Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 3, 1967

George Harrison and Ravi Shankar hold a press conference

On the third day of their US trip, George Harrison, Neil Aspinall and Alexis "Magic Alex" Mardas returned to Ravi Shankar's music school in Los Angeles.

Harrison and Shankar held a press conference at the Kinnara School of Music to promote Shankar's Hollywood Bowl concert, which was taking place the following day. Harrison's wife Pattie was not present; her sister Jenny Boyd had flown from San Francisco, and the pair went sightseeing in Los Angeles.

In the evening the Harrisons and Derek Taylor attended a Mamas And The Papas recording session.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 2, 1967

George Harrison meets Ravi Shankar in Los Angeles

On the second day of their US trip, George Harrison, his wife Pattie, Neil Aspinall and Alexis "Magic Alex" Mardas paid a visit to Ravi Shankar's music school in Los Angeles.

Shankar had opened an LA branch of the Kinnara School of Music in May 1967. The Harrisons, Aspinall and Mardas watched him teach for a while, and later in the day had a meal with Shankar on Sunset Strip.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 1, 1967

George and Pattie Harrison fly to Los Angeles

George and Pattie Harrison, Alexis "Magic Alex" Mardas and Neil Aspinall flew from London to Los Angeles on this day.

We went to America in August, a couple of months after the Monterey Pop Festival. My sister-in-law at the time, Jenny Boyd (who was Jennifer Juniper in the Donovan song), had been living in San Francisco, and she'd decided she was going to come back to live in England. We all went for a day out to see her; Derek and Neil, the not-so-magic Alex, and myself and Pattie. (George Harrison, Anthology)

The Harrisons flew as Mr and Mrs Weiss, names taken from Nat Weiss, the New York director of Nemperor Artists, one of Brian Epstein's co-owned companies.

They stayed in a rented house on Blue Jay Way in Beverly Hills which belonged to the manager of Peggy Lee. George Harrison called Derek Taylor, who was living in the US, giving him directions to the house. However, Taylor got lost in the fog and, while waiting, Harrison wrote the song Blue Jay Way.

Derek Taylor got held up. He rang to say he'd be late. I told him on the phone that the house was in Blue Jay Way. And he said he could find it OK... he could always ask a cop. So I waited and waited. I felt really knackered with the flight, but I didn't want to go to sleep until he came. There was a fog and it got later and later. To keep myself awake, just as a joke to pass the time while I waited, I wrote a song about waiting for him in Blue Jay Way. There was a little Hammond organ in the corner of this house which I hadn't noticed until then... so I messed around on it and the song came. (George Harrison)

Their stay in the house was arranged by Brian Epstein, who called The Beatles' attorney Robert Fitzpatrick to enquire whether a house could be leased. Fitzpatrick persuaded the owner of the house, another entertainment attorney named Ludwig Gerber, to lend Harrison his LA residence.

Ludwig Gerber was a former US Army colonel who had managed Peggy Lee for many years. He was also a film producer and lawyer. In his house there was a Hammond S-6 organ, on which Harrison wrote Blue Jay Way.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 31, 1967

Radio London, Curzon Street, London

The Beatles' support for pirate radio didn't waver rights to the end of the golden era. Radio London closed forever on Saturday, August 5th, 1967. Today, six days earlier, Ringo popped along to the station's central London office at 17 Curson St. and recorded a brief farewell message, on behalf of all the Beatles, with the company's managing director Philip Birch. It was broadcast on London's last day.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney return to England from Greece

John, Cynthia and Julian Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Alexis "Magic Alex" Mardas and Pattie Harrison's sister Paula Boyd all returned to England from Greece on this day.

They had been in Greece to visit an island which they intended to purchase. However, the plans came to nothing as The Beatles' interest in living in the Mediterranean waned.

The party flew to London Airport from Athens. George and Pattie Harrison had returned the previous day.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 30, 1967

The Beatles - Last Day in Greece

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 29, 1967

Top 20 Song Chart for July 29, 1967

1. Light My Fire - The Doors

2. Windy - The Association

3. A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum

4. I Was Made To Love Her - Stevie Wonder

5. Soul Finger - The Bar-Kays

6. For Your Love - Peaches & Herb

7. White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane

8. Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Frankie Valli

9. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy - The Buckinghams

10. Don't Let The Rain Fall Down On Me - The Critters

11. Jackson - Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood

12. Pleasant Valley Sunday - The Monkees

13. A Girl Like You - The Rascals

14. All You Need Is Love - The Beatles

15. Silence Is Golden - The Tremeloes

16. My Mammy - The Happenings

17. San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) - Scott McKenzie

18. Hypnotized - Linda Jones

19. Make Me Yours - Bettye Swann

20. (I Wanna)Testify - The Parliaments

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 28, 1967
First : Splashing around on a Greek island
Second : Julian with his two friends, Paul and Jane.
Paul was close to Julian (John and Cynthia's son) during his childhood.
He wrote Hey Jude (supposed to be Hey Jules) for him after his parents divorced in 1968.
The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 27, 1967

Paul McCartney and Julian Lennon, Greece, July 1967.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 26, 1967

The Beatles visit a Greek island they intended to purchase

In the summer of 1967 The Beatles, encouraged by John Lennon, agreed to buy a set of Greek islands where they intended to live and work alongside family and friends.

