things we said today

At some point while living in Ohio I went record store hopping with a friend of mine. We stopped at this rather large record store that reminded me a bit of Missing Link in Indianapolis (a store I miss sorely) and I rummaged through their old R&B/Rock section. I found a couple classic records, one of which being The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. Tracking down copies of this isn't all that difficult, but they were only selling it for $3, and I think people on Amazon are trying to sell it in upwards of $100. I think I win that game.

I find that I gauge the value of bands more on their live performance than on their studio albums. And what has made me love The Beatles the way I do is how absolutely fantastic they were live, even with thousands of girls screeching at them the whole time. I can't even imagine how hard it was for them to hear each other on stage.

The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl is a compilation of two live shows at the Hollywood Bowl (surprised?) on August 23rd, 1964, and August 30th, 1965.1 It was their only official live record, which was an oddity for bands back in the 1960s. Bands of the time typically released quite a few live albums, but the screaming girls made live recordings a bit difficult to engineer.
Frankly, I was not in favor of taping their performance. I knew the quality of recording could not equal what we could do in the studio, but we thought we would try anyhow. Technically, the results were disappointing; the conditions for the engineers were arduous in the extreme. The chaos, I might say panic, that reigned at these concerts was unbelievable unless you were there. Only three track recording was possible; The Beatles had no "fold back" speakers,2 so they could not hear what they were singing, and the eternal shriek from 17,000 healthy, young lungs made even a jet plane inaudible.
-- George Martin, 1977

Martin went on to say, though, that the recordings Capitol Records made of these two Hollywood Bowl shows were something special. They captured the energy of the crowd and how The Beatles responded and fed off of it. The banter of the boys between songs is pretty entertaining, especially how they egg the crowd on. One track that really stood out to me was "Things We Said Today," written and sung by George Harrison (who was always my favorite, to be honest). You can tell it was a new song, because he forgets how long the introduction is, comes in late, stumbles on words, and seems generally tentative when singing. When Paul pipes in for the bridge the girls go absolutely nuts, as to be expected. I probably would have too; the bridge of "Things We Said Today" is quite possibly my favorite bridge of any song. Ever.

Here is the recorded version from The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl:

And for comparison, here is the studio version from A Hard Day's Night:

I may have to share more Beatles love in the near future. I can't be the only one that feels it.3

<3 ek

1 As an aside, it's interesting to note that Doctor Who was in its second broadcast season at this point, and it would be another 2/1 years before Star Trek would premiere (though it was already in production). Back to your regularly scheduled music post.
2 I'm guessing that a "fold back" speaker is what we would call monitors now. Speakers on stage pointed towards the performers so that they can hear themselves and the other members of the band playing. Back to Mr. Martin.
3 And the footnote love. Who doesn't love footnotes?


  1. It's a rainy Saturday morning here, and you've just made it that much sweeter.
    Definitely feeling the Beatles & footnote love.

  2. I called them footnotes because they're all on the same page, but I guess they could technically be considered endnotes? haha oh well. I love them regardless. And I'm glad you feel the Beatles love. More to come!


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