The Beatles' Story

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The Beatles' Story
Studio album by
Released23 November 1964
StudioCapitol Records Building and Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California
GenreDocumentary, interview
ProducerGary Usher, Roger Christian
The Beatles North American chronology
Hear the Beatles Tell All
The Beatles' Story
Beatles '65

The Beatles' Story is the sixth album by the English rock band the Beatles in the United States, issued on 23 November 1964 by Capitol Records. It is a documentary double album featuring interviews, press conferences, and snippets of original or orchestral versions of Beatles songs, with voice-over narration. The album's original liner notes described it as a "narrative and musical biography" of Beatlemania.[1] It was produced by Los Angeles–based songwriter and producer Gary Usher and disc jockey and lyricist Roger Christian, and narrated by John Babcock, Al Wiman and Christian.

Capitol issued the album in response to the Vee-Jay Records LP Hear the Beatles Tell All, a compilation of radio interviews with the band carried out by Los Angeles disc jockeys.[2] The company also sought to compete with unauthorised Beatles interview records issued by the Radio Pulse Beat label, which released three such LPs hosted by Ed Rudy.[3] The Beatles' Story peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. In 2014, Capitol reissued the album as part of the Beatles' U.S. Albums box set.


Originally, Capitol Records intended to create an album from the group's show at the Hollywood Bowl,[4] which took place on 23 August 1964.[5] A recording was made of the concert,[6] but the Beatles and their producer, George Martin, deemed it of insufficient quality due to the poor sound and the volume of the fans' screaming.[7] The Beatles' Story nevertheless contains a 48-second[8] excerpt of "Twist and Shout" from the Hollywood Bowl performance.[9] It was the first record to include a recording of the Beatles in concert.[10]

Using audio from interviews and press conferences, interspersed with music,[10] The Beatles Story was produced by Gary Usher and Roger Christian.[2] Among the segments were items devoted to each of the four Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – and others on their manager, Brian Epstein, and Martin.[11] The Hollyridge Strings performed the easy listening versions of the Beatles' songs heard on the album.[10] The voice-over commentary was written and narrated by John Babcock and, on behalf of radio station KFWB of Hollywood,[12] Al Wiman and Christian.[8]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[4]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide2/5 stars[13]

Capitol released The Beatles' Story in the US on 23 November 1964,[8] on the same day as the band's "I Feel Fine" single.[14] The front cover of the LP contained individual photos of the band members, taken by photographer Joe Cavello, above a Union Jack.[1] The album spent 17 weeks on the Billboard Top LPs chart.[15] It peaked at number 7 on 2 January 1965 and remained in that position for three further weeks while the band's new studio album, Beatles '65, was number 1.[16] The Beatles' Story was certified a gold record by the RIAA on 31 December 1964.[17][18] It was the Beatles' fifth Capitol album, all of which had been released within a year of the band's commercial breakthrough in the US.[19] Author Barry Miles comments that the documentary record was "blatantly exploitative" but this was insufficient to deter American fans.[14]

The album was also issued in Canada. It was released by Toshiba EMI in Japan on the Apple label (in stereo) in a box set with a deluxe 24-page 12"x12" booklet that contains the entire text of the script in English and Japanese.[citation needed] The album was being prepared for release on digital audio tape in 1996, but when the format failed commercially the plan was scrapped.[citation needed]

In 2014, The Beatles' Story was made available on CD for the first time as part of the Beatles' box set The U.S. Albums.[20] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic describes it as "a tedious neo-documentary record" and "cornball show biz, with radio announcers delivering a spit-shined script designed to bridge segments between canned interviews".[4] In his review for the Toronto Sun, Darryl Sterdan said The Beatles' Story was a "cash-grab" by the record company and a "50-minute mish-mash ... dashed off for early Christmas shoppers". He added: "Amazingly, it went gold. This one is also new on CD. Really, they needn't have bothered."[21]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."On Stage with the Beatles"1:03
2."How Beatlemania Began"1:20
3."Beatlemania in Action"1:25
4."Man Behind the Beatles – Brian Epstein"2:47
5."John Lennon"5:50
6."Who's a Millionaire?"0:39
Side two
1."Beatles Will Be Beatles"7:28
2."Man Behind the Music – George Martin"1:04
3."George Harrison"4:46
Side three
1."A Hard Day's Night – Their First Movie"3:08
2."Paul McCartney"2:45
3."Sneaky Haircuts and More About Paul"3:29
Side four
1."The Beatles Look at Life"2:05
2."'Victims' of Beatlemania"1:10
3."Beatle Medley"3:58
4."Ringo Starr"6:24
5."Liverpool and All the World!"1:05


Portions of the following songs appear on the album:[22]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Sales chart performance for The Beatles' Story
Year Chart Position
1964 US Billboard Top LPs[23] 7


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[24] Gold $1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Womack 2014, p. 130.
  2. ^ a b Womack 2014, p. 129.
  3. ^ Schaffner 1978, p. 18.
  4. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Beatles The Beatles' Story (2 LPs)". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  5. ^ Miles 2001, p. 163.
  6. ^ Castleman & Podrazik 1976, p. 254.
  7. ^ Gaar 2013, p. 217.
  8. ^ a b c Castleman & Podrazik 1976, p. 40.
  9. ^ Womack 2014, p. 93.
  10. ^ a b c Gaar 2013, p. 54.
  11. ^ Bosso, Joe (9 February 2014). "The Beatles US Albums: A disc-by-disc guide [page 6 of 14]". MusicRadar. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  12. ^ The Beatles' Story (LP sleeve credits). The Beatles. Capitol Records. 1964.CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ Marsh & Swenson 1983, p. 31.
  14. ^ a b Miles 2001, p. 177.
  15. ^ Schaffner 1978, p. 51.
  16. ^ Castleman & Podrazik 1976, pp. 357–58.
  17. ^ Castleman & Podrazik 1976, p. 331.
  18. ^ "American album certifications – Beatles, The – The Beatles_ Story". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 7 June 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  19. ^ Marsh & Swenson 1983, p. 32.
  20. ^ Marchese, Joe (12 December 2013). "British Invasion! The Beatles Unveil 'The U.S. Albums' Box Set in January". The Second Disc. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  21. ^ Sterdan, Darryl (5 February 2014). "The Beatles, 'The U.S. Albums' review". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  22. ^ Womack 2014, pp. 129–30.
  23. ^ Whitburn 2010, p. 65.
  24. ^ "American album certifications – Beatles, The – The Beatles_ Story". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 September 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 


External links[edit]