We were all going to live together now, in a huge estate. The four Beatles and Brian would have their network at the centre of the compound: a dome of glass and iron tracery (not unlike the old Crystal Palace) above the mutual creative/play area, from which arbours and avenues would lead off like spokes from a wheel to the four vast and incredibly beautiful separate living units. In the outer grounds, the houses of the inner clique: Neil, Mal, Terry [Doran] and Derek, complete with partners, families and friends. Norfolk, perhaps, there was a lot of empty land there. What an idea! No thought of wind or rain or flood, and as for cold... there would be no more cold when we were through with the world. We would set up a chain reaction so strong that nothing could stand in our way. And why the hell not? 'They've tried everything else,' said John realistically. 'Wars, nationalism, fascism, communism, capitalism, nastiness, religion - none of it works. So why not this?'
Derek Taylor

The main island is often referred to as Leslo, although no island of that name appears to exist. It was apparently surrounded by four smaller islands upon which The Beatles were to have separate villas.

The group, minus Ringo Starr, who had left for England earlier in the day, were taken around the islands to the south of Athens aboard their hired yacht, the MV Arvi. The boat had 24 berths and a crew of eight, including the captain, a chef and two stewards.

We rented a boat and sailed it up and down the coast from Athens, looking at islands. Somebody had said we should invest some money, so we thought: 'Well, let's buy an island. We'll just go there and drop out.'

It was a great trip. John and I were on acid all the time, sitting on the front of the ship playing ukuleles. Greece was on the left; a big island on the right. The sun was shining and we sang 'Hare Krishna' for hours and hours. Eventually we landed on a little beach with a village, but as soon as we stepped off the boat it started pouring with rain. There were storms and lightning, and the only building on the island was a little fisherman's cottage - so we all piled in: ''Scuse us, squire. You don't mind if we come and shelter in your cottage, do you?'

The island was covered in big pebbles, but Alex (Alexis "Magic Alex" Mardas) said, 'It doesn't matter. We'll have the military come and lift them all off and carry them away.' But we got back on the boat and sailed away, and never thought about the island again.

The Beatles spent the early part of the day island-hopping, swimming, sunbathing and taking drugs. They then visited the island they intended to buy. NEMS employee Alistair Taylor was then sent back to London to arrange its purchase.

We went on the boat and sat around and took acid. It was good fun being with everyone, with nippier moments. For me the pace was a bit wearing. I probably could have done with some straight windows occasionally, I'd have enjoyed it a bit more. But nothing came of that, because we went out there and thought, We've done it now. That was it for a couple of weeks. Great, wasn't it? Now we don't need it. Having been out there, I don't think we needed to go back. Probably the best way to not buy a Greek island is to go out there for a bit.

It's a good job we didn't do it, because anyone who tried those ideas realised eventually there would always be arguments, there would always be who has to do the washing-up and whose turn it is to clean out the latrines. I don't think any of us were thinking of that. (Paul McCartney)

The Beatles were required to buy special export dollars before applying to the Greek government for permission to spend them. Alistair Taylor eventually got clearance for the purchase of the islands, but by that time the group had moved on. The £90,000-worth of dollars was sold back to the government, and the value had risen giving The Beatles £11,400 profit on the unrealised deal.
It was about the only time The Beatles ever made any money on a business venture. To make the purchase, we'd changed the money into international dollars or some currency. Then, when they changed the money back, the exchange rate had gone up and so we made about twenty shillings or so. (George Harrison)
The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 25, 1967

John Lennon and Ringo Starr go sightseeing in Athens

The Beatles had arrived in Athens, Greece, some days earlier with a view to buying a set of Greek islands. However, their hired yacht was delayed due to a storm off the Cretan coast, leaving them stuck in Athens for several days.

The yacht finally arrived in Athens on this day. The MV Arvi had 24 berths and a crew of eight, including the captain, a chef and two stewards. The party set sail the following day to look at suitable islands.

While they were waiting, Paul McCartney and George Harrison chose to stay at the Athens family home of their Greek host Alexis "Magic Alex" Mardas, while John Lennon and Ringo Starr went shopping for musical instruments.