I Finally Saw The Beatles On The Big Screen!

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One of the biggest news events in Beatle-land this year has been the recent release of the Ron Howard documentary about the Beatles’ touring years, entitled The Beatles: Eight Days A Week. As I have mentioned before, it’s been a dream of mine for years to go see a Beatles movie in the theaters and pretend I’m a fan from the 1960s seeing A Hard Days Night upon its release.

I tried to do that back in 2012, when a documentary called The Beatles: The Lost Concert was scheduled for wide release in theaters. This documentary (supposedly) captured the frenzy of the Beatles’ first concert in North America, which occurred in Washington D.C. on February 11, 1964. Unfortunately, it was never released in theaters due to copyright issues. When I learned of its canceled release, I was heartbroken, but I never stopped believing that perhaps one day another Beatles documentary would find its way to a theater near me.

I first heard about The Beatles: Eight Days A Week over the summer, and even after watching the official trailer on the Beatles’ YouTube channel and visiting the movie’s website, I still sort of thought it was too good to be true. I reserved mild hope that I’d be able to see this movie, but I figured that my efforts to see the Beatles on the big screen and learn new Beatles trivia would be thwarted once again.

However, as events fell into place, the stars aligned, and my prayers were answered, I actually was able to see this movie at a theater near my school just a few weeks ago! I was so excited at the prospect of seeing 90 minutes of remastered Beatles footage and audio, and the movie definitely exceeded my giddily high expectations.

At this point in my Beatles fandom, I’ve read and watched so much about them that it’s difficult for me to be shocked by any aspect of their narrative. And yet I continue indulging in Beatles-related releases like this movie because I am always amazed at their magical story. The Beatles’ rise to success in the 1960s is a remarkable tale, filled with astounding chart domination, incredibly concentrated musical output, and incalculable influence on the culture of their era. I keep coming back to Beatles movies, articles, and programs because I revel in hearing about how they took the world by storm and altered the whole concept of rock music and success for a band. It’s infectious and endlessly fascinating.

Back to the movie at hand, it certainly did not blow my mind with a wholly new perspective on the Beatles’ touring years. However, it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie-watching experience for a Beatles fan. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of backstage footage that I had somehow never come across on YouTube or television. These clips emphasized that the Beatles really were a hilarious four-headed monster, at least in their early days. The movie also detailed a few points about the Beatles’ stops in specific areas of which I was not previously aware.

These included a 1964 Beatles concert in Florida that they flatly refused to perform unless they sang to an unsegregated crowd. Though the Beatles were from England, they were very conscious of the racial tensions present in the US at the time and took this opportunity to maintain their belief that any form of segregation was morally wrong and unacceptable to them. This isn’t really a huge spoiler, but I previously had no idea that the venue actually agreed to unsegregate the seating for that particular concert so the Beatles would still perform,  which helped set a precedent for unsegregated concert venues in that and surrounding areas.

This movie also focuses a lot on the difficulties that the Beatles faced during their rise to worldwide acclaim through their tours. I was not wholly aware of the actual danger that they were in just entering a building or driving around. There were many clips of near-riots on streets all over the world that stemmed from the Beatles’ arrival in that particular city. This is a helpful reminder for aspiring musicians that the only sustainable reason to become a musician is because you deeply love music, not because you want to be famous. I am always in awe of the immense scope of Beatlemania in the mid 1960s, but it certainly was not all good days and sunshine.

Despite all of this, I would trade just about anything to spend one day experiencing the height of Beatlemania. However, seeing this movie in the theaters is probably the next best thing. The Beatles: Eight Days A Week may not be groundbreaking, but honestly, barring some huge, covered-up scandal I don’t know about, it is difficult for any new Beatles project to be groundbreaking. What I absolutely love about the release of this movie is how it contributes to keeping the Beatles’ music and story alive in today’s generation. As long as there is the occasional Beatles-related project or musical re-release, I’ll have confidence that they will remain eminent figures in cultural lore.

What I’ve Learned From The Beatles

No real reason for this picture, I just thought it looked inspiring.

No real reason for this picture, I just thought it looked inspiring.

