The strangest of all albums released during the Beatles' lifetime, The Beatles Story appeared in November 1964, during the thick of Beatlemania. In fact, Beatlemania, not the Beatles, is the very topic of The Beatles Story, a tedious neo-documentary record that tells the tale of the Fab Four's rise to power via a collection of musical snippets, interview excerpts, and scripted narrative. Buried among all this talk is some music taken from the group's 1964 show at the Hollywood Bowl -- a record that was to be released instead of The Beatles Story in 1964 but was scrapped due to shaky audio quality -- but digging through the talk to find these notes is a futile exercise. The talk is the reason to listen to The Beatles Story and it's not much of a reason, given that it's pure propaganda. Of course, this is not as slick as the PR pieces that surfaced in the '80s, '90s, and beyond, when the music industry's promotion became effortlessly slick. This is cornball show biz, with radio announcers delivering a spit-shined script designed to bridge segments between canned interviews. It's an artifact and it's interesting because it captures some of the madness surrounding Beatlemania, but it's not something to hear more than once.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine