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Beatles 50th Blog

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.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 17, 1967

Recording: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Recording began for one of The Beatles' most bizarre songs on this day. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) was taped, mixed and edited over a number of sessions between this day and November 1969, and it remained unreleased until March 1970.

The Beatles arrived at Studio Two on this day with no songs in mind, and without the presence of producer George Martin; in his place the session was supervised by balance engineer Geoff Emerick.

You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was inspired by a telephone directory that John Lennon saw at Paul McCartney's London home. It was originally envisaged as a 15-minute mantra.

The final recording was made up of five discrete parts, and during this session the first part was recorded. The Beatles taped 14 takes of the rhythm track, with guitars, bass and drums, and take 10 was labelled the best for the time being. The song was then set aside until June 7, 1967, when overdubs were added to take nine.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 16, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 15, 1967

Paul McCartney meets Linda Eastman

On this evening The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein hosted a dinner party to mark the completion of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Afterwards Paul McCartney went to the Bag O'Nails nightclub to see Georgie Fame performing. At the club McCartney had his first encounter with his future wife, Linda Eastman.

The Bag O'Nails was situated in the basement of 9 Kingly Street in Soho, London. The Beatles were regular visitors, particularly in 1967 and 1968, and McCartney had his own private table there.

The night I met Linda I was in the Bag O'Nails watching Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames play a great set. Speedy was banging away. She was there with the Animals, who she knew from photographing them in New York. They were sitting a couple of alcoves down, near the stage. The band had finished and they got up to either leave or go for a drink or a pee or something, and she passed our table. I was near the edge and stood up just as she was passing, blocking her exit. And so I said, 'Oh, sorry. Hi. How are you? How're you doing?' I introduced myself, and said, 'We're going on to another club after this, would you like to join us?'

That was my big pulling line! Well, I'd never used it before, of course, but it worked this time! It was a fairly slim chance but it worked. She said, 'Yes, okay, we'll go on. How shall we do it?' I forget how we did it. 'You come in our car' or whatever, and we all went on, the people I was with and the Animals, we went on to the Speakeasy.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

The Speakeasy was a club on Margaret Street, where they heard Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale for the first time.

We flirted a bit, and then it was time for me to go back with them and Paul said, 'Well, we're going to another club. You want to come?' I remember everybody at the table heard A Whiter Shade Of Pale that night for the first time and we all thought, Who is that? Stevie Winwood? We all said Stevie. The minute that record came out, you just knew you loved it. That's when we actually met. Then we went back to his house. We were in the Mini with I think Lulu and Dudley Edwards, who painted Paul's piano; Paul was giving him a lift home. I was impressed to see his Magrittes.

Linda McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

 

The pair met again four days later, on May 19, 1967, when Eastman attended the press party for Sgt Pepper at Brian Epstein's house at 24 Chapel Street, London.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 14, 1967

The Beatles enjoying a little break between recording.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 13, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.