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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 27, 1967

John Lennon’s Rolls Royce, 27th May 1967

 

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 26, 1967


The Beatles masterpiece, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released in the UK, one week before its American debut. The album took over 700 hours to record under the direction of George Martin and cost $75,000 to produce. A then state-of-the-art four track recorder was used to build each song layer by layer. The LP spent 22 weeks at the top of the UK albums chart and 15 weeks at number one in the US. The iconic album cover, depicting the band posing in front of a collage of celebrities and historical figures, was designed by English pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth based on a sketch by Paul McCartney.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 25, 1967

Recording: It’s All Too Much

De Lane Lea Recording Studios, London
Engineer: Dave Siddle

The Beatles recorded away from EMI Studios once again on this day, moving to the independent De Lane Lea Studios, then situated at 129 Kingsway, London.

The purpose of the session was the recording of George Harrison's song It's All Too Much for the Yellow Submarine film soundtrack. Neither producer George Martin nor balance engineer Geoff Emerick were available, so the studio's in-house engineer Dave Siddle and tape operator Mike Weighell did the honours.

Following considerable rehearsals the backing track for It's All Too Much was recorded in four takes on this day, though at this point the song was known simply as Too Much. It featured organ, bass guitar, distorted lead guitar and drums. The session took place from 7pm-2.30am.

Work on It's All Too Much continued at De Lane Lea on May 31st and June 2, 1967.

 

Source: Beatles Bible

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 24, 1967

The Beatles watch Procol Harum perform in London

All four members of The Beatles went to the Speakeasy in London on this day to watch new band Procol Harum perform.

The Speakeasy was a nightclub situated in the basement of 48 Margaret Street, W1. Managed by Roy Flinn and Mike Carey, it opened on 4 January 1967, and The Beatles often visited.

Procol Harum's debut single A Whiter Shade Of Pale was released on 12 May 1967. John Lennon, in particular, was a big fan of the song.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 23, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 22, 1967

On May 22nd 1967 it was announced that The Beatles would represent the BBC (and ultimately England) in the World's first worldwide television satellite link-up, to take place on the 25th June. They would be shown working "live" on a new song.
At this time in May, the song hadn't even be written ... then just one month later a finished piece that encapsulated the Summer of Love, Flower Power, the entire period, and would be an anthem to the sixties.

First thing to note on the label, is the very first time George Martin received credit as the producer on a single.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 21, 1967

During the recording of Sgt. Pepper, Brian Epstein spent time trying to kick his drug habit, including spells in the Priory in Putney, London. Today, Brian temporarily leaves Priory Hospital, in Putney, for an afternoon tea with his parents at 24 Chapel Street.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 20, 1967

The BBC bans A Day In The Life

BBC disc jockey Kenny Everett gave the official preview of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on this day, on the radio show Where It's At, broadcast on the BBC Light Programme from 4pm.

Where It's At was hosted by Chris Denning, but included a pre-recorded two-part feature by Everett about the album. This feature included pre-recorded interviews with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

The feature sections were heard at the beginning and end of Denning's 90-minute show. Lennon spoke about the title track and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, and mentioned the group's use of artificial double tracking (ADT) in the studio. Starr discussed The Beatles' past year, and McCartney spoke about why the album had taken so long to appear.

Extracts from every Sgt Pepper song were broadcast, apart from one. Everett was unable to play the album's final track - A Day In The Life as the corporation had banned it the previous day on the grounds that it promoted a permissive attitude towards drug taking.

Also on this day, John and Cynthia Lennon, George and Pattie Harrison and Brian Epstein took afternoon tea at Sunny Heights, the house owned by Ringo Starr and his wife Maureen.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 19, 1967

Press launch for Sgt Pepper

Shortly ahead of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a press launch was held at Brian Epstein's house at 24 Chapel Street, London.

Epstein had bought the house on  December 20, 1964, and lived there until his death on August 27, 1967. He hosted many parties at the house, the best-remembered of which was this press party for The Beatles' masterpiece.

Around a dozen selected journalists and broadcasters were invited to attend the event. Several photographers were also present, among them Linda Eastman, who had met her future husband Paul McCartney just four days previously.

I took my portfolio over to Brian Epstein's office and left it with his assistant, Peter Brown... Peter Brown got back in touch and said that Brian had liked my portfolio and invited me to a press launch for Sgt Pepper at Brian's home.

Peter also said that Brian wanted to buy copies of two of my photos - one of Keith Moon wearing a lace cravat and one of Brian Jones at The Rolling Stones boat party.

So I went to the press launch where Sgt Pepper was played for the first time to the media, to take my first photographs of The Beatles. Because I was so used to working almost exclusively with black-and-white I didn't have any color film with me, and had to get some from another photographer. I eventually sold a color print of The Beatles from this session for $100 and I thought that I had it made!

The Beatles were photographed in Epstein's drawing room and on the steps outside the front door. The guests were served champagne, poached salmon and caviar. (Linda McCartney).

 

 

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 18, 1967

The Serpentine, Hyde Park May 18th 1967

On May 18, 1967, The Beatles had a photo session in Hyde Park with Marvin Lichtner from Time Magazine. Mal Evans was along for the ride, and a couple of his photos can be seen in The Beatles Monthly Book no. 49. This photo session was overshadowed at the time by the next day's event: The press party for the release of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
But they are nice, these photos, and they only pop up occasionally, so today's blog will be about them.
Paul was driven to the location by Terry Doran, while the three others arrived from the suburbs in John Lennon's psychedelically painted Rolls Royce. Or did they? The photo underneath is dated as May 18th. The car had recently been painted, so this may have been one of it's first outings in the new design - or is it too early? In fact, the invoice for the work and materials used are dated May 24th. The artist responsible for the painting, Steve Weaver worked on the car over at J.P. Fallon Painters, and there are photos of the car being unveiled on May 26th, so the inclusion of the photo here is a puzzle.