‘When The Beatles Drove Us Wild’ Review

The band in question (or three quarters - note Jimmie Nicol) arriving in my hometown - Adelaide, Australia!

The band in question (or three quarters – note Jimmie Nicol) arriving in my hometown – Adelaide, Australia!

This week is absolutely giant for Aussie Beatlemaniacs – it marks 50 years since The Fab Four landed here, in our little far-fetched corner of the globe! As one would imagine (coincidence – I am currently listening to Imagine!), heaps of celebrations have been circulating around the country, which I discussed in my earlier post ‘Beatle-y News’. Even my school has been celebrating (ever so slightly!) – there was a display of Beatle books in the library foyer today, to my delight! However, as I am sitting here, listening to ‘Jealous Guy’, I thought I’d write about one particular aspect of my country’s festivities; When The Beatles Drove Us Wild, which was screened on ABC1 at 8:30 PM, last night.

You might like to watch the trailer for the documentary – I have posted it below:

Before you go around thinking it was just another middle-of-the-road Beatles doco with a disgustingly-large percentage of time spent discussing groupies/drugs/etc., with most of the interviews being held with the husband of the best friend of the cook of the bus-driver of the chauffer of Brian Epstein’s second cousin (or something), think again. The documentary was made this year, especially for the 50th anniversary of John, Paul, George, Ringo & Jimmie Nicol landing in Australia, and featured everything from never-seen-before archival footage, to interviews with the likes of Bob Francis (a famous South Australian DJ who campaigned for The Beatles to come here – thank God he was successful!), Jenny Kee (an Australian fashion designer who ‘spent a night’ with John) and Glen A. Baker (a music journalist and Beatles aficionado).

After the prologue, opening credits and an insight into what being a teenager in the ’60s meant, the documentary was split into six categories: Sydney (first time around – only a short stop), Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney (second time – proper concerts, now), New Zealand and Brisbane. After this, Australian rockers (such as Jim Keays of Masters Apprentices and Glen Shorrock of Little River Band) discussed how The Beatles changed the music industry; shortly after, the doco wrapped up with John Lennon’s quote that, as The Advertiser promised, pierced my heart, thus made me quite emotional and sent chills down my back (to say the least).

Apart from Bob Francis, Jenny Kee, Jim Keays, Glen A. Baker and Glen Shorrock, the interviewees ranged from a feminist/social scientist to fellow Adelaide fans (these ones, however, were lucky enough to be my age in ’64 – their mothers also booked them a hotel room in the hotel in which The Beatles were staying). Apart from a couple of men, who were carrying on with their free-sex/partying/pill-taking tales (which would have went on – no doubt about that – but would have been exaggerated a bit), each interviewee had a very interesting perspective on The Fabs, which were equally as interesting to listen to. I really enjoyed the documentary, and I think it’s a must-see for every hardcore Beatlemaniac.

And as for closing words that John said at an Adelaide press conference, that pierced my heart? SPOILER ALERT.

(After being asked whether he is aware of possibilities similar to JFK)

“Well, I think you’ve got to be – you might get shot.”

TRAGIC IRONY. Rest in peace, Johnny.

Anyway (on a lighter note), it’s 50 years today since The Beatles landed in Sydney, and 50 tomorrow since they landed here, and received the biggest reception they would ever receive. Be sure to check out the paper, tomorrow (if you live in Adelaide), and listen to Cruise 1323 AM, who are doing a one-hour special, from 7-8pm. I’ll do a special post, too.

Good day sunshine, for now.