It was 36 years ago Saturday (May 4th, 1977) that The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl was released. The live album, which featured songs from all three of the group's shows at the venue, August 23rd, 1964 and August 29th and 30th, 1965, was remixed and produced by George Martin for release. The album, which was the Beatles' only official live album, and their first previously unreleased archival collection, went on to peak at Number Two on the Billboard 200 album charts.
The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl featured the constant shriek of 17,000 fans and proved that the group, who had long been said to be a slipshod and barely-adequate live act, was actually a tight ensemble that was able to faithfully reproduce their classic hits and album favorites on stage.
As was the case with the 1970's Beatles compilations, John Lennon took an active interest in the project and went so far as to suggest the album's title. Interestingly, despite the involvement of Lennon, Martin, and the Beatles' longtime engineer Geoff Emerick, the word since the album's release is that the group was adamantly against the project being issued, which led to a 14-year moratorium on vault releases.
Among the highlights from the album are "Twist And Shout," "She's A Woman," "Ticket To Ride," "Can't Buy Me Love," "Boys," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Things We Said Today," "A Hard Day's Night," "All My Loving," and "Help!"
When the Beatles' catalogue was released on CD beginning in 1987, The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl was not reissued.
The Hollywood Bowl material has been used several times by the Beatles over the years. The group used the audio from their 1965 performance of "Twist And Shout" in their TV film The Beatles At Shea Stadium in place of the substandard original version. Most recently, the band used footage from the 1964 concert as part of The Beatles Anthology project.
Fans have been clamoring for the three unedited Hollywood Bowl tapes to be issued since the 1977 album was released. There are rumors that if the group decides to issue a third box set of The Capitol Albums featuring the Beatles U.S.-only releases that the live set would be included.
Renowned Beatles author Bruce Spizer has published eight books on the Beatles, and has consulted on the remastering of their Capitol Albums box sets. Spizer says that he personally is hoping for a complete unedited version of The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl -- which is the only non-compilation Beatles album unavailable on CD -- to be released in the near future: "I personally would have no problem with the unedited Hollywood Bowl '64 and '65 concerts coming out on CD. Because I think the excitement is so great and the fact that they miss a few notes doesn't bother me a bit, and really doesn't to me show a reflection of, 'Gee, John and Paul missed a note on that song.'"