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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Pop > Music Video > Avant Garde > Concert > Counterculture > New Wave > Punk > Biography > The Beatles 1+: Limited Edition (2015/Apple/Capitol/Universal 2-Blu-ray/CD Set)/Martha Davis & The Motels: Live At The Whiskey A Go Go - 50th Anniversary Special (2015/Vesuvio Blu-ray)/The Who: 50 Yea

The Beatles 1+: Limited Edition (2015/Apple/Capitol/Universal 2-Blu-ray/CD Set)/Martha Davis & The Motels: Live At The Whiskey A Go Go - 50th Anniversary Special (2015/Vesuvio Blu-ray)/The Who: 50 Years Of My Generation by Mat Snow (2015/Hardcover/Race Point Books)

Picture: B/B- Sound: B/B- Extras: B/C+ Main Programs: B+/B/Book: B

Here are new releases from three of my favorite bands of all time, two legends of the British invasion (including ones who started it) and a new version of one of Rock & New Wave's greatest ever...

The Beatles 1+ is a new expanded version (issued in several collectible forms & in different formats) of the hit set album '1' which reached #1 on album charts worldwide. This grand 2015 update is highly welcome and we got the CD in a very high-quality DigiPak book with built-in booklet that adds a 2-Blu-ray set with at least one video clip for all 27 #1 hits (the band had 20 alone in the U.S.) and more in the U.K., so we start with the CD tracks...

  1. Love Me Do

  1. From Me To You

  1. She Loves You

  1. I Want To Hold Your Hand

  1. Can't Buy Me Love

  1. A Hard Day's Night

  1. I Feel Fine

  1. Eight Days A Week

  1. Ticket To Ride

  1. Help!

  1. Yesterday

  1. Day Tripper

  1. We Can Work It Out

  1. Paperback Writer

  1. Yellow Submarine

  1. Eleanor Rigby

  1. Penny Lane

  1. All You Need Is Love

  1. Hello, Goodbye

  1. Lady Madonna

  1. Hey Jude

  1. Get Back

  1. The Ballad of John and Yoko

  1. Something

  1. Come Together

  1. Let It Be

  1. The Long and Winding Road

That includes the title song of all four of their feature films, some of the most covered/remade songs of all time (with Yesterday the all-time champ by anyone) and only begins to scratch the surface of their classics!

The big surprise with the Blu-ray discs are many of the clips are more obscure videotaped performances restored, upscaled and as upgraded as possible. Serious money and effort have been put into fixing and upgrading what we get here, some of which are rarer than you might think. More on that below. To get specific, here's more on the clips (all 1.33 X 1 unless otherwise stated) included...

