Every once in awhile the Universe conspires to create magic. The right people, in the right place, at the right time combine to be greater than the sum of their parts.
Four lads from Liverpool. America. 1964.
The Beatles didn’t just change music, they changed the world.
Director Ron Howard’s new documentary about the Fab Four is an enthralling tagalong journey with the world’s most famous rock-n-roll band. It follows the group from their formative days playing eight-hour sessions at clubs like the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg, Germany to their final performance on top of the band’s offices at 3 Saville Row in London.
The film is bursting with performance footage. The most compelling of which is from a 1965 concert at Shea Stadium. Shot in brilliant color, it crackles with the manic energy of the pop culture tidal wave that was The Beatles.
Howard briefly highlights the group’s manager, Brian Epstein. Long credited as the architect of the band’s success, Epstein concocted The Beatles’ look. Upon signing them, one of the first things he did was tidy up their appearance and takes them to a tailor. He understood who the boys were and how to present them in the most compelling light to the public.
However, the picture shines brightest when John, Paul, George, and Ringo take center stage in all their cheeky glory. Only in their early-20s, they charm everyone in their path with a perfectly calibrated combination of the brashness of their youth mixed with the irresistible charisma of burgeoning superstars.
And the songs.
All of Epstein’s meticulous planning and foresight, mixed with the band’s innate charm, wouldn’t have rocketed them to the stratosphere without the music to back them up. The documentary is stuffed wall-to-wall with some of the most recognizable and loved songs in the annals of popular music. There are some compelling fly-on-the-wall peeks from the studio that shows the group’s creative process in action.
While Eight Days a Week couldn’t help but cover the history of the band, it is first and foremost a look at the manic life they lead on tour. Their schedule was crushing. They would spend mornings recording, afternoons at a photo shoot or maybe a television appearance, and end the day with a sold-out live performance. This went on day after day, month after month, and year after year. They soon grew to dread their schedule. Ultimately, they create some of their most revered work long after they ceased touring.
Eight Days a Week is Ron Howard’s love letter to rock-n-roll’s most iconic group. The Beatles weren’t just the best of their time; they are the best of all-time. They had the talent, guidance, and charisma to propel them to superstardom. Howard had the wisdom to sit back and honor the band in the best way possible, he simply shows The Beatles being The Beatles.
-Zep the Bear
Watch the trailer for The Beatles: Eight Days a Week-The Touring Years (2016) here.