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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 16, 1969

Ringo Starr boards the “Queen Elizabeth II” to sail to the US for the filming of “The Magic Christian.” He travels with his wife, Maureen and their two children, Peter Sellers, and George and Pattie Harrison. John Lennon and Yoko Ono are scheduled to join Ringo and the others on the trip, but had to cancel at the last moment, because John does not get his visa.

John Lennon is refused a visa by the US Embassy in London; they cite his 1968 drug conviction as the reason. John's plans for a Bed-In in New York will have to be scrapped. Instead, Lennon and Ono were left on the dock at Southampton. The experience echoed their failed attempt to marry on a ferry to France in March 1969, which found its way into the opening lines of The Ballad Of John And Yoko.

The trip was laid on by Commonwealth United, the company which funded the film The Magic Christian, which Starr had a lead role in. With principal photography recently completed, the holiday was by way of thanks to the cast and crew for finishing on time and on budget.

The luxury cruise ship arrived in New York on 22 May 1969, and from there the party flew to the Bahamas for a two-week holiday.

Starr gave an interview to the Associated Press agency before the ship set sail. In it he discussed a previous job as a waiter on board a steam ship that sailed between Liverpool and north Wales while he was a teenager.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 15, 1969

John Lennon goes to the US Embassy in London, to try to get an American visa.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 14, 1969

In UK Get Back by Beatles With Billy Preston was in the top 5 hits.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 13, 1969

In early May 1969, photographer Angus McBean and the Beatles returned to EMI House to recreate the cover photo from the "Please Please Me" LP for their upcoming LP, "Get Back".  However Angus found that EMI had constructed a new porch which prevented him from photographing the Beatles from the exact same perspective as he had done in 1963. Pictures from this day feature John and George wearing different jacket.

When EMI House heard that the exact photo angle could not be replicated, they agreed to have the new porch taken down temporarily. The Beatles and Angus then returned on May 13 1969 at 6pm for another attempt. Pictures from this day feature John and George wearing pin stripe suits (their 1966 tour suits).

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 12, 1969

In UK Get Back by Beatles With Billy Preston was in the top 5 hits.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 11, 1969

Today George Harrison accepted an invitation to perform on singer and bassist Jack Bruce's debut solo album. He arrived early for the session, and recorded a rhythm guitar part for the song Never Tell Your Mother She's Out Of Tune.

The album was Songs For A Tailor, which was released later in 1969. Harrison's guitar part became largely buried in the mix, but performed some distorted chords as part of the backing track.

For contractual reasons Harrison's name didn't appear on the album credits. Instead, the pseudonym he had used for the recording of Badge, L'Angelo Misterioso, made a reappearance.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 10, 1969

No news to report today

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 9, 1969

The Beatles launch their new Zapple label, reserved for avant-garde and spoken-word recordings. This day marks the UK release of LPs by John Lennon and George Harrison. The first release on the Zapple label is John Lennon / Yoko Ono’s Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions. Tracks: Cambridge 1969, No Bed For Beatle John, Baby's Heartbeat, Two Minutes Silence, and Radio Play. The second album released on the Zapple label is George Harrison’s Electronic Sound. Tracks: Under the Mersey Wall and No Time or Space. Despite the plans for a series of poetry LPs and similar literary ventures, notably an album of Allen Ginsberg performing the works of William Blake, Zapple never releases another record.

Paul McCartney, using the pseudonym Paul Ramon, assists Steve Miller in the recording of the song My Dark Hour. Paul plays bass and drums, and sings backing vocals.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 8, 1969

John Lennon and Yoko Ono conduct a lengthy interview with David Wigg for the Radio 1 program "Scene and Heard," which is broadcast in two parts, on May 11 and May 18. This is put on record a decade later as part of The Beatles Tapes.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 7, 1969

-The battle for control of The Beatles' Northern Songs continues. Late last month, the Beatles made a $5.1 million counter offer to Northern Songs stockholders in an attempt to thwart ATV's bid to win control of the company. Today, representatives of Warner Brothers-Seven Arts are expected in London to discuss the purchase of 15% of the company.

In UK Get Back by Beatles With Billy Preston was in the top 5 hits.