The Beatles At Shea Stadium

Documentary • For The Beatles • Directed by Robert Precht

Timeline This film has been released in 1966
Release date:
Mar 01, 1966
Filming date:
Aug 15, 1965
Filming location:
Shea Stadium, New York City, USA

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.


From Wikipedia:

The Beatles at Shea Stadium is a fifty-minute-long documentary of the Beatles’ concert at Shea Stadium in New York City on 15 August 1965, the highlight of the group’s 1965 tour. The documentary was directed and produced by Bob Precht (under the Sullivan Productions banner), NEMS Enterprises (which owns the 1965 copyright), and the Beatles company Subafilms. The project, placed under the direction of manager of production operations M. Clay Adams, was filmed by a large crew led by cinematographer Andrew Laszlo. Fourteen cameras were used to capture the euphoria and mass hysteria that was Beatlemania in America in 1965. The documentary first aired on BBC1 on 1 March 1966. In West Germany, it aired on 2 August that year. It aired in the United States on ABC on 10 January 1967.


The film captures not only the concert, the attendance of which was 55,600, the largest Beatles concert up to that time, but also the events leading up to the concert, including the Beatles’ helicopter ride from Manhattan to Flushing Meadows, their preparation in the dressing room (i.e. the visiting baseball team’s locker) at Shea Stadium, and clips from the show’s other acts, including Motown singer Brenda Holloway (“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”), King Curtis (“Soul Twist”), Sounds Incorporated (“Fingertips”), and Killer Joe Piro and The Discothèque Dancers (“It’s Not Unusual”, “Downtown”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”), managed by Jerry Weintraub. Murray the K, Neil Aspinall, Nat Weiss, with his step-son Shaun Weiss, Mal Evans, Brian Epstein, and announcer Cousin Brucie Morrow are also featured. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were also in attendance. Marvin Gaye was introduced but did not perform. The Young Rascals and Cannibal & the Headhunters also performed but were not featured in the documentary. The concert had been presented by promoter Sid Bernstein. Television host Ed Sullivan introduced the band when they took the stage: “Now, ladies and gentlemen, honored by their country, decorated by their Queen, and loved here in America, here are The Beatles!”

The film is not a completely accurate representation of the actual concert performance. The songs “She’s a Woman” and “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby” are omitted from the film due to time and likely camera reel change issues (audio of the latter song was released on The Beatles Anthology Volume 2 CD). The audio for the songs that remained went through a heavy post-production process as well. Some songs were treated with overdubs, or even re-recorded entirely, by the Beatles at London’s CTS Studios on 5 January 1966, to cover audio problems throughout the concert recording. In addition, the audio for “Twist and Shout” comes from a show at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964, and the audio for “Act Naturally” was simply replaced by the studio version of the song (released on the Help! LP in Britain and on the B-side of “Yesterday” in the US), speeded up slightly and poorly edited to sync up to the film.

The Beatles at Shea Stadium was also shown in cinemas in the United States. The band’s friend from their years in Hamburg, Klaus Voormann, designed the advertisements used to promote the film.

Although the film has not been officially available on DVD or VHS (except via a 1978 release by Media Home Entertainment that was successfully sued by Northern Songs), it has been widely available on the bootleg circuit for decades, including in a “raw audio” form that restores the original Shea Stadium audio track. A thirty-minute 4K restoration of the concert was about to be issued simultaneously with the release of the Ron Howard film The Beatles: Eight Days a Week on 15 September 2016, although added to the cinema showings of the film, it was absent in home video due to a lawsuit over the film rights.

The band played a further concert at Shea Stadium on 23 August 1966. […]


One of their biggest-ever concerts began their 1965 US tour in New York. The concert, at Shea Stadium, was filmed (by 12 cameras) for a proposed TV special.

