Time to add another LP to the playlist for the afterlife. This one is unique.
In 1964, Bob Eubanks essentially mortgaged his house to book the Hollywood Bowl for a Beatles concert. And, surprisingly enough, it paid off. The place was packed. And in 1965, he put in for another Beatles concert, and it too filled the Hollywood Bowl to capacity.
Meanwhile, Capitol Records wanted to get one of the concerts recorded – first a concert in New York City (which efforts were thwarted by the American Federation of Musicians), and then the concerts in Los Angeles (where Capitol had its main offices). Unfortunately, Capitol felt that the concert recordings were not up to standards, and the master tapes languished in a vault for over a decade.
It’s now 1976, and George Martin – the legendary producer for the Beatles – was asked if he could do something with the tapes. He transferred the three-track tapes to a 16-track machine, and created a 30-minute concert album with the best parts from the 1964 and 1965 concerts (including splicing two performances of “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” together as one seamless product).
And listen to the crowd! They’re going nuts!
Also, these recordings are a perfect way to hear the Beatles as they perform their earliest hits – as well as the remakes of other artists’ work that populated their early careers.
I originally had this LP – well, back in the day I had the 8-track, so yeah some of the songs faded out in mid-performance – then you’d hear the 8-track “click” to the next track – and then the performance would commence. And this was on what was at the time a 30-minute concert. Back then, I didn’t realize that this recording was soldered together from three different performances spread over two years – I did realize, however, that this was being released in an effort to keep new product available for Beatles fans in America. The 1970’s previously had the two Beatles’ greatest hits albums (the 2-LP red set and the 2-LP blue set), as well as the “Rock and Roll Music” LP (a compilation of the Beatles’ non-ballad songs), and eventually we’d get the Beatles “Love Songs” LP, a “Rarities” LP (which I kinda liked as well), a Beatles’ movie soundtrack compilation LP, a compilation of the Beatles’ fan club recordings, reissues of the UK versions of the LP’s, reissues of the monaural versions of the American LP’s, recordings from the Beatles’ radio performances on the BBC, the Beatles’ “Anthology” series, a “Let it Be” LP that had all of Phil Spector’s production credits wiped away … yeah.
But at the same time, “The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl” is a unique creature. It’s one of the only times where their live concerts were featured on a major label official release. Previous Beatles concert recordings were relegated to bootleg LP’s from questionable production companies, and the sound quality of those recordings ranged from adequate to putrid. And to their effort, Sir George Martin turned these 12-year-old recordings into a serviceable – and quite enjoyable – album in itself.
Okay, so I’m putting “The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl” in the coffin with the rest of the LP’s, CD’s and other recorded materials. I’d better contact the funeral home … I may need to acquire an additional casket for more storage space.