Last night I had the privilege of attending the premiere, in Liverpool, of Ron Howard’s film on the Beatles, Eight Days a Week: the Touring Years. The ‘privilege’ arose because I helped produce a report , commissioned by Liverpool City Council, on the economic value of the Beatles to the Liverpool economy. One of the recommendations made in the report was that a group be formed to “curate and develop Beatles heritage in the city”. As a member of that Beatles Legacy Group, I was invited to the premiere, but the true privilege was being exposed to Howard’s telling of the Beatles’ story.
What Ron Howard achieves in his film is the humanization of the Beatles, with the effect of dramatizing the extraordinary scale of their success. This film is not what it could have been, one more contribution to a mountainous and uncritical hagiography It shows the Beatles as four talented musicians who helped create a social and cultural tornado centred on themselves. This tornado travelled with them, and gained force and power, wherever they went until, effectively, it tore them apart.
Click here to read the rest of this viewpoint from Mike Jones, which features on the University of Liverpool website.