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‘Tell me why’ we're still so crazy about the Beatles

Ron Howard's new documentary 'The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years' chronicles the explosion of Beatlemania. How did those four lads from grungy Liverpool manage this kind of staying power?

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An image from ‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years.’

Apple Corps Ltd.

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Our dashing president had been shot. Camelot was canceled. The cold war was grim and frightening. The Vietnam War was escalating. The world had turned black-and-white again. And suddenly, out of nowhere, with their strange haircuts and even stranger name, the Beatles leapt into our hearts and minds. Now, a half-century later, we’re still on board the love train. 

How did those four boys from grungy Liverpool manage that kind of staying power? Millions of records have been made since the Beatles’ work. Why have theirs held up so much better? And how do they still pack a thrill on every listen?

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Those lucky enough to be there back in the day watched the Beatles grow like multihued time-lapse flowers before our very eyes, reaching for and frequently touching the stars. They were incredibly talented, funny, irreverent, ambitious, and beautiful. We just couldn’t get enough of them, and they more than complied. 

The lads were in a generous mood for the next four years, crisscrossing the world, creating hit after astonishing hit, literally reinventing pop music on hotel room stationery and airline napkins. Nearly every record was better than the last, and that continued until their final masterpiece, 1969’s “Abbey Road.” The new songs got more sophisticated with no two alike, leaving us in a constant state of wonder and admiration. 

Director Ron Howard was only nine years old when the moptops burst onto his family’s Magnavox TV, yet a love was born, and more than 50 years later, he decided to channel his enduring enthusiasm into “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years.” It’s a documentary that chronicles the explosion of Beatlemania, beginning with their return to Liverpool after honing their chops in Hamburg to their final live show in San Francisco in 1966. 

The movie opens in theaters beginning Sept. 15 in the United States, then it will stream on Hulu starting the following day. If you want to retroactively experience a potent taste of Beatlemania, this will be your ticket to ride.