Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl LP

1977 was a very cool year for fans of the Beatles' live performance. Two commercial LP releases of live performances came out that year. One was from the pre-fame era while one consisted of full blown "Beatlemania".

The first LP to be released by EMI/Capitol was the international release entitled "The Beatles At the Hollywood Bowl". The LP was released in North American on May 04 1977 with the catalogue number Capitol SMAS-11638. It was released in the UK two days later on May 06 1977 with the catalogue number Parlophone EMTV 4. The "TV" in the prefix designated the heavy use of television advertising in Britain for this album.

All material on this LP were recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl venue in the city of Los Angeles during the Beatles' tours of 1964 and 1965.

The first concert recorded was performed on August 23 1964 with an audience of mostly screaming young girls and the attendance figure of 17,250. The performance was recorded on three-track tape with Hugh Davies as recording engineer and Voyle Gilmore acting as producer. The entire show was taped and the original idea was to release the show as a live album back in the 1960s. Four days later back at the Capitol Studios in LA, stereo mixes were prepared and the gap between the Beatles' introduction and the first song was edited as well as some dialogue of Paul introducing Ringo for his spotlight on the song "Boys". The mono mix was simply the three track stereo mix folded down. Capitol acetates were made at this point. the acetates were mono and these acetates were probably used as templates for the mound of vinyl bootlegs releases of the 1964 Hollywood Bowl live performance issued in the early 1970s on vinyl.

George Martin and Beatles were dissatisfied with the result and a planned live LP to be released during the 1960s was abandoned. The first 45 seconds of the live "Twist and Shout" performance from the 1964 Hollywood Bowl concert was released as part of the 2-LP Capitol North American release "The Beatles Story" in mono (Capitol TBO-2222) and in stereo (Capitol STBO-2222).

Six songs from the 1964 Hollywood Bowl show are featured on the 1977 "The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl" LP: "All My Loving", "She Loves You", "Things We Said Today", "Roll Over Beethoven", "Boys" and "Long Tall Sally".

The second and third concerts were recorded by Capitol records once again at the same location (Hollywood Bowl) on August 29 and 30 1965. The performances were once again recorded on the three-track mobile with Pete Abbott being the recording engineer this time. Voyle Gilmore was once again producer. There is no indication of any mixing or editing of these 1965 concert tapes until much later on. In 1966, second generation copies of the two 1965 concert master tapes were shipped to EMI Studios in London and the performance of "Twist And Shout" was used on the television special "The Beatles At Shea Stadium" dubbed over the Shea performance to enhance the performance in the post-production. There were also audience noise ( note: screaming) overdubbed onto the Shea television special from the 1965 Hollywood Bowl concert tapes.

More stereo mixes of the 1964 complete Hollywood Bowl concert were prepared on September 30 1966. The concert was still not released at this point (probably due to the fact that the Beatles were now advanced leaps and bounds in the recording of their new material that the earlier songs/concerts were of less interest to them). The three track master tapes and the current stereo mixes were all sent to EMI Studios for storage in 1969. Two years later in 1971, the original master tapes for both 1965 Hollywood Bowl live performances were finally sent to EMI studios for storage.

Fast forward to 1976: EMI and Capitol now gain creative control over the Beatles' material as the recording contract expires. A stereo acetate was prepared using the August 30 1965 concert performance in it's entierty with 6 songs on each side. This developed into a 2-LP set with the same line up as above and the addition of eight songs from the 1964 August 23 performance. Once again both line ups were scrapped.

Then president of Capitol Records Bhaskar Menon had asked George Martin to work on the tapes. George Martin agreed and the project along with the master tapes were taken to Air Studios in London on January 18 1977. The recording engineer was Geoff Emerick and the song line up/ editing/ equilization was completed on January 23 1977. It took one week.

The eight songs appearing on the 1977 LP from the 1965 shows are the following: "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" (an edit of the August 29 and August 30 1965 performances), "Ticket To Ride" (August 29), "Help!" (August 29), "Twist And Shout" (August 30), "She's A Woman" (August 30), "Can't Buy Me Love" (August 30), "Baby's In Black" (August 30), "A Hard Day's Night" (August 30).The LP's back cover states that all of the songs above were from the August 30th show, although aural evidence states overwise.

The front cover has a small photo in black and white of the Beatles on stage at the venue with two mock tickets in green and blue. The mock ticket in green is for the August 23 1964 show and the mock ticket in blue is for the Augusts 29 1965 show. The original genuine tickets did not feature a photo of the Beatles but these mock tickets do. The North American version of the LP has the tickets embossed on the front but the UK version does not. The North American version has the Capitol logo on the bottom center of the front cover.

The back cover features liner notes and the track listing as well as a fully torn ticket on the UK version and an embossed folded but not as torn as the UK ticket on the North American version.

The inner gatefold cover features memorabilia such as the 1964 and 1965 concert programmes, some Beatles badges, a Beatles serving tray, a Beatles "Beatles VI" play tape, a couple of Beatles pennants, and a large black and white photo of the Beatles performing on the Hollywood Bowl stage and a few of the audience member's heads ( on girl turning around to look back). Both inner gatefolds are the same for the North American and the UK versions.

The paper inner sleeves are different: The UK version contains the Beatles current catalogue with photos of all of their UK LP covers from "Please Please Me" to "Rock 'N' Roll Music" while the North American version features black and white photos of audience members screaming, standing and generally having a blast and facsimilies of the Beatles' autographs accompany the photos. This LP also has custom labels. The UK version had the track listing in black and white on one side and a photo of the Beatles on stage in black and white on the other side. The North American version also has custom labels with side one having a partial torn blue ticket of the August 29 1965 show and the track listing on a tan background and side two having a partial torn green ticket of the August 23 1964 show and the track listing once again on a tan back ground.

This LP has never been commercially released on compact disc and is still (as of this writing) only available on it's vinyl counterpart. This title is one of the most recommended re-issue of Beatles material not yet released on compact disc by a lot of Beatles' fans.

I also highly recommend you seek out the complete Hollywood Bowl concerts available as a 2-CD released on "Midnight Beat". You get a nice box and booklet and it's sounds terrific !!


  1. Do you know (or did anyone reading this) anyone who attended either of the Hollywood Bowl concerts?

    1. I was there with my sister and cousin, don't remember which one, but KRLA published a photo in the LATimes, I think, on the 10, 15, 20 or something anniversary of the concert that showed me and my cousin. I am desperately looking for a copy of this

    2. I have just recently acquired the original authentic BEATLES AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL very early acetate from 7/14/76 on Sterling Sounds Inc. label. This is the one with only 12 songs on the LP.