Friday, 30 July 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 69 (Top Five): 'Other' British Invasion DVDS we'd like to see

♫ We mentioned last week that the first ‘proper’ Small Faces DVD had finally been released by production company ‘Reelin’ In The Years’  as part of their ‘British Invasion’ series. Well, given that there seems to be no mention of when the second batch is coming out (the other early releases include non-AAA bands Gerry and the Pacemakers, Dusty Springfield and Herman’s Hermits), we thought we’d do their work for them and look at what other fascinating 60s footage there is for other AAA groups:

1)   The Beatles: Alas Apple don’t like giving away their copyrights so don’t expect a Beatles set anytime soon. But if anyone was to get the rights what a cornucopia of great early footgae they’d have access to: the whole of the under-rated (if short) ‘Around The Beatles’ set including performances of all the 1962/63 singles and the curio one-performance-only ‘Shout!’; various Ready Steady Go!s (if someone was very nice to Dave Clark who bought up all the rights to this show...) including the fascinating footage of Paul telling us he sleeps with his eyes open and giving an award to the Peggy Lee-dancing girl who will later become the inspiration for ‘She’s Leaving Home’ (not that either of them knew it at the time), not to mention a fair few TOTPs and promo films (for Ticket To Ride, Paperback Writer, Rain and more), the David Frost TV version of ‘Hey Jude!’ and a cracking lot of newsreels which presumably are out of copyright (and have filled up many padded-out Beatles DVDs down the years), not to mention the odd European TV footage. Alas we’ll probably never get to see the fab four on ‘Juke Box Jury’, but there’s still plenty of room for a decent set here even without replicating the footage used in the ‘Anthology’ series.

2)   The Rolling Stones: There’s a similarly varied selection for The Stones. ‘It’s All Over Now’ ‘Get Off My Cloud’ ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ and ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ are all regularly seen on TOTP2s, there’s great footage of the band playing a live version of ‘satisfaction’ and miming to Sonny and Cher’s ‘I Got You Babe’ from Ready Steady Go! plus various other newsreel and European performances from around Europe (although strangely the band never seemed to play for the most famous – and most complete – TV programme, Germany’s Beat! Beat! Beat!) which would make for another nice set.

3)   The Hollies: There is a Hollies DVD out at present – ‘The Graham Nash Years’, but its an unofficial, poor-quality and repetitive set featuring no less than 4 versions of ‘Look Through Any Window’ in its hour. Goodness knows why because I know of a full 3 hours of footage over and above this set that exists and I bet there’s a lot more I don’t know about. Germany, a country far keener on holding onto their archives than the BBC and ITV, always liked The Hollies and there’s plenty of ‘Beat! Beat! Beat!’ and ‘Beat Club’ performances to draw from, spanning 1963 to Terry Sylvester’s first appearances with the band in 1969, not to mention two full 1980 and 1990s docs on the band which have never been screened in the UK. Add in a RSGo performance of ‘Here I Go Again’, many many many TOTPops (including a live version of ‘The Day That Crazy Billy...’ which is better than the record) and various promos that haven’t been seen for years (‘Dear Eloise’ filmed in the Abbey Road car park and a pioneering five-face version of ‘Do The Best You Can’) and you’d have one of the best music DVDs ever made.

4)   The Kinks: There’s just as much footage for The Kinks, although unusually this material has been largely released noawadays. Thew problem is, its spread across a lot of very cheap sets featuring linking material by Dave Davies at the height of his illness and aren’t exactly made for easy viewing (great promos from the 60s and 70s although no sign of the infamous one for ‘Dead End Street’ alas, plus performances from Shindig in the 60s, TOTP in the 80s and extracts from a full half hour TV special in 1978). Add this together with new footage (the unscreened ‘A Soap Opera’ TV special which is stupendous and well overdue for release, a 1981 concert screened in Germany, extracts from the TV show ‘At The 11th Hour’ for which Ray Davies wrote nine exclusive songs of which only two have been officially released, Ray’s theme song for the ‘Ballad Of The Virgin Soldiers’ film, various Beat Club and Beat Beat Beat shows which The Kinks kept appearing on long after most 60s bands had stopped plus various TOTPs that are forever being repeated on TOTP2 and an early bluesy performance on Beat Room the week You Really Got Me first made #1) and you’d have another DVD right up there with the very best ever made.

5)   The Who: Another plethora of unreleased treasures that still get shown on TV sometimes but have never yet been gathered together. There’s a whole nest of footage that still hasn’t been put onto DVD yet, despite there being two very very good DVDs available (the 1979 documentary film ‘The Kids Are Alright’ and the 1994 ’30 Years Of maximum R and B’). These include an explosive early version of ‘My Generation’ and the unreleased ‘Shout and Shimmy’ from Ready Steady Go, TOTP versions of ‘Substitute’ ,‘I Can’t Explain’ and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, ‘Pinball Wizard’ as featured on the Tom Jones Show in 1969, ‘Relay’ – a rare track plugged on the Old Grey Whistle Test and the band’s complete four song set from the Kampuchea benefit concerts (of which only one features in the ‘maximum r and b’ documentary). Add to that a few more Beat Beat Beat and Beat Club performances and the way is paved for a third excellent set of Who madness on DVD. 

Goodbye for another week but, just before we go, time for an in-joke: ‘the aliens are fighting for control of the Concourse!’ (They can have it if you ask me!) happy rocking and see you next week!

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