Blu-ray #1

  1. Love Me Do from the Mercey Sound TV series, filmed b/w, 8/24/63

  1. From Me To You from the Royal Variety Performance, b/w PAL videotape, 3/5/63

  1. She Loves You from Drop In, b/w PAL videotape, 11/3/63

  1. I Want To Hold Your Hand from Late Scene Extra, b/w PAL videotape, 11/25/63

  1. Can't Buy Me Love from the TV special Around The Beatles, b/w APL videotape, 4/28/64

  1. A Hard Day's Night from the TV special Les Beatles, b/w PAL videotape, 10/31/65

  1. I Feel Fine black & white PAL videotaped clip

  1. Eight Days A Week from the Shea Stadium Concert, 35mm, color, 8/15/65

  1. Ticket To Ride black & white videotaped clip

  1. Help! black & white videotaped clip

  1. Yesterday from The Ed Sullivan Show, b/w NTSC videotaped clip, 9/12/65

  1. Day Tripper black & white videotaped clip

  1. We Can Work It Out black & white videotaped clip

  1. Paperback Writer filmed 35mm color promo clip

  1. Yellow Submarine color clip from the restored version of the feature film (1.78 X 1)

  1. Eleanor Rigby from color clip from the restored version of the feature film (1.78 X 1)

  1. Penny Lane filmed color 35mm promo clip

  1. All You Need Is Love from special satellite broadcast live performance, colorized version

  1. Hello, Goodbye filmed color promo clip from edits out of Magical Mystery Tour

  1. Lady Madonna color filmed promo clip

  1. Hey Jude color PAL videotaped promo clip from The David Frost Show with opening

  1. Get Back out of footage the film Let It Be

  1. The Ballad of John and Yoko from outtakes from filming of Let It Be

  1. Something filmed color 35mm promo film

  1. Come Together CGI color promo clip released in 2000 (1.66 X 1)

  1. Let It Be is a reconstruction of a clip made in 1970

  1. The Long and Winding Road promo filmed during the making of Let It Be

Blu-ray #2

  1. Twist & Shout taped at the Odeon Cinema in Wales over a few nights in 1963

  1. Baby It's You is a compilation of vintage footage & stills (color and b/w) issued March 1995

  1. Words Of Love is a compilation of vintage footage issued 2013 with Brian Epstein & Buddy Holly off of HDCAM master, similar to #2's approach, plus some new animation

  1. Please Please Me live b/w NTSC videotaped clip (from DigiBeta source) from 1963 eventually used on The Ed Sullivan Show

  1. I Feel Fine color promo clip #2 recorded 10/18/64 off of 2-inch PAL videotape, 'fish & chips' version

  1. Day Tripper from The Music Of Lennon & McCartney TV special from Granada Network b/w PAL videotape

  1. Day Tripper alternate b/w PAL videotaped 'variety show'-style clip

  1. We Can Work It Out b/w PAL videotaped promo clip

  1. Paperback Writer color PAL videotaped promo clip for Ed Sullivan Show

  1. Rain color filmed 35mm promo clip from the Chiswick House Gardens

  1. Rain videotaped b/w PAL version in new 2015 edit from vintage performance footage of the song

  1. Strawberry Fields Forever is the classic full color 35mm filmed clip

  1. Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows is the 2006 Love medley video promo clip (1.78 X 1)

  1. A Day In The Life original color 16mm filmed promo clip

  1. Hello, Goodbye alternate, unreleased 35mm color filmed promo clip

  1. Hello, Goodbye second alternate, unreleased 35mm color filmed promo clip

  1. Hey Bulldog 1999 reedit of 2/11/68 promo clip from 35mm film in color

  1. Hey Jude alternate live performance promo clip from 2-inch color PAL videotape from The David Frost Show

  1. Revolution live performance 2-inch color PAL videotape promo clip

  1. Get Back 2003 reedit version to promote the Let It Be... Naked album from the documentary film Let It Be from color 16m footage

  1. Don't Let Me Down another 2003 reedit version to promote the Let It Be... Naked album from the documentary film Let It Be

  1. Free As A Bird standard definition 1995 music video clip (letterboxed 1.78 X 1) tied into The Beatles Anthology

  1. Real Love same as #22, but 1.33 X 1

That's 50 clips in all and they are very rewatchable, often iconic and are more than enough to strongly recommend this set overall. Classic footage that is iconic, legendary and highly influential.

Martha Davis & The Motels: Live At The Whiskey A Go Go - 50th Anniversary Special (2015) marks the biggest appearance we've seen of the band (albeit in a new version, Miss Davis owns the band name, et al) since the original members reunited a few years ago out of nowhere for a cable TV series that was doing this for a different music act each show and proved they still instantly had it. This new Blu-ray from the Vesuvio label has Davis celebrating half a century of the legendary venue while David herself celebrates her own birthday. Pulling from an amazingly long list of underrated songs (deep cuts never issued as singles) and some unforgettable key hits, the line up of includes...