I know that this is kind of cliché to say, but becoming a Beatle fan has really changed my life. I’ve discovered not only the music from the greatest band of all time, but I’ve also become fans of many, MANY artists that I probably wouldn’t listen to if it were not for the Beatles, like thenewno2, ELO, Elton John, Wings, Eric Clapton, the Traveling Wilburys, and many others. I’ve definitely developed a deep-seeded love affair with classic rock music. I credit the Beatles for showing me how fantastic life can be, and I’ve had many fun Beatley experiences since becoming a fan. The Beatles are not only my favorite band, they are also kind of like my life coaches. They have indirectly taught me many things about life through their music and their experiences, and I am so grateful to them for (hopefully) making me a better person. Here are some general life lessons that I’ve learned from the Beatles:

– Enjoy life, because it’s very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friends.
Although I did partially quote that line from “We Can Work It Out,” in all seriousness, being a Beatles fan has made me realize how important it is to enjoy things while you have them. Also, I feel like this year for me has absolutely flown by, and I’m amazed at how time really does fly. I always try to live in the moment and not in anticipation of the next day, which I think helps me enjoy things more.

– There is always more room in your heart to love.
Just when I think that I’ve discovered all of the good music in the world, I always fall in love with some other fantastic artist. My personal list of “favorite people” that mostly includes British musicians, Beatle impersonators, and some actors has grown quite a lot in the past year, which shows me that you’re never really “done” finding out how amazing people are. I’m sure I could state this much more eloquently, but basically, the amount of awesomeness and awesome people in life never runs out.

– Appreciate your family and friends who love and care about you.
Not that I didn’t love these people before, but I’m saying that I never truly realized how important family and friends are until I became a Beatles fan. For whatever reason, loving their music has caused me to love people more, if that makes any sense.

– Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and say what you feel, because it does matter and can make a difference.
I’ve always considered myself a pretty opinionated person, and I’m rarely indifferent about something. That being said, hearing what the Beatles had to say in their songs made me realize that they weren’t afraid of writing about something that was important to them, like speaking out against the Vietnam War in “Revolution” and against British taxes in “Taxman,” and I shouldn’t hide things that matter to me from other people.

– Music can heal just about everything.
Whether you like the Beatles or not, you have to agree that this is pretty much true. Music has an amazing power to bring people together and adds a certain happiness to life that can’t be found anywhere else. The amount of times that listening to the Beatles has made me feel better about life convinces me that their music, above all others, truly heals the soul.

– Always have a positive outlook on life.
The Beatles once sang, “It’s getting better all the time.” I believe that being positive about life is the only way to go if you want to be happy, and while I’m not blindly optimistic, I do try to see the sunny side to every situation. This also ties in to a famous Monty Python saying, “Always look on the bright side of life!”

– Never be complacent or satisfied with how things are, and always look to progress to the next level of something.
The Beatles definitely lived by this statement in the 60s, because even when they were at the top of the charts and the most famous band in the world by 1964, they didn’t just rest on their laurels and settle into a period of making mediocre music because they could. They always wanted to be innovative, creative, and further refine their craft, which led them to make such masterpieces as Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, and basically everything else they did after 1965. I greatly admire them for always wanting to take things to the next level, and I apply this to always pushing myself to do better in school and be the best that I can be.

– It’s okay to change as a person over time, because that’s what life is all about.
This is an almost-direct quote from George, and I look up to him in particular for accepting that change is a good thing. George knew that life was all about becoming a better person, and I only wish that I was as receptive to changes in myself.

– If you really want something, you’ll have to work hard to achieve it.
Many people don’t realize that the Beatles were not an overnight sensation. They weren’t an amateur band who was discovered on Youtube and became famous. No, they played for years in many different venues in Liverpool and Hamburg, becoming a fantastic band in the process. They were flat-out rejected at their first audition for a record company. The Beatles fully embodied the idea that hard work and dedication is what will get you far in life, and I hope that this will be true for me going forward.

As you can see, I’ve learned quite a lot from the Beatles. They are my ultimate inspirations in life. These things I’ve posted are words that anyone can live by, and I think that as long as I continue to be inspired by the Beatles, things will work out okay for me.

I’ll try to do a “Paul preview” post either tomorrow or Monday, because as the countdown next to this post states, there are only 2 days left until I see Paul McCartney in concert!!!! The day is fast approaching!!!!