by Ben Lewis
11 November, 2017
My latest film ‘The Beatles, Hippies and Hells Angels’ gets its US premiere next Tuesday at DOCS NYC. It’s the story of the chapter of their life the Beatles would rather no one told: the unauthorised story of the Beatles Apple Corps, with unseen archive photos, interviews with former employees and signed acts speaking for the first time and amazing animation from my soul brother, Fons Schiedon. The film also features special performances by Brute Force, Black Dyke Mills Band and Joey Molland from Badfinger. If you are in New York next Tues or Weds, come to a screening!
It’s 1967 and the Beatles face a major problem: they are the most famous, commercially successful band ever, but their tax bills could bankrupt them. Their answer is to invest their money in a new company, Apple Corps.
Today Apple Corps mostly just runs the Beatles back catalogue, but for five glorious years in the late sixties, it was one of the most colourful, outlandish and chaotic companies that ever existed. The Beatles set up a fashion shop, hair dressing salon, tech start-up (Apple before Apple), poetry division, film production department and of course their own record label. The idea was to spread the values of the new Hippie movement around the world. But things will go wrong, if you drop acid during office hours…. In this unauthorised film, the true story behind Apple, an unrepeatable experiment in Hippie Capitalism is told for the first time, by the people who worked for the company, from record label executives and the Beatles personal assistants to the office boys and secretaries. Their inside stories are illustrated by never-before-seen archives of photographs taken in Apple’s offices, plus specially-commissioned animation and rare archive footage. What emerges is a comic cautionary tale about the peaks and pitfalls of Hippie-dom. As Beatles longtime assistant Tony Bramwell says “How can you be a Hippie, when you are earning a million pounds a week?”
The film is narrated by the legendary counterculture San Francisco activist, actor and author Peter Coyote, who visited Apple Corps with the Hells Angels in Xmas 1967.
The film is distributed by Red Arrow Entertainment.