The Beatles live: Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles

The Beatles’ concert at the Hollywood Bowl was recorded by George Martin and engineers from Capitol Records, who hoped to release it as a live album.

The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, 23 August 1964

The Hollywood Bowl was marvellous. It was the one we all enjoyed most, I think, even though it wasn’t the largest crowd – because it seemed so important, and everybody was saying things. We got on, and it was a big stage, and it was great. We could be heard in a place like the Hollywood Bowl, even though the crowds was wild: good acoustics.

All 18,700 tickets for the event had sold out four months previously. The Beatles took to the stage at 9.30pm and performed 12 songs: ‘Twist And Shout’, ‘You Can’t Do That’, ‘All My Loving’, ‘She Loves You’, ‘Things We Said Today’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘If I Fell’, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘Boys’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Long Tall Sally’.

We played the Hollywood Bowl, the shell around the stage was great. It was the Hollywood Bowl – these were impressive places to me. I fell in love with Hollywood then, and I am still in love with Hollywood – well, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, California. I prefer it to New York.

Capitol had previously wanted to record The Beatles’ concert at Carnegie Hall, New York on 12 February 1964, but had been unable to secure permission from the American Federation of Musicians in time.

Poster for The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, 23 August 1964

George Martin was at the venue, working with Capitol Records’ producer Voyle Gilmore on the recording. Martin was reluctant to tape the concert, and after mixing the tracks on 27 August Capitol decided the quality of the recording was not suitable for release.

We recorded it on three-track tape, which was standard US format then. You would record the band in stereo on two tracks and keep the voice separated on the third, so that you could bring it up or down in the mix. But at the Hollywood Bowl they didn’t use three-track in quite the right way. I didn’t have too much say in things because I was a foreigner, but they did some very bizarre mixing. In 1977, when I was asked to make an album from the tapes, I found guitars and voices mixed on the same track. And the recording seemed to concentrate more on the wild screaming of 18,700 kids than on the Beatles on stage.
George Martin
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The 1977 album The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl contained songs from this day and The Beatles’ subsequent two concerts at the venue, which took place on 29 and 30 August 1965. From the 1964 concert were taken ‘Things We Said Today’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Boys’, ‘All My Loving’, ‘She Loves You’, and ‘Long Tall Sally’. A 48-second excerpt of ‘Twist And Shout’ was also included on the 1964 documentary album The Beatles’ Story.

The concert was also filmed, by a newsreel company and an amateur film-maker in the audience.

A car was parked by the stage to whisk The Beatles away at 10pm when the concert ended. For the next two days they stayed at a rented house at 356 St Pierre Road in Brown Canyon, Bel Air.

Last updated: 24 January 2024
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