- Timeline This film has been released in 1966
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The Beatles created three promotional films for “Rain”, following on from their first attempts with the medium for their December 1965 single. Authors Mark Hertsgaard and Bob Spitz both recognise the 1966 promos for “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” as the first examples of music videos. In the case of “Rain”, it marked a rare instance where the Beatles prepared a clip for a B-side, later examples being “Revolution” and “Don’t Let Me Down“.
The films were directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who had worked with the band on the television programme Ready Steady Go! One shows the Beatles walking and singing in the gardens and conservatory of Chiswick House in west London, and was filmed on 20 May. The other two clips feature the band performing on a sound stage at EMI Studios on 19 May; one was filmed in colour for The Ed Sullivan Show and the other in black and white for broadcast in the UK. McCartney was injured in a moped accident on 26 December 1965, six months before the filming of “Rain”, and close-ups in the film reveal a chipped tooth. McCartney’s appearance in the film played a role in the “Paul is dead” rumours from 1969. The band also promoted the single with a rare TV appearance, miming to both songs on the BBC show Top of the Pops on 16 June.
The Beatles’ Anthology documentary video includes an edit combining the Chiswick House promo for “Rain” with shots from the two black-and-white EMI clips and unused colour footage from the 20 May filming. The new edit also employs rhythmic fast cuts. Unterberger writes that this creates an impression that the 1966 promos were more technically complex, fast-paced and innovative than was the case. For example, the backwards film effects are 1990s creations. Such effects were actually first deployed in the “Strawberry Fields Forever” promotional film of January 1967.
From the liner notes of The Beatles’ 1+ Video Collection, 2015:
The promos for ‘Rain’ were shot on consecutive days along with the films made for ‘Paperback Writer’. The first version on disc 2 is from the second day’s filming at Chiswick House, west London. Although shot in colour, this version was transmitted in black and white the day before its UK release on BBC’s Top of the Pops. The episode went out on 9 June 1966, between 7.30 and 8 pm.
The second clip is a newly edited version that was videotaped at Abbey Road the day before the Chiswick Park filming that predominately uses a rarely seen version. One of the original black and white versions was shown for the first time on Ready Steady Go! on Friday 3 June. A highlight is John attempting to mime the backward vocal at the end of the song.
The band knew of Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who directed both shoots, through his work on Ready Steady Go! A full-time employee of Associated Rediffusion. Hogg asked for time off to shoot the promo films for The Beatles. His bosses reluctantly agreed, then deducted two days’ pay from his salary.
Last updated on January 22, 2023