By John M. Borack
Beatles Stories: A Fab Four Fan’s Ultimate Road Trip
“Beatles Stories” is an enjoyable little film that is comprised of dozens of interesting, humorous and often touching interview vignettes with various fans and associates about their memories of the Fab Four.
Produced, directed and narrated by Seth Swirsky (who, aside from being a self-professed Beatle nut, is also a singer, songwriter, author and noted baseball memorabilia collector), it brings together both the famous and the not-so-famous to share their stories — everyone from Sir Ben Kingsley to one of the diehard fans known as the “Apple Scruffs” (a sweet little story about George Harrison) is represented.
There are some often-told tales recounted here (Brian Wilson mentioning how hearing “Rubber Soul” inspired him to create “Pet Sounds,” for example), but there are also quite a few pearls. Rod Davis of The Quarrymen discusses how he missed the moment John Lennon first met Paul McCartney at the Woolton Village Fete in July 1957 by saying, “The greatest moment in rock and roll history, and Rod Davis goes for a pee.” The story of how Lennon served as a one-time meteorologist for a news station in Philadelphia during the 1970s is also pretty amusing.
In between, interview subjects both obvious (Graham Nash, Peter Noone, Justin Hayward) and more obscure (baseball’s Bernie Williams, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay) shed light on their love of The Beatles.
From a technical standpoint, the film is merely average; some shaky camera work (a tripod would have been helpful in many cases), a few questionable edits and a camera that looks like it was sometimes set on auto-focus are issues, but it really doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of hearing gems such as this, from former Capitol Records President Alan Livingston: “I thought [Paul] was the most talented. George had no particular strength or appearance, although he was talented, and of course, the drummer was just a drummer …and John was always strange. I never quite understood him.”
The DVD includes more than a dozen additional interviews as bonus material (Dave Edmunds’ tale of how he and George Harrison spent some time trying on old Beatles outfits is a hoot), as well as commentary from Swirsky and a brief feature on the late Norman “Hurricane” Smith, longtime Beatles recording engineer.
During his interview segment, Graham Gouldman of 10cc sums up the feeling of many Beatles’ fans: “They represented everything that was great about music and being alive.” Available via www.beatlesstories.com.