Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 4, 1967

McCartney and Harrison watch Jimi Hendrix in London

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr had first seen The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing in January 1967 at the Bag O'Nails club in London. On this day McCartney and George Harrison watched them headline a bill at the city's Saville Theatre.

The bill also included Denny Laine & His Electric String Band, The Chiffons and Procol Harum. Hendrix opened his set with a version of the title track from The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, which had been released just three days before.

It would be one of his first gigs in London. Jimi was a sweetie, a very nice guy. I remember him opening at the Saville on a Sunday night, 4 June 1967. Brian Epstein used to rent it when it was usually dark on the Sunday. Jimi opened, the curtains flew back and he came walking forward, playing 'Sgt. Pepper', and it had only been released on the Thursday so that was like the ultimate compliment. It's still obviously a shining memory for me, because I admired him so much anyway, he was so accomplished. To think that that album had meant so much to him as to actually do it by the Sunday night, three days after the release. He must have been so into it, because normally it might take a day for rehearsal and then you might wonder whether you'd put it in, but he just opened with it. It's a pretty major compliment in anyone's book. I put that down as one of the great honours of my career. I mean, I'm sure he wouldn't have thought of it as an honour, I'm sure he thought it was the other way round, but to me that was like a great boost.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Here's a performance of the song by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 3, 1967

The night Jimi Hendrix played "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band to The Beatles, June 3, 1967

Jimi Hendrix made a public display of his admiration for The Beatles when their seminal classic 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' was released during the 'Summer of Love' in 1967.

Purchasing the record on the day of its release, he performed the title track just two days later at the Saville Theatre in London's Shaftesbury Avenue.

Unbeknown to Hendrix, some of The Beatles were actually in the audience, listening intently to his audacious performance.

Speaking at a later date, Paul McCartney spoke of his honour of the tribute, calling the performance "simply incredible, perhaps the best I have ever seen him play".

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 2, 1967

US album release: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The day after it was released in the United Kingdom, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely HEarts Club Band was issued in the United States of America.

Sgt Pepper was issued as Capitol MAS 6253 (mono) and SMAS 2653 (stereo). It topped the Billboard chart for 15 weeks, and in 1968 won four Grammy Awards: Album of the Year; Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts; Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical; Contemporary Album. It was nominated for a further three: Group Vocal Performance; Contemporary Vocal Group; Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists (for A Day In The Life).

Sgt Pepper was the first Beatles album to be released with identical track listings in both the UK and USA, as stipulated by the group. As it was arguably their first long-player to be a conceptual whole rather than a straightforward collection of songs, it was important to them that Capitol issued it in the form envisaged by the creators.

US copies of Sgt Pepper, however, didn't include the high-pitched run-out whistle following A Day In The Life, nor the gibberish in the side two runout groove.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 1, 1967

De Lane Lea Recording Studios, London

Engineer: Dave Siddle

On the evening that the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album had its UK release, The Beatles went to De Lane Lea Studios at 129 Kingsway, London, where between 10.30pm and 3.30am they recorded a number of instrumental jams.

The group had used the independent studio for the recording of It's All Too Much on May 25 and May 31st, 1967. For those sessions producer George Martin was not present, but he did attend this session.

The results of this session have never been officially released, and the most detailed description was provided by Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn:

On this day, 1 June 1967, perhaps the most celebrated day in their career, The Beatles went into the studio and recorded nothing but untitled, unplanned, highly tedious and - frankly - amateurish instrumental jams, with a bass guitar, an organ, lead guitar with reverb, guitar strings being scraped, drums and tambourine. the single-minded channelling of their great talent so evident on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band did seem, for the moment, to have disappeared.
Source: Mark Lewisohn
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions

The Beatles returned to De Lane Lea on the following day to continue work on It's All Too Much, and also filled two more tape reels with untitled jamming.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 31, 1967

De Lane Lea Recording Studios, London

Back to Kingsway for a 7:00 to 12:00 pm session (George Martin still absent; the May 26th team operative again) in which George's lead vocal, John and Paul's backing vocal, additional percussion and handclaps were overdubbed onto a new reduction mixdown of "It's All Too Much". (This session was incorrectly reported in the Recording Sessions book as May 26th).

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 30, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording at De Lane Lea Recording Studios in London.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 29, 1967

Actress Jane Asher and boyfriend Beatle Paul McCartney pictured at Heathrow Airport.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 28, 1967

The Beatles attend a party at Brian Epstein’s country house

The Beatles, minus Paul McCartney, attended a party at Brian Epstein's country house, Kingsley Hill in Warbleton near Heathfield in Sussex on this day.

Epstein had recently bought the house for £25,000, and the party was a joint housewarming and a celebration for the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The roads leading to the house were adorned with balloons for the occasion.

In addition to The Beatles and their wives, it was attended by a number of friends and celebrities including composer Lionel Bart and The Beatles' former press officer Derek Taylor.

This was Taylor's initiation to LSD; he was given the drug by John Lennon. The pair spent much of the party in Lennon's Rolls-Royce listening to Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale. It was also Cynthia Lennon's third and final experience taking LSD.

Brian was having a party at the country house he'd bought in Sussex and John and I traveled down in the Rolls with a group of friends. On the journey everyone took LSD and I, against my better judgement but carried away by the jolly atmosphere in the car, decided to join in. Again, it was an awful mistake.

At Brian's house I followed John around, hoping he would comfort me as I went through what was, for me, a horrible experience. But he was not in a good mood: he glared at me and treated me as if I were a stranger. I felt desolate. Upstairs I found an open bedroom window and contemplated jumping out. For a few minutes, ending it all seemed like an easy solution: a chasm had opened between John and me, and I had no idea how to bring us back together.

Someone called my name, I turned back into the room and the fleeting thought passed. But I was low. For the first time I had to consider the very real possibility that my marriage might not survive.

Cynthia Lennon

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.