The Beatles Covers Film, LP Set for Reissue

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The Beatles & WW IIOnce upon a time, 1976 to be specific, there was a film and album that featured Beatles covers by various rock stars against a background of World War II images. Now that film has been given a new life, completely revised and re-edited by its director, Tony Palmer, a pioneer of rock on film who has worked The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher and Frank Zappa. It was just announced that it will be released on CD/DVD this Friday (7/15).

The Beatles and World War II – formerly titled All This and World War II –features Beatles covers by many famed classic rock and pop artists, including The Bee Gees, Four Seasons, Elton John, Tina Turner, Peter Gabriel, Helen Reddy and Frankie Valli singing their versions of Beatles songs against documentary news footage of the Second World War.

Yes, sounds odd, but read on….

“The old 1976 film was the strangest mix of cinema and rock’n’roll, combining World War II images (newsreels and Hollywood films made at that time) with the music of The Beatles (not The Beatles original recordings, but cover versions by various artists),” writes Ronnie Dannelley of Ear Candy magazine. “The end result was disastrous. The original distributor junked the film so completely that no copies survived, and the film took on its iconic status.”

Palmer – who also directed Zappa’s notorious 200 Motels, maligned by some, loved by others – offers some insights on the new production. “Although the original 1976 film had disappeared, thanks to the indifference and stupidity of the original distributor, instinctively I felt the central idea, and the material, and of course the music, were just too good to be lost forever. So for those fans who have had to rely on a few very poor quality extracts on YouTube, the 2016 film is a completely new experience, much of it in HD.”

The tracks on the 2CD/DVD set includes “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by Elton John, “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” and “Golden Slumbers” by the Bee Gees, “Get Back” by Rod Stewart, “We Can Work It Out” by The Four Seasons and “A Day In The Life” by Frankie Valli. “Let It Be” by Leo Sayer, “With a Little Help from My Friends” by Jeff Lynne, “Strawberry Fields Forever” by Peter Gabriel, and “Hey Jude” by The Brothers Johnson are also featured among many others.

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“Yes, we have used some of the original tracks, but added a lot of new archive footage, some never seen before,” adds Palmer. “In addition, I have often used totally different music. The film starts with Vaughan Williams, and ends with Shostakovich, taking in Rachmaninoff en route and including many of the famous Second World War speeches by Roosevelt, Churchill, Montgomery, Chamberlain, Joe Kennedy and Hitler. And the film makes reference to war-torn Syria and the massive problem of immigration along the way. It is a far more complex film than the original, and I hope will give everyone pause for thought about the troubled world in which we live.”

As its sales copy says, “A unique blend of music and film like no other. Of that much we can be absolutely certain.”

You can order it from Gonzo Multimedia here.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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