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The Beatles Come Home

In February 1964, Beatlemania was at its height.  The Fab Four had been on a tour of The United States and on Saturday 22nd February, they returned to England at Heathrow.

I assigned three Movietone crews to the arrival area at the airport.  One was on the roof of a nearby building and could look down on the large crowd of teenagers waiting for their heroes. This was our sound camera.  The other two were mobile at ground level.

We got a good story.  It would be released in the reel going out on February 27th, entitled “The Beatles are back”.  I saw the screening of the rushes on the Monday morning and said to Stan Wicken, our music editor, “What’s the chances of using one of their records on the film”.    He said “Don’t be bloody silly, pop music costs a lot of money”.

At that time, Movietone were using library music which had to be declared to the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society, who would collect the money from us and distribute some of it to the various authors whose music we had used.

Photo of LP Parlophone label with the beatles

Photo of LP Parlophone label with the Beatles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had previously in my career at Movietone, prepared the Music Cue Sheets and I knew how it worked.

I said to Stan, “Why not give the record label a call and ask them – if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.  Stan said: “You ring them”.  I said “I shall”.

Being neither a fan nor knowledgeable of pop music, I did not know which company were the Beatles record label.  However, a few enquiries led me to Parlophone.

The Beatles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Beatles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got put through to the public relations department.

I spoke to a man there and I explained to him that the Newsreels did not pay very much for music royalties.  At the time, I do not think we would have paid more than £10 to £15 per issue.

I asked him what the chances were that we could  use one of the Beatles records for our story on their return to London.  I added that the news story would be added publicity for them.

He pondered the question for a minute or so and then said:

All right then, it (the music) will probably be forgotten in a month or two”.

I asked him what we could use.  He said “All my Loving”.  Of course, we had to buy a copy and I asked the man to write to me confirming that we could use the music.  This he did.

Stan Wicken was in a state of shock.

Move the story on some thirty years.    My nephew Don Gallacher is engaged to organise the music production and clearance on a feature film. He specialises in music for film and television programmes, and is asked if some of the lyrics of a Beatles song could be used in the film.  Not the music, just some lyrics.

In the script a character says, “Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire”, a line from A Day In The Life. He made enquiries. The line lasted three seconds.

He was quoted a quarter of a million Pounds.

© Terence Gallacher and, 2012.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Coming from a fellow Beatles fan, this is a great article. Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to always read great info. on the guys.

    September 21, 2012
  2. I was fortunate to have attended a one night show of Paul McCartney Concert at the
    MGM Grand,Las Vagas,during a NAB Convention,I might have been during the mid nineties,
    during the performance Paul Mc sang my all time Beatles favourite turne called
    “All My Loving ” whilst the song was being performed they projected on a large screen the Movietonews clip of the Beatles arriving back from the USA tour at London Heathrow,
    as described by Terry Gallacher,
    To my absolute delighted the I found myself singing along to the projected the newsreel clips which were shot by me from the Queens Building.
    Thanks for the memories Terry

    July 27, 2013

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