Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Beatles - Turn Left at Greenland: The Beatles in America

Label: DarthDisc, DD DVD 8-10

DVD 1+2: 7-21 February 1964


01) Intro

7 February
02) Beatles Off To America - London (Pathé Newsreel)
03) Leaving Heathrow Airport, London
04) Beatles Hit New York (Movietone Newsreel fragment)
05) Arrival at Kennedy Airport
06) Arrival & Press Conference (ABC/Capitol Records)
07) Press Conference
08) Fans at Kennedy Airport
09) Girls at Kennedy Airport Sing From Me To You (AP)
10) More Fans at Kennedy Airport
11) Even More Fans at Kennedy Airport
12) Beatles Conquer America - Kennedy Airport (Pathé Newsreel)
13) Fans at the Plaza Hotel
14) Even More Fans at the Plaza Hotel
15) Girls at the Plaza Hotel, Interview 1 (CBS)
16) Girls at the Plaza Hotel, Interview 2 (CBS)
17) Beatles at the Plaza Hotel
18) Fans
19) Fans, Beatles
20) Merchandising - SELTAEB/Woolworth's

8 February
21) Central Park
22) Beatlemania Grips Gotham (Pathé Newsreel)
23) Das Welt Journal (German Newsreel)
24) February 7-8 Collage (BBC)

9 February
25) Exterior of Studio 50
26) White Christmas Interview

10 February
27) Plaza Hotel Interview, (CBS)
28) Gold Records Presentation
29) Plaza Hotel Interview, (AP)

11 February
30) Arrival at Union Station, Washington, DC
31) Arrival in Washington, alternate angle
32) Washington DC Interviews
33) The Beatles Triumphant Appearance in the DC! (Pop Movies Newsreel)
34) British Embassy, Washington, DC

12 February
35) Outside Carnegie Hall

18 February
36) With Cassius Clay, Miami

21 February
37) Miami Airport
38) and now a word from our sponsor

DVD TWO: The Washington Coliseum Concert & The Ed Sullivan Rehearsal (Miami)

01) Intro

11 February
Washington Coliseum Concert
02) Closed Circuit Promo
03) Intro and
04) Roll Over Beethoven
05) From Me To You
06) Intro
07) I Saw Her Standing There
08) Intro
09) This Boy
10) Intro
11) All My Loving
12) Intro
13) I Wanna Be Your Man
14) Intro
15) Please Please Me
16) Intro
17) Till There Was You
18) She Loves You
19) Intro
20) I Want To Hold Your Hand
21) Intro
22) Twist & Shout
23) Long Tall Sally (from video source)
24) From Me To You (from video source)

16 February
"Ed Sullivan Show" rehearsal: 16:02
25) She Loves You
26) This boy
27) Intro
28) All My Loving
29) Intro (Sullivan)
30) I Saw Her Standing There
31) From Me To You
32) Intro
33) I Want To Hold Your Hand
34) Outro (Sullivan)
35) A bit more sparring

36) ...and now a word from our sponsor

DVD THREE: The Triumphant Return: What's Happening!?

01) Intro

22 February
02) Das Welt Journal
03) Arrival at Heathrow
04) Welcome Home Beatles (Pathe Newsreel)
05) Arrival and Interview (ITN)
06) Interview (Granada)
07) Grandstand (BBC)
08) Interview (Swedish Television)

09) What's Happening! The Beatles in the USA (US version, 11-13-1964)

10) ...and now a word from our sponsor

Liner Notes


Some time ago, probably around the time "City of Light" was compiled, one of the Dartharchivists came up with the idea of compiling every circulating bit of audio (later the notion of including video was added) from the Beatles' first visit to America in February 1964. The idea was clearly a Winner; but facing the task of compiling it another thing. So okay, it took us about as long as Apple takes to do anything that doesn't involve a lawsuit -- but here it is, "Turn Left at Greenland," the story the Beatles found America, basically.

There's some spectacular material here. Great bits of on-the-scene reporting by newsmen working without the wisdom of hindsight, and generally either immune, puzzled or simply amused by all the madness. The man-(or more often than not, girl)-on-the-street interviews prove to less tiresome than you might imagine: they capture a fascinating, and sometimes surprising variety of reactions to the Beatles, both from fans and their elders.

