Looking back at footage from The Beatles’ touring years when the Fab Four took the world by storm was “emotional and very special”, Sir Paul McCartney said.
Sir Paul and Ringo Starr, the band’s two surviving members, joined a host of celebrities including Madonna for the premiere of a new documentary charting their live gigs and meteoric rise to fame in the 1960s.
John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison, widow of George, also attended the screening in London, which followed the world premiere in the Beatles’ home city of Liverpool earlier on Thursday.
The film, directed by Oscar-winner Ron Howard, features remastered footage of the band’s sell-out stadium concerts in America, which followed their early days playing in The Cavern Club.
Speaking on the blue carpet, Sir Paul told reporters: “We’re getting great memories obviously of playing with John and George. So that’s very emotional and very special to see that again.”
The band played their last big concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966, and had their last live performance together three years later on the rooftop of their Apple Records headquarters in London.
Ringo described their lasting fame as “beautiful”, adding: “People love The Beatles. We happen to be two of them and here we are.”
Olivia paid tribute to Ron’s work on the film, describing him as “a great storyteller”.
She said: “We were privileged to have Ron Howard making this film, he’s a great storyteller and I think he’s learned a lot too.”
She said it was “sweet” that some of the home movie footage is from her husband’s 8mm camera.
Sir Paul, who said he was wearing the same jacket he donned for the band’s premiere of A Hard Day’s Night back in 1964, was joined by his wife Nancy Shevell and daughter, fashion designer Stella McCartney, while Ringo was accompanied by his wife Barbara Bach.
Other guests included Bob Geldof, Simon Pegg, Eric Clapton, Michael Keaton, Jools Holland and Peter Jackson.
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years is in UK cinemas now.