1. Party Professionals
2. Where Do We Go From Here
3. Mission Of Mercy
4. Celia
5. Take The 'L'
6. Counting
7. Suddenly Last Summer
8. Nothing
9. Danger
10. So L.A.
11. Obvioso
12. Total Control
13. Closets and Bullets
14. Cry Baby
15. Apocalypso
16. Mr. Grey
17. Only The Lonely

Songs # 5, 7 and especially 17 were big hits and arguably classics with remarkable music videos that played heavily on MTV to go with their release, making them bigger hits than their singles charting would suggest. Of course, there are gems like Icy Red and Remember The Night, not to mention tracks from Davis' underrated solo album not here, but that's no problem as she and the new band truly deliver a show only I wished were longer. The show delivered as expected and is easily one of the best concert releases on Blu-ray of any genre all year, so don't miss it!

Last but not least is Mat Snow's very high quality, high content The Who: 50 Years Of My Generation (2015), a very well-rounded volume on the history of the band with rare stills, solid text, superior image reproduction and one that includes their forays into feature films like Tommy and Quadrophenia (plus Ken Russell's Lisztomania, which Roger Daltrey made with Russell the same year as Tommy, all reviewed elsewhere on this site) so you get a true journey through the printed page that is as good as most books on the band I have seen over the years.

Of course, those overly familiar with a certain police procedural TV series and its endless spin-offs will associate some of the band's hit songs with 'that show' but they more than hold up on their own as the classics they are. It is hard to deliver a book that works on one of the most written-about bands ever, but Snow delivers, so more than fans should check this one out.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Beatles consists mainly of classic clips of the band playing their #1 hits and then some. Most of the clips actually originate on analog, standard definition videotape (U.S. NTSC or U.K. PAL formats) upscaled (to 1080i, though some film clips, like the entire Magical Mystery Tour Blu-ray, are also 1080i) and cleaned up to look as fine as possible, but that does not make them high definition and they are all 1.33 X 1 clips centered in the 1.78 X 1 frame. In that, the work here is as good as similar releases of upscaled Blu-rays from the Eagle and Naxos labels, so they look as good as they are going to. All You Need Is Love is shown here in a colorized version only and I wish a black & white/monochrome version had also been here to choose.

Most of the filmed clips (likely Kodak in all color cases, except probably Ilford film's Ilfocolor/Ilfochrome film stock on Penny Lane) are really impressive. Come Together looks fairly good for older CG animation and it turns out Free As A Bird and Real Love are standard-definition produced. The thing that will make fans happiest are clips from the still-out-of-circulation Let It Be documentary showing up here restored in full color (the Rockumentary was entirely shot on 16mm film, but 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints were issued, currently each worth a small fortune if you have one) looking great.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can on Motels is a really good HD shoot that is about as stable and consistent than most concert HD shoots we have seen from the other record labels and mega independents Eagle and MVD Visual. Color is pretty good, there is little in the way of detail issues despite some minor problems and the presentation is smooth for the most part throughout.

As for sound, Beatles has all songs upgraded to DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 96 kHz 5.1 lossless mixes, which gets interesting for the early recordings and original TV audio, all cleaned up and refined as much as possible, so someone spent the time and money to do all this well. But it is on the latter studio recordings that the sonics really shine (Strawberry Fields Forever, Rain and Let It Be, for instance) that the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM 2.0 Stereo version cannot touch. Those who were impressed with the DTS audio on the Criterion Hard Day's Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour Blu-rays (plus the DVD-Audio 5.1 lossless mix on the Love set, if you have the capacity to play those tracks back) will be pretty happy with the audio here throughout, as expected.

I wanted lossless sound on The Motels Blu-ray, but sadly, we only get a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that still sounds good, but you can tell that it is veiling and holding back a much more dynamic soundmaster that would really shine in a lossless version down to the musicianship and Davis' great voice.

Extras include books in all cases, with a thick booklet built into the DigiPak packaging of The Beatles release that is high quality thick paper and excellent stills (the color is impressive), while Motels has a booklet and Who is a book in itself, but has no extras. Beatles adds a few intros on select Videos by Ringo Starr and audio commentaries on select Videos by Paul McCartney, leaving Motels with a clip where a big fan of the band is being interviewed when she is surprised by Martha Davis showing up to say hello and members of the original band give an extended interview about the early glory days of the band and its great work.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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