As the seemingly endless output from the cottage industry surrounding The Beatles shows no sign of slowing, we may never get to know how many biographies, memoirs and movies about the Fab Four it will take to fill the Albert Hall. Alan G Parker’s doc consists of various talking heads offering gossipy accounts of the era, interspersed with news footage of ‘the boys’ themselves responding to inane press questions or waving at adoring fans. From the ‘Bigger Than Jesus’ controversy to the closure of their Apple boutique, there’s a weary familiarity to this particular telling of a well-known tale. Unable to secure permission to use a note of Beatles’ music, it explains the ‘why’ but doesn’t touch upon the ‘how’ of what it calls the greatest album rock’n’roll ever made. As a result, it feels somewhat removed from the main event.
Brian Southall, whose Fab credentials include a role as EMI press officer, spends over 180 pages on a predictable sociocultural history parade between ’66 and ’68, while spending considerably fewer pages on the actual album it purports to celebrate. This addition to the teetering stockpile of Beatles books is gallingly thin.