The long out-of-print “The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl” album will be reissued in significantly upgraded form on Sept. 9 in conjunction with the forthcoming Ron Howard-directed documentary, “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years.”
The album, originally released in 1977 and produced by longtime Beatles producer George Martin, included recordings from the band’s three Hollywood Bowl concerts in 1964 and 1965 and was the only authorized live recording ever released by EMI and Capitol Records.
“My dad mixed it in 1977 and he never liked it,” Martin’s son, Giles Martin, told The Times recently of the latest Beatles project he’s working on since first working in tandem with his father to create the 2006 soundtrack to the Beatles-Cirque du Soleil “Love” show in Las Vegas.
“I’ve been working with new sound technology that’s allowed us to significantly improve the sound.
“Trust me,” Martin added, "it doesn’t sound like Steely Dan. It’s still the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. But I think now it really captures the energy of the band at those shows.”
In the liner notes to the original release, George Martin noted the challenge of working with what was recorded at those shows: “The chaos, I might almost say panic, that reigned at these concerts was unbelievable unless you were there. Only three-track recording was possible; The Beatles had no ‘fold back’ [stage monitor] speakers, so they could not hear what they were singing, and the eternal shriek from 17,000 healthy, young lungs made even a jet plane inaudible.”
Giles Martin said in a statement that a different set of three-track tapes showed up in recent years in the Capitol Records archives in Hollywood. “We transferred them and noticed an improvement over the tapes we’ve kept in the London archive.
“Alongside this I’d been working for some time with a team headed by technical engineer James Clarke on demix technology, the ability to remove and separate sounds from a single track. With [recording engineer] Sam Okell, I started work on remixing the Hollywood Bowl tapes. Technology has moved on since my father worked on the material all those years ago. Now there’s improved clarity, and so the immediacy and visceral excitement can be heard like never before.”
The album will be released on CD and in digital form for downloading and streaming, and an LP on 180-gram vinyl will follow on Nov. 18. It comprises 17 tracks, four of which are previously unreleased.
A new 24-page booklet, with an essay by music journalist David Fricke, will accompany the album, which will feature a new cover photo from Bob Bonis, the group’s U.S. tour manager at the time, showing them boarding a plane in Seattle on their way to Vancouver for their first concert in Canada.
Howard’s film incorporates new interviews with surviving band members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, archival footage of John Lennon and George Harrison discussing their life together on the road, as well as film footage and photos submitted by fans taken during various live performances before the Beatles retired as a touring group in 1966.
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