There’s a sweet new HD Beatles VEVO channel that I wanted to call your attention to, dear readers. Utilizing clips taken from the spiffy-looking new 1+ Blu-ray box set, the channel has been uploading these sharp HD music videos for a while now and they’re adding new ones all the time (there’s a lot to work from, the deluxe 1+ BD set has over 50 lovingly restored Beatles promo films).
Embedded below is the famous performance of “Hey Jude” that was broadcast on Frost, the talk/variety show hosted by David Frost in Great Britain on September 8, 1968, and on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the US a month later, on October 6. (Apparently there was also a version shot with Cliff Richard introducing them.)
TV’s Ready, Steady,Go! director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who would go on to direct Let It Be (and had already produced other film promos for the Fabs, such as the ones for “Rain” and “Paperback Writer”) helmed the production. Paul McCartney designed the set for the shoot, with a two-tiered riser for the orchestra, which took place at Twickenham Film Studios on September 4. It’s worth mentioning that Ringo Starr had actually announced that he’d quit the Beatles just two weeks earlier due to a dust-up with Macca, who’d criticized his drumming on “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
They shot twelve takes, but after that McCartney announced “I think that’s enough.”
This is how it looked for most people back in the day. Probably sounded B&W, too! We moderns can now watch The Beatles in HD on bigass flatscreens in 5.1 surround sound.
As you are watching, try to imagine what it was like to hear this for the first time, and also bear in mind that the Beatles had only just released the astonishing Yellow Submarine film a few months prior to this! “Hey Jude” topped the charts in Britain for two weeks and for nine in America, where it became The Beatles’ longest-running #1 single in the US. Without further ado, here it is, “Hey Jude” as it was more or less experienced in its premiere airing. Of course it can now seen in far, far better quality than you’d ever have been able to see it in during those original television broadcasts, back when most people in Britain and America would have been watching it on low resolution B&W TV sets. (The Beatles themselves wouldn’t have even been able to see it in this kind of quality back then either).
Here’s an HD clip from Let It Be (which has never been released properly for the home video market, but looks to be soon enough) of Lennon’s vulnerable entreaty asking Yoko Ono “Don’t Let Me Down”)
Michael Lindsay-Hogg discusses directing the promo film for “Revolution.”
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Here we come in high definition…’: See The Monkees as you have never seen them before