be used because they consisted of titles that had already been issued as studio recordings. We often spoke of making a live recording, and in fact the ill-fated ‘Let it Be’ album began as an attempt to make a live album of new material.
“It was with some misgivings, therefore, that I agreed to listen to those early tapes and at the request of Bhaskar Menon, Capitol’s president. The fact that they were the only live recordings of The Beatles in existence (if you discount inferior bootlegs) did not impress me. What did impress me, however, was the electric atmosphere and raw energy that came over.
“And so, together with my recording engineer, Geoff Emerick, I set to work to bring the performance back to life. It was a labor of love, for we did not know if we could make them good enough for the world to hear – let alone John, Paul, George and Ringo.
“We transferred the vintage three-track tapes to modern multi-track, remixed, filtered, equalized and generally polished the tapes. Then, by careful editing from the two performances, we produced the performance you hear now. Obviously, there has been no redubbing; all the voices and instruments are the original performances (some of the vocal balances, with three singers on one track, are evidence enough). But it is a piece of history that will not occur again.
“Those of us who were lucky enough to be present at a live Beatles concert – be it in Liverpool, London, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Sydney or wherever – will know how amazing, how unique those performances were. It was not just the voice of The Beatles; it was the expression of young people of the world.
“And for the others who wondered what on earth all the fuss was about, this album may give a little clue. It may be a poor substitute for the reality of those times, but it is now all there is.
“In the multiplatinum, sophisticated world we live in today, it is difficult to appreciate the excitement of The Beatles’ breakthrough. My youngest daughter, Lucy, now nine years old, once asked me about them, ‘You used to record them, didn’t you, Daddy?’ she asked. ‘Were they as great as the Bay City Rollers?’ ‘Probably not,’ I replied. Someday she will find out.
“Those who clamour for a Beatle reunion cannot see that it never can be the samke again. The boys in their own way gave a great deal of their lives to us by being Beatles, and now they have found their own individual selves. Good luck to them. I am very proud to have been part of their story.
“Thank you John, Paul, George and Ringo.”
Santa Clarita journalist Stephen K. Peeples was the original, award-winning producer of “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series for the Westwood One Radio Network from 1988-1990. Peeples, a Grammy-nominated record producer (“Monterey International Pop Festival,” MIPF/Rhino, 1992), is a veteran record industry media relations executive (Capitol Records, Elektra/Asylum Records, Westwood One, Rhino Entertainment, 1977-1998) and website content manager (Warner New Media, 1998-2001). Opting to work closer to home, he was music and entertainment features writer/columnist for the Santa Clarita Valley Signal (2004-2011), and The Signal’s award-winning online editor (2007-2011). He then wrote features for Santa Clarita’s KHTS-AM 1220 News (www.hometownstation.com) and SCVNews.com (2011-2016) and hosted, wrote and co-produced the WAVE-nominated “House Blend” music and interview show on SCV community TV station SCVTV (2010-2015). Now semi-retired, Peeples is Vice President/New Media & Editorial (Emeritus) with Los Angeles-based multimedia pop culture company Rare Cool Stuff Unltd. For more information, email skp (at) stephenkpeeples.com or visit http://www.stephenkpeeples.com.