Long-lost Beatles footage to be revealed after 50 years
MEXICO — Long-lost footage of a legendary performance by The Beatles is to be shown for the first time in more than 50 years after it was recently unearthed and restored.
The Fab Four’s only live appearance on the BBC TV music show “Top of the Pops,” on June 16, 1966, was believed to be lost forever — except for an 11-second, silent clip discovered by a collector in Mexico in April this year.
But then David Chandler, another collector and music enthusiast, contacted Kaleidoscope, an organization that recovers video and TV shows, and handed it a series of 8 mm film reels.
The footage, which includes a 92-second performance by The Beatles playing “Paperback Writer,” lasts 9 minutes in total and also shows Dusty Springfield singing “Goin’ Back,” Tom Jones singing “Green, Green Grass of Home,” The Hollies performing “Bus Stop,” and other performances by The Spencer Davis Group, Ike and Tina Turner, and Cliff Richard and the Shadows.
“Kaleidoscope thought finding 11 seconds of Paperback Writer was incredible, but to then be donated 92 seconds — and nine minutes of other 1966 Top of the Pops footage — was phenomenal,” said Kaleidoscope CEO Chris Perry in a statement.
‘It’s the holy grail’
Chandler had recorded the footage back in 1966 using a clockwork 8 mm camera, Lyle Bignon, a spokesman for Birmingham City University told CNN.
The films were placed in a suitcase in his attic for more than 50 years until Chandler saw news of the 11-second clip being unearthed. He realized he might have been sitting on a remainder of it and went through the footage to find out, before sending it to Kaleidoscope.
The silent footage was then remastered by experts at the organization, synced with records and enhanced to revitalize the performances. It will be screened at the university on Saturday.
While the band prerecorded songs for the BBC show on several occasions, the 1966 performance was their only live appearance, according to the BBC.
A BBC spokeswoman explained in 2000 that ,at the time of the performance, “BBC programs were not archived as carefully as they are today and some programs were sadly lost.”
“I think if you’re a Beatles fan, it’s the holy grail,” Perry told the BBC back in April, in reference to the 11-second clip.
“People thought it was gone forever because videotape wasn’t kept in 1966. To find it all these years later was stunning.”