In 1976 was released a (weird) film and album that featured Beatles covers by various rock stars against a background of World War II images.
Now that film has been given a new life, completely revised and re-edited by its director, Tony Palmer, a pioneer of rock on film who has worked The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher and Frank Zappa (sources Dailybeatles and Bestclassicband)
The Beatles and World War II – formerly titled All This and World War II –features Beatles covers by many famed classic rock and pop artists, including The Bee Gees, Four Seasons, Elton John, Tina Turner, Peter Gabriel, Helen Reddy and Frankie Valli singing their versions of Beatles songs against documentary news footage of the Second World War.
Yes, sounds odd, but read on….
“The old 1976 film was the strangest mix of cinema and rock’n’roll, combining World War II images (newsreels and Hollywood films made at that time) with the music of The Beatles (not The Beatles original recordings, but cover versions by various artists),” writes Ronnie Dannelley of Ear Candy magazine. “The end result was disastrous. The original distributor junked the film so completely that no copies survived, and the film took on its iconic status.”
Now it’s being readied for an official DVD release and with a new title, “The Beatles World War II”. The new edit by Tony Palmer means it’s not quite the same film – as great chunks of it is re-edited, but he has used much of the same material, and of course many of the same songs.
This is the new song tracklist:
1. Greensleeves – arr. Vaughan Williams – 2:00
2. The Fool on the Hill – Helen Reddy – 3:37
3. Yesterday – David Essex – 2:44
4. The Long and Winding Road” – Leo Sayer – 4:47
5. I Am the Walrus – Leo Sayer – 3:49
6. Come Together – Tina Turner – 4:08
7. Shostakovich 11th Symphony – 3:00
8. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – Frankie Laine – 3:27
9. She’s Leaving Home – Bryan Ferry – 3:07
10. Let It Be – Leo Sayer – 3:43
11. Getting Better – Status Quo – 2:19
12. Help! – Henry Gross – 3:07
13. Nowhere Man – Jeff Lynne – 3:56
14. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – Elton John – 6:15
15. With a Little Help from My Friends – Jeff Lynne – 3:00
16. Strawberry Fields Forever – Peter Gabriel – 2:30
17. Get Back – Rod Stewart – 4:24
18. A Day in the Life – Frankie Valli – 4:04
19. Shostakovich 11th Symphony – 3:00
20. Michelle – Richard Cocciante – 4:00
21. The Long and Winding Road” – Leo Sayer – 4:47
22. When I’m Sixty-Four – Keith Moon – 2:36
23. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight – The Bee Gees – 3:17
24. Hey Jude – The Brothers Johnson – 4:58
25. Shostakovich 4th Symphony – 4:00
26. Fool on the Hill – John Williams – 3:00
The original intention of the filmmakers was to use actual Beatles music in the film. The dec
ision to use other artists covering Beatles music was made by the film’s producers after they realised additional money could be made through a soundtrack album. The decision was a sound one, as the soundtrack actually generated more revenue than the film. The vinyl (and cassette) soundtrack album was released in November 1976, and as a limited CD release in 2007. It was re-released on CD last year, still as a limited edition release.
Palmer – who also directed Zappa’s notorious 200 Motels, offers some insights on the new production. “Although the original 1976 film had disappeared, thanks to the indifference and stupidity of the original distributor, instinctively I felt the central idea, and the material, and of course the music, were just too good to be lost forever. So for those fans who have had to rely on a few very poor quality extracts on YouTube, the 2016 film is a completely new experience, much of it in HD.”