The one thing that the Beatles gave long been lacking is a decent live album. I mean, sure, there’s the album of their BBC sessions, one from their Hamburg Days, and one from the Hollywood Bowl, only the one at the Beeb has ever had an official CD release, and even that’s out of print. But, despite this, there’s been a few DVDs of their live shows, most of them illegal, but the biggest legit concert DVD the Beatles sent out was The Maysles Brothers’ 1964 film of their first tour of the United States, currently going by the title The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit. I bring this up because, in addition to their three Ed Sullivan Show concerts that year, the Maysles included three songs from their February 11, 1964 concert at the Washington Coliseum.
Ace Arts recently acquired a 35-minute tape of the entire gig and planned to show it in full as part of a documentary called The Beatles: The Lost Concert. The documentary would have screened in May 2012 and run for 86 minutes, with the help of interviews with people like Chuck Berry, Aerosmith, and Mark Ronson, but apparently, Sony/ATV has taken the step to deny them the license to synchronise the footage of the concert with the live audio, instead, granting those rights exclusively to Apple Corps.
And so, Ace Arts has decided to sue Sony. A lawsuit states: “At the 11th hour, in mid-April 2012, Sony/ATV, at the insistence of, and in conspiracy with, Apple Corps, wrongfully interfered with the distribution contract by making false statements to exhibitors, theatre owners and potential distributors concerning Ace’s legal right to exhibit the documentary, making unjustified threats of legal action and filing a baseless lawsuit in England.”
Apple Corps now seems to have its own Beatles concert film in the works, possibly in response to the Ace Arts project, called The Beatles Live! which will feature footage from the Beatles’ live concerts given to them by both fans and professionals. That said, The Beatles Live project hasn’t made any appreciable progress all year. Of course, I think a possible solution to this dilemma is in order: sell the rights to the concert footage to Apple Corps on the condition that they either use the concert footage in full in the film, or leave it as a special feature on the DVD. Maybe throw in the interview footage as well; It’s not like stuff like that isn’t already on DVDs.
However, one Beatles-related project hasn’t been thrust into development hell; Ringo’s song “Octopus’s Garden,” from Abbey Road, is set to be turned into a children’s book.
It should be noted that turning a rock song into a children’s book isn’t unheard of; Paul Simon turned his song “At The Zoo” into a children’s book in the 1990s, Bowie’s “Space Oddity” has recently been made into a kid’s book, and even Slint’s “Good Morning Captain” was recently turned into a picture book, and it sounds like this.
Starr recently gave publishers Simon and Schuster permission to turn the song into a picture book, with illustrations by Ben Cort, writer and illustrator of Aliens Love Underpants.
Quoth Ringo: “It gives me great pleasure to collaborate with Ben Cort and Simon & Schuster for the further adventures of Octopus’s Garden. Peace and love.” The book will be published on January 7, 2014 and will come with a CD featuring unheard music from Starr.