Beatles 50th Blog posts of '2014' 'February'

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : March 9, 1964

Various locations, London to Newton Abbot

THe conclusion of the train filming, traveling this time from London to the Devonshire town of Newton Abbot, 2500 miles having been clocked up during the past week. A Monday to Friday work schedule, leaving weekends free, was maintained throughout the shooting, but for the necessary exceptions.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : March 8, 1964

The Beatles still filming their first feature film - still not titled.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : March 7, 1964

The Beatles still filming their first feature film

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : March 6, 1964

United Artists also required the recordings for the Beatles to mime to during shooting. "And I Love Her" was later remixed for UK album release".

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : March 5, 1964

While on the road filming, work on the Beatle's recordings were being carried out in their absence by George Martin at EMI Studios in Abbey Road. He produced mono mixes of "I Should Have Known Better", "If I Fell", Tell Me Why", "And I Love Her", "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You", and "I Call Your Name".

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : March 4, 1964

Another train related sequence was shot today at the station in Crowcombe, Somerset, when the Beatles ran along the platform adjacent to the slowly moving train, pestering the uppper-crust passenger (Richard Vernon) and shouting "Hey mister! Can we have our ball back?"

One of the two schoolgirls cast by director Richard Lester for a train sequence - shot, in fact, on the first day, - was Pattie Boyd, with whom he had previously worked in a television commercial for Smith's potato crisps. Right away, George Harrison took a liking to Pattie and they soon began dating, leading to their marriage on January 21, 1966.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : March 3, 1964

The Beatles still filming in the West Country

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : March 2, 1964

Various locations today through March 6th - London to the West Country

Today, the Beatles became film actors for the first time, hurriedly joining the closed-shop actor's union Equity only minutes beforehand, on the platform at Paddington Station. They were proposed and seconded by Wilfrid Brambell and Norman Rossington, the two main support players in the group's debut feature film, which, for the moment was untitled. They were all gathered at Paddington for a purpose, of course, the first six day's shooting - Monday to Friday of this first week was to take place on a train. Hire of the train and the track facilities set back Proscenium Films, producer Walter Shenson's company, making the film for United Artists at a tidy sum of £600 per day, but the results were certainly worthwhile. At 8:30 this first day, amid scenes of Beatlemania at Paddinton Station, the train pulled out from Platform Five and headed for the West Country.

No actual shooting was done at Paddinton, however, the film's opening sequence, shot at a London station, was done instead at Marylebone. The Beatles decided after this first day that they could board the train more discreetly elsewhere, so for the remaining five days of shooting they embarked at Acton Main Line, in west London. Similarly, they never returned to Paddington in the evenings, jumping out at interim suburban stations like Acton Main Line, West Ealing, Westbourne Park and Hayes & Harlington, where they would be met by their chauffeur-driven car.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : March 1, 1964

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

The Beatles' first Sunday session for EMI, recording three songs in three hours, 7:00-10:00 pm. The first was "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You", written by John for George to sing, and recorded in four takes. They then taped two songs which would end up not as part of "A Hard Day's Night", but on an EP: "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name". (Surviving paperwork suggests that the latter, if not both, were intended for the film soundtrack at this early stage).

"Long Tall Sally" was a stupendous recording: Just as John had once captured "Twist And Shout" to perfection in a single take, so Paul, performing his greatest ever Little Richard impersonaton, put his all into "Long Tall Sally" - and, again, one take was all that was required. The Beatles backing - including George Martin on piano - was perfect too, so they didn't even bother with a second take.

"I Call Your Name" was also a recording of merit, the Beatles lending a ska beat to the middle-eight section of this Lennon composition. The song had been released before, by Billy J Kramer with the Dakotas as the B-side of their August 1963 number one "Bad To Me" (also written by John). The Beatles' recording was completed in seven takes, the "best" being take seven but the finest ska solo coming in take five, so this was edited into take seven at mising stages.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Friday, February 28, 1964

Studio One, BBC Piccadilly Studios, London

Following the success of their initial "bank holiday" special - From Us To You, broadcst on December 26, 1963, the BBC booked the group to headline a second such program, taped this day and transmitted in the Light Programme under the same title between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon on Easter Monday, March 30th. Recording took place between 6:30 and 9:00 pm (inclusive of rehearsal time) at the Corporation's studios at 201 Piccadilly, central London. (Other guests in the show, booked by the BBC but supposedly at the invitiation of the Beatles, included Acker Bilk, the Swinging Blues Jeans and Vince Hill. They were all taped at a different session).

The Beatle's contribution was the usual mixture of music and with, the latter surfacing in the form of light-hearted interviews with the program's host Alan Freeman. Recordings made especially for the show were "You Can't Do THat", "Roll Over Beethoven", "Till There Was You", "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Please Mister Postman", "All My Loving", "This Boy" and "Can't Buy Me Love". Additionally, the show opened and closed with an a 55-second recording, "From Us To You" - however, this was not the version recorded on December 18, 1963 for the first such "bank holiday" special, but a new rendition taped at this February 28th session. (The two subsequent From Us To You shows - taped on May 1 and July 17, 1964 - repeated this new version).

Reaction to the program was mixed. A BBC audience research report noted, among others, two widely different opinions from members of the public. A security guard considered the Beatles "vastly over-rated; their performance was decidedly amateur, and their entertainment value nil", while a solicitor, self-described as being "over-20", stated "How can anyone fail to like them? Their music is so gay and uninhibited, and they themselves are full of joie de vivre."