Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hooplah and Hype: The Selling of the Beatles

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hooplah and Hype: The Selling of the Beatles

Article excerpt

After a 25-year absence, the Beatles are returning to the record stores. Welcome them back with caution. Though once just lovable lads from England, the Beatles are now sophisticated businessmen - and they have their eyes on your bank account.

This month, the Beatles will wage a commercial assault on American shores. Assisting in the invasion are a group of record company executives, television moguls and other soldiers of fortune who helped orchestrate the "New Beatlemania." They've been planning it for months, even years.

On Nov. 20, EMI Records will release the first of three double-CDs titled the "Beatles Anthology." These CDs will contain two new Beatles songs of questionable merit, in addition to unreleased outtakes and mess-ups previously thought unfit for public consumption. The price? Undoubtedly exhorbitant.

Timed to coincide with the roll-out of the CDs, ABC will broadcast a television special, "The Beatles Anthology," on Nov. 19, 22 and 23. According to TV executives, the six-hour broadcast will feature interviews, archival footage and rarely heard recordings. Though free to the public, this event will garner ABC untold thousands in advertising revenue.

The marketing geniuses responsible for the hype say these twin anthologies will confirm the Beatles as the greatest phenomenon in musical history and may even rekindle the Beatlemania of the 1960s. The marketers will make sure that this month no one turns on a TV, goes to a shopping mall or watches a theater movie without hearing about the boys from Liverpool.

What's wrong with this picture?

For music historians, professional musicians and psychotic Beatles maniacs, nothing. For these people, it may be advantageous to shell out the money required for the CDs and a copy of the television special, which will be released to video stores in an extended version after it airs on ABC. …

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