Fifty years since The Beatles ruled the world with their deafening global tours and fan hysteria, Beatlemania finally returned to London Thursday night. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr welcomed their screaming fans in Leicester Square, for the world premiere of Ron Howard‘s documentary “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years.”
Missed, but not remotely forgotten, the loved and lost George Harrison and John Lennon were represented by Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, both widows having given access to cherished memories and archive footage for the project.
Howard reminisced on the film’s vast collaboration, “With our group working together, it wasn’t always entirely pleasant, but it was always important to us to get at this story,” he said.
The premiere’s guests trafficked along a faux Abbey Road, crossing over its famous zebra crossing, as fans lined the sides of the vibrant blue carpet. The Beatles fest united the elite of fashion, film and music for the evening — mop top fans in tow including director Peter Jackson, Madonna and McCartney’s fashionista offspring, Stella McCartney.
Using archive footage from far and wide, producer Nigel Sinclair told of the huge undertaking, “It was massive. We asked to public to send in clips in 2014 and were overwhelmed. In the film we have 2,000 clips and photos, 250 music cues and we interviewed 100 people,” he explained.
Within the Odeon’s grand screening room, the cast and crew came to stage. McCartney crooning “She Loves You” to the audience, to introduce his words, “I want to thank Ringo, John and George!“ Concluding, “It was a great ride, you know. It still is. We were just four kids from Liverpool, who loved each other and we made decent music, and we had a great time doing it, so… great little band!”
Starr thanked the film’s music producer, Giles Martin, explaining, “It’s really the first time we’ve really heard it, because of the screams – it was part of the gig. You saw The Beatles and you just screamed. He’s lowered the screams a bit, so now you can hear us.”
“I want to hear the screams!” joked McCartney, to which the guests obliged. “Just a reminder!” he quipped, walking off stage, ready for the titles to roll.