Howard’s new film captures the sweat, screams and cultural significance of the band’s touring years.
He explains why the Fab Four still fascinates him.
The story of the Beatles is like the story of Watergate or the second world war – the civil rights movement or Vietnam: it contains a million smaller stories – a million witnesses – a million angles of approach.
Ron Howard’s documentary Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years extrudes yet another narrative fragment from the Fabs’ fable and makes it a story all of its own.
It concerns the four years the group spent touring first Britain and Germany – then the US and the world; years that made them and also broke them.
Eight Days A Week strips away layers of myth to give us back the Beatles who made the whole world scream.
It also strips away the screaming, too – that wall of sexualised hysteria that was the signature soundtrack to Beatlemania – and permits us to hear what most Beatles audiences of the time barely could: the music itself.
In addition it puts us inside the bubble of their skyrocketing fame – an experience that these four men alone shared and which only they fully understood.
To hear the Beatles live again is to remember the strength of their musical togetherness – the years of practice friendship and collaboration that underpinned them.
Eight Days a Week also reminds us that from within that constricted hotel suite-bound – waited-on-hand-and-foot lifestyle – emerged the phenomenal nine-hour monolith of their recorded output – which artists and musicians are still facing down today.