Friday, March 25, 2011


Backbeat is a 1994 film that chronicles the early days of The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany. The film focuses primarily on the relationship between Stuart Sutcliffe (played by Stephen Dorff) and John Lennon (played by Ian Hart), and also with Sutcliffe's German girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr (played by Sheryl Lee). It has subsequently been made into a stage production, debuting at Glasgow's Citizens Theatre in 2010.


The film is based on interviews conducted by the writer/director Iain Softley with Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann in the spring of 1988.

The soundtrack to the movie includes no songs written by members of the Beatles, but various songs the group performed in Hamburg, written and recorded by other artists.

Rather than re-create the period sounds, iconoclastic, rebellious musicians were recruited (as a producer noted, The Beatles' pre-recording stage act was "the punk of its day"). This was done to better convey the way the music came across to the audience, at the time. The musicians were all members of well-known American rock bands:

* Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum): vocals
* Greg Dulli (The Afghan Whigs): vocals
* Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth): guitar
* Don Fleming (Gumball): guitar
* Mike Mills (R.E.M.): bass guitar
* Dave Grohl (Nirvana): drums

The original recording of "My Bonnie," performed by Tony Sheridan with the Beatles as a backing group was used in the film, the only use of a real Beatles performance.

Additionally, the film's distributor, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, was then under common ownership with the label which owned the rights to release and distribute the Beatles' music from the Hamburg days, Polydor Records.

Main cast
Actor Role
Stephen Dorff Stuart Sutcliffe
Sheryl Lee Astrid Kirchherr
Ian Hart John Lennon
Gary Bakewell Paul McCartney
Chris O'Neill George Harrison
Paul Duckworth Ringo Starr
Scot Williams Pete Best
Kai Wiesinger Klaus Voormann
Jennifer Ehle Cynthia Powell
Wolf Kahler Bert Kaempfert
James Doherty Tony Sheridan

Hart also played Lennon in the film The Hours and Times. Bakewell later reprised his role as McCartney in the television film The Linda McCartney Story, as Williams again played Best in the television movie In His Life: The John Lennon Story.


Paul McCartney was not impressed with the movie, stating:

"One of my annoyances about the film Backbeat is that they've actually taken my rock 'n' rollness off me. They give John the song 'Long Tall Sally' to sing and he never sang it in his life. But now it's set in cement. It's like the Buddy Holly and Glenn Miller stories. The Buddy Holly Story does not even mention Norman Petty, and The Glenn Miller Story is a sugarcoated version of his life. Now Backbeat has done the same thing to the story of The Beatles."

Backbeat at the Citizens' Theatre

Re-imagined for the stage by the original writer and director of the 1994 film, Iain Softley, Backbeat premiered at Glasgow's Citizens Theatre on 9 February 2010 featuring a live band.


Actor Role
Alex Robertson Stuart Sutcliffe
Isabella Calthorpe Astrid Kirchherr
Andrew Knott John Lennon
Daniel Healy Paul McCartney
Jamie Blackley George Harrison
Oliver Bennett Pete Best
Justin McDonald Klaus Voormann
Kate Hodgson Cynthia Lennon
Paddy Lannigan Bruno Koschmeider
Robert Reina Bert Kaempfert
Charles Swift Tony Sheridan


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Getting Better" (Vocals, Drums, and Bass Mix)

Featuring video from Beatles Rock Band.