As soon as the filmed footage was edited it became apparent that the recorded sound was well below par and not suitable for broadcast. Therefore on January 5, 1966 The Beatles went to CTS Studios in London and overdubbed and in some cases completely re-recorded most of the songs but due to time restraints they had to substitute “Act Naturally” with the studio version and “Twist and Shout” with the live 1965 Hollywood Bowl recording.

The editing of the film footage was also a bit of a mess with footage from wrong songs inserted throughout plus they decided to begin the entire special with “I`m Down” which actually ended the concert – strange. So despite the beautiful quality of the colour film the final special was a bit of a mess.

The special was eventually aired in England, in black and white, in March 1966 (also repeated in August 1966) and eventually aired in America in January 1967 (almost 18 months after it was filmed!).

Apple now own the complete unedited film of the concert and some footage and audio were remastered and released in stunning quality on “The Beatles Anthology” specials in 1995.

In September 2016, Apple remastered the concert footage from the Shea TV Special into 5.1 and released it in selected theatres as a bonus to the new Ron Howard documentary “Eight Days a Week” and that`s where it has remained despite rumours that Apple would be releasing it on Blu Ray.

Hopefully it gets released one day. The bootlegged versions of this concert special have been numerous and confusing with almost every release claiming to be the best quality in picture and sound. Few have lived up to their proclamations.

When the Beatles came to view the finished work, they were amazed by the quality of the film. It was very pretty, with lots of edited-in footage of them in the helicopter, flying over New York on the way to Shea, and them backstage chatting. The sound was brilliant. The synchs and overdubs, seamless. We never told the Ed Sullivan people, or anyone else.

Tony Bramwell – From “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles“, 2005

The film of the Shea concert can be found by collectors, but is not easily found commercially. Why do you think that is? -And what are the chances we may get an official release on CD?

That’s another “Beatles mystery” that comes up a lot. The making and broadcasting of the film is covered pretty thoroughly in the last section of the book. The videos circulating among collectors and on the internet are decent documentaries of the Shea concert, but are really bootlegs. They’re copies, and usually copies from copies, taken from the film that was edited by M. Clay Adams back in 1965 and early 1966. They’re not great quality when compared to concert films today.

The TV special has never been officially released, but has been completely restored from the original negative and locked away in the “vault” at Apple. We’ve seen segments of it in “The Beatles Anthology” and the film “Imagine: John Lennon.” When I first saw that segment in the “Imagine” film on the big screen in a movie theater, it pretty much knocked me back in my seat. The difference from what I was used to seeing was stunning.

So can you imagine seeing the entire Shea Stadium concert like that? It exists and again, the story behind it is in the book. Also the original, raw audio from the concert has been restored and remixed into stereo. There’s a hint of the final result on “Anthology” when we finally get to hear George sing “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby.” That song was cut from the television special. But the “Anthology” track is in mono, which is another mystery because like I said, the entire concert had been remixed before that release in true stereo.

While writing the book I was given the opportunity to hear that song and “She’s A Woman,” also absent from the TV special, in the remixed stereo format. That not only knocked me back into my seat but pretty much on the floor. It sounded amazing. People sometimes say The Beatles didn’t sound all that great live because they couldn’t hear themselves over the screaming. But by using the same studio technology that goes into just about every live album you can think of, you can hear what a great band the Beatles were live. Even if they couldn’t hear themselves, they were playing off the instincts they had developed performing together for hours at a time in Liverpool and Hamburg.

Dave Schwensen – Author of “The Beatles at Shea Stadium“, 2013 – From The Beatles at Shea Stadium: An Interview with Dave Schwensen (

From The Beatles at Shea Stadium (TV Movie 1966) – IMDb
From Record Mirror – January 22, 1966
From Record Mirror – February 26, 1966 – According to Barry Miles, “Press advertisements for the show were designed by The Beatles’ old friend from Hamburg, artist and musician Klaus Voormann.”
From Record Mirror – March 5, 1966
From Record Mirror – March 12, 1966

Last updated on October 23, 2023


Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *