Late Night Line-Up (partially found Beatles "Abbey Road" special; 1969)

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An animation cel from the "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" sequence.

Status: Partially Found

An article from New Musical Express covering the TV special. Dated 13 September 1969

Late Night Line-Up was a pioneering British television discussion program broadcast on BBC2 between 1964 and 1972. On Friday 19th September, the program devoted an entire 33-minute show to highlight the then-upcoming Beatles album Abbey Road. The program featured short music videos of each of the album's songs (except Oh Darling, I Want You (She's So Heavy) and She Came In Through The Bathroom Window).

Background[edit | edit source]

According to Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn's book The Complete Beatles Chronicle, the special was produced in cooperation with The Beatles' company Apple Corps to promote their album Abbey Road, with was to be released the following week of the program's air-date. "The Beatles approached us," the BBC told the Daily Mirror. "It seems they often watch the program and they like the way pop music has been covered visually." Rowan Ayers, the editor for Line-Up, said that he planned to "illustrate the music with captions, film sequences and electronic devices."

According to The Beatles Book by Hunter Davis, Ayers recalled that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were enthusiastic about the project, John Lennon was laconic and George Harrison seemed "lost in thought".

The program first aired in the U.K. on Friday 19th September at 10:55 - 11:30 pm on BBC2 and then again on Saturday 10th October in a full repeat at 11:25 - 12:00 pm.

To this date, the entire program has not surfaced and the master tapes are presumed to have been wiped by the BBC. In October 2019, Dig Media uploaded a short 50-second clip of black and white footage believed to be from the special on to YouTube.

Content[edit | edit source]

According to recollections of people how saw the program at the time; the program began with a copy of the Abbey Road record spinning on a turntable. Each song was linked by footage of the album playing on a turntable. Fans who saw the special and other publications have reported the special was a mixture of stock footage, art-house films, dancers, animation and exclusive Beatles footage.

Come Together[edit | edit source]

The footage used was the (then unreleased) promotional video for A Day In The Life. It was originally meant for an abandoned Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band TV special planned for 1967. The footage sent to the BBC was silent, and the track Come Together placed over it by the show's producers. The version of Come Together used is a unique mono mix that has never been commercially released. In 2017, the Come Together segment was released on the TMOQ bootleg DVD The 1967 Sgt. Pepper Commemorative Issue.[1]

An animation cel from the "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" sequence. This cel features autographs from the members of The Beatles and was for sale on eBay in 2004.

Maxwell's Silver Hammer[edit | edit source]

The "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" segment was an animated short featuring The Beatles (with their mid-1969 hairstyles and breads) dressed as a barbershop quartet. In December 2004 a signed animation cel from the "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" segment of the program put up on eBay for $2.25m. The cell was listed again on eBay for $1 million USD in October 2019. This time it ended with no bids. The cell included a typed letter from the editor of Late Night Line Up, Rowan Ayres detailing the history of the cell and the special[2]

Because[edit | edit source]

Reportedly, footage from the first moon landing was used during this segment.

Octopus's Garden[edit | edit source]

Although it is unconfirmed what was featured on this segment, a mysterious music video for the song appeared on the ABC-TV Australian music video program Rage in 2001. The video is black and white footage of the film 1942 film Reap the Wild Wind mixed with 1960's bikini models. It has been speculated that this video could be from the special, however, it is more likely that it may have been produced for the ABC-TV Australian music program GTK in 1969.

Something[edit | edit source]

Although an official promotional video would later be created for Something by The Beatles themselves, the Late Night Line-Up special reportedly featured a girl dancing to the song with slides superimposed over her.

Other Content[edit | edit source]

While it is unclear what where footage could have been used on which track, other films reportedly used during the special included Scott Barlett's experimental film On/Off (1967).

On/Off (1967).

Songs Used in the Special[edit | edit source]

  1. Come Together
  2. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
  3. Here Comes The Sun
  4. Because
  5. Octopus's Garden
  6. Sun King
  7. Mean Mr Mustard/Polythene Pan
  8. Something
  9. You Never Give Me Your Money
  10. Golden Slumbers/Golden Slumber (reprise)
  11. The End

Special Footage Discovered[edit | edit source]

Discovered footage from the Late Night Lineup special uploaded to YouTube. The footage appears to have been filmed from a black and white monitor.

On October 20th, 2019, Steve Hoffman Forum user dormouse shared an uploaded video from Dig Media that contained what is believed to be 53 seconds of silent footage from the TV special. The footage is black and white and appears to be captured from a TV monitor. The same footage with audio was uploaded to Dig Media’s Twitter account.[3] It was relieved by Dig Media on their user account that the complete program was on that video. Footage containing audio was uploaded onto their Twitter account.[4]

The video shows the A Day In The Life promo video with stills from the Beatles final photo session and a dancer with superimposed psychedelic lighting. DIG Media had the footage because they were administering the video library left by sixties’ counterculture figure Jack Henry Moore.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

A letter from Late Night Line Up Editor, Rowan Ayers detailing the history of the Abbey Road special.
"A Day In The Life" promotional film (1967).
The complete animation cel in frame.
A fan recreation of the “Maxwell Silver Hammer” segment. Using their own music (“Till I Met You” by Purple Cream) over the video.
A 5 second clip from the “Come Together” promo made for the special.

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]