The interviews with the Beatles are fantastic as well: Murray the K pretty much caught on to what they were doing in his first interview: witness his comments about getting their ad-libbing into their soon-to-be-filmed "A Hard Day's Night." And Murray's February 6 interview with Malcolm Davies, for Saturday Club, gives a measure of the Beatles' impact in the United States even before anyone had a chance to see them. The Beatles' own reactions to the madness they've caused are striking as well: it's still new to them; the weariness evident in later tours is a long way down the road. There's a bit of commercial naivete as well: included here are lots of personalized radio station promos, something Brian Epstein clamped down on before the second tour.

But surely if you've got your hands on this set, you don't need to be told why this material is important. It was the Beatles' first visit to America, undertaken when, however confident the Fab Four were, they could have no way of knowing the degree to which the country would fall at their feet. It was one small step for four men ... never mind.

Perhaps what we should explain is how the set is laid out and why we made some of the decisions we did. You may be wondering, for example: if the idea here was to present every available audio and video recording of the visit, why are the three Ed Sullivan Show performances not included on the DVDs? And why are they included on the CDs? The same goes for material from the Maysles Brothers documentaries.

Easy. In a roundabout way. We didn't want to include anything that's commercially available - that is, that you should have in your collection in its official version - in the form in which it has been released. The Ed Sullivan Show performances and the Maysles Brothers film (or at least, a new version of it) are available on commercial DVD, but not on CD, and we felt that including the material on the CDs served a purpose - it helps tell the story, and it offers the material in a handy audio form for those who, for example, want to hear it on their iPods. In the case of the Maysles material, we haven't simply presented the soundtrack: we've broken it up and put its important components into the chronological sequence. We also included, on the third DVD, "What's Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A." -- the Maysles film as it was seen in 1964, and quite different from the newly recompiled and expanded version in "The Beatles: The First US Visit" -- which, of course, you should own.

Beyond that, a few notes about the compilation. This material, audio and video, has been around for years, spread over compilations and documentaries and specials of all kinds, or just lying in the archives of AP, CBS, the BBC and other organizations, just waiting for the Darthelves to come along and do their thing. In some cases, considerable reconstructive surgery had to be done. The famous Kennedy Airport press conference, for example, has been stitched together from many sources - as of course, you'll hear, because the sound quality varies. But it's the most complete version you'll hear in a single sitting. (The video version, by contrast, leaves the sources as they were - in newsreels, for example, which we've left intact, repetitive though they sometimes are). The Brian Matthew Saturday Club interview, similarly, was stitched together from several sources (mostly, the BBC broadcast and Maysles material - much as was done in "The Beatles Anthology," which, of course, you should also own.)

The four CDs are filled to capacity, so what we left off - rather than go to a fifth disc - is material from the Beatles' arrival back in London. That material, however, is all sourced from video anyway, and is included on the third DVD. In compiling the DVDs, we tried to keep as close as we could to a one hour limit, to avoid quality loss. And it works out this way: DVD 1 includes newsreels and raw footage - some of it silent - from the first part of the group's visit, from their arrival on February 7 through their Carnegie Hall concert on Feb. 12. Okay, we don't have the Carnegie Hall concert, in either audio or video. Believe me, the Darthelves have tried everything, including sending attractive young elvettes to try to sweet talk the tape out of retired stagehands rumored to have a copy. No dice.

The second DVD brings together the best quality video we've seen of the Washington Coliseum show (augmented with the recently discovered video version of "Long Tall Sally" and a video excerpt from "From Me To You") and the Miami rehearsal for the Ed Sullivan Show. And the third DVD gives you "What's Happening!" and the return to London.

As for the source details - too much to include here. Get yourself a copy of John Winn's marvelous "Way Beyond Compare: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy, Volume 1: 1957-1965." Everything you need to know is on pp.130-160. (And you might as well get the successor volumes, "That Magical Feeling" and "Lifting Latches," while you're at it. And for another perspective on the time, it's worth getting hold of Michael Braun's "Love Me Do.")

- Neo, 2006

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