NEW BEATLES MOVIE & DAVID STARK'S FAB 4 FILM STORIES
8 Days A Week poster
David Stark with George Harrison
at the Yellow Submarine premiere 1968
The Beatles et al just moments before David took his seat next to Keith Richards
LONDON, September 2016: THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK - THE TOURING YEARS, the new documentary from director Ron Howard, opens at cinemas worldwide from September 15th before being released on DVD and Blu-Ray in November. The movie examines how the Beatles came together, through to their early years playing hundreds of gigs in Hamburg and the UK, to their four frantic years of touring worldwide and the pressures which caused them to quit the road in 1966. The film also feature new interviews with Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr, and is produced by Apple, Imagine Entertainment & White Horse Pictures with the full cooperation of McCartney, Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.
Lots of rare Beatles concert footage has been discovered and upgraded for use in the film, including home movie contributions from fans and other sources. To coincide with the release, The Beatles At Hollywood Bowl album from 1977 is being re-issued with improved sound overseen by Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer Sir George Martin who died earlier this year. Martin has also re-worked the sound for The Beatles at Shea Stadium concert film from 1965 which accompanies Eight Days A Week in movie theatres.
Ron Howard's eagerly-awaited movie will be the first Beatles film in 46 years to have a full London premiere since 'Let It Be' opened in May 1970. On that occasion none of the Fab Four were present as they'd just split up, but SongLink editor David Stark was in the audience, having been invited by Apple even though he was still at school. He was also at the 'Yellow Submarine' premiere two years earlier in July 1968, not exactly as an invited guest as he famously gate-crashed the event and ending up sitting directly behind all the Beatles, as he describes below.
"It's a long story but I managed to bluff my way into the Yellow Submarine premiere after spending three hours on the roof of the cinema," recalls David. "I was there with a school-pal merely to witness what turned out to be the UK's last-ever major Beatlemania event with over 100,000 fans crowding Piccadilly Circus in front of the London Pavilion cinema. During the afternoon we noticed a door open which led to a lift which took us up to the roof, where a few other people had also gathered. We then spent some time watching the crowds gathering below until the stars started arriving in their limos around 7pm, when my pal and I managed to get down into the circle as guests were taking their seats.
"Despite being challenged by an usherette and then the cinema manager, we were allowed to stay thanks to the unknowing help of the Beatles' music publisher Dick James, who ironically was to be my first boss in the music business 6 years later. I'd never met him before but began chatting with him in the bar, to which the cinema manager said 'I can see you know people here' and let us stay even though we had no tickets or seats. So we were just standing at the back of the circle when suddenly the place went crazy as all the Beatles and their partners walked in with all the paparazzi flashing away. As they sat down at the from of the circle and the photographers left, I saw two seats on the aisle directly behind Paul & John. In the third seat along was Keith Richards who, when I asked whether the seats were free, answered 'yeah, actually they're Mick & Marianne's seats but they're away in New York so you're ok there mate!'
"It was an incredible experience watching the ground-breaking visuals of Yellow Submarine while sitting directly behind the Beatles and also watching their reactions, I couldn't quite believe it. It was also amazing to hear all the new songs in the film for the very first time, such as 'Hey Bulldog' and 'Only A Northern Song', and in fact at a couple of points I leant over to Paul and said how much I liked them. When the movie finished the Fab Four became completely stuck and couldn't move for some time, so I was just chatting to them for a few minutes, while you can also see me in photos standing next to George in the foyer. A brief clip of George and Patti walking past me was also used in Martin Scorsese's documentary 'Living In The Material World'.
The story of how David came to be invited to the Let It Be premiere is also intriguing: "In late '68, through the Beatles Monthly fan magazine, I won tickets to a Beatles live TV show which they were planning at the time but which never happened. Instead of playing the Roundhouse or a Roman amphitheatre in Tunisia which had also been mooted, they ended up playing their last-ever live performance on the roof of Apple on 30th January 1969. Sadly I wasn't there as I was at school that day, but I did later receive a letter of apology from Apple signed by Ringo along with notification of my consolation prize, an advance copy of 'Abbey Road'. Then some months later in early 1970 I received an invite to the 'Let It Be' premiere in May 1970, which I was pleased to attend despite the lack of any Beatles present. And I still have the invite!
"So now I look forward to seeing Eight Days A Week as a great reminder of what Beatlemania was all about, as well as being an important cinematic tribute to the greatest band of all time. Luckily I did actually get to see them play live on just one occasion, at their Christmas Show at Hammersmith Odeon in January 1965. I can't remember too much about it except that it was totally fantastic to see them playing on stage but almost impossible to hear them as the screaming was so loud - but that's what they had to go through back then, eight days a week!
David still has close links with Paul McCartney who made him a 'Companion of LIPA' in 2006, while some of his other Beatle connections can be browsed below.
The Beatles - Eight Days A Week
David's Beatle connections...