Act naturally, indeed. The new deluxe 1+ DVD/Blu-ray collection is a treasure of Beatle footage from every phase of their career — promo videos, TV appearances, Abbey Road studio footage, a few drastically restored favorites already familiar from Anthology, loads of little-seen gems — and all of it revelatory for fans. A handful of clips get new commentary from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, who really didn’t like having to ride a horse for the “Penny Lane” video. Here are just 10 of the fabbest moments.
“She Loves You” (1963)
The lads in Sweden, performing “She Loves You” on Stockholm TV for the show Drop In, with Beatlemania in full flower all over Europe in October 1963. (The U.K. press had only started using the word “Beatlemania” a few days earlier.) The confidence level is surging — you can see that they have their eyes fixed on the toppermost of the poppermost.
“Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964)
A live performance from the BBC special Around The Beatles — John and Paul jump into the cold-open vocal intro, a little ragged but caught up in the electric excitement of being Beatles, playing in the round, surrounded by dazed-looking kids. This was the same TV special where they acted out a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream with John and Paul as the star-crossed lovers Pyramus and Thisbe.
“I Feel Fine” (1965)
The Beatles trooped into Twickenham Film Studios on November 23rd to grind out a few quickie promo videos — 10 in all. They took a lunch break for this version of “I Feel Fine” — instead of miming with their guitars, they munch fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, with John and Ringo sitting on the floor. But it got shelved because Brian Epstein nixed the footage — he was horrified at the idea of the world seeing the boys eating with greasy fingers. 1+ includes another surreal version of “I Feel Fine” filmed the same day, where Ringo is riding an exercise bicycle.
“We Can Work It Out” (1965)
Another gem from the November 23rd Twickenham marathon session. John and Paul do their sweet-and-sour harmonies, with John sitting down at the organ. At first, they’re playing it all straight in their suits, until John sets out to make Paul crack up on camera. He makes it impossible for anyone else to keep a straight face — by the end, he’s playing the organ with his feet.
There are two clips included here for “Rain,” the guitar drone with Ringo’s most brilliantly demented drumming. The first was done at Abbey Road, with John valiantly attempting to lip-synch the backwards-guitar solo. The next day, they filmed an even better version: the Beatles in the garden of Chiswick House in West London, their faces blank and impassive, giving nothing away as the brash new guitar noises swirl around them.