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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 12, 1966

The Beatles were given three prestigious Ivor Novello awards on this day in recognition of their outstanding achievements in 1965.

Yesterday was judged to be the most outstanding song of the year. The other two awards were for sales: We Can Work It Out was the top-selling single of 1965, while Help! was the second-best selling.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 11, 1966

The Beatles recovering and having jet lag from the tour.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 10, 1966

Today was a day of rest and relaxation for The Beatles.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 9, 1966

Saturday, 9 July 1966

It was Saturday, under the sign of Cancer. The US president was Lyndon B. Johnson (Democratic). In that special week of July people in US were listening to Paperback Writer by The Beatles. In UK Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks was in the top 5 hits. Torn Curtain, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was one of the most viewed movies released in 1966 while Valley Of The Dolls by Jacqueline Susann was one of the best selling books.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 8, 1966

Travel: India to England

Following their first trip to India, The Beatles returned to England on this day.

They arrived at London Airport at 6am. A brief press conference was held, and George Harrison and Ringo Starr were interviewed by the radio show Today on the BBC Home Service.

The following is a transcript of The Beatles' interview with the ITV network.

Q: At the airport, did they come up and start physically threatening you?

Paul McCartney: We got to the airport and our road managers had a lot of trouble trying to get the equipment in because the escalators had been turned off, and things. So we got there, and we got put into the transit lounge. And we got pushed around from one corner of the lounge to another, you know.

John Lennon: 'You're treated like ordinary passenger! Ordinary passenger!' Ordinary passenger, what, he doesn't get kicked, does he?

McCartney: And so they started knocking over our road managers and things, and everyone was falling all over the place.

Q: That started worrying you, when the road manager got knocked over.

McCartney: Yeah, and I swear there were 30 of 'em.

Q: What do you say there were?

Lennon: Well, I saw sort of five in sort of outfits, you know, that were doing the actual kicking and booing and shouting.

Q: Did you get kicked any?

Lennon: No, I was very delicate and moved every time they touched me. But I was petrified. I could have been kicked and not known it, you know. We'll just never go to any nuthouses again.

Q: Would you go to Manila again, George?

George Harrison: No, I didn't even want to go that time.

Lennon: Me too.

Harrison: Because we'd heard that it was a terrible place anyway, and when we got there. It was proved.

Source: The Beatles Bible

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 7, 1966

The Beatles go sightseeing in India

The day after their arrival in India, The Beatles managed to sneak out of their New Delhi hotel, the Oberoi, and did some sightseeing.

Ringo Starr: That was our first time in India, and it was quite interesting; but we had a bad day when the guys from British Airways took us out to see a camel drawing water - they go round in circles to work the pump where the water comes out. You could always tell the people who worked for BA in Delhi, because they all wore ties even though it was about 300 degrees in the shade. One guy thought it would be a bit of fun to jump on the poor animal that was walking round - probably that was all it would ever do in its life, drag this harness and draw the water. It was crazy, so we all got a bit angry with him.

But then we went shopping, and going around looking at the shops is probably the biggest memory of that time in Delhi. We were offered huge pieces of ivory carvings, and we thought it was all too expensive - huge chess pieces, which would now be antiques and worth fortunes. But I'm glad we didn't buy it; even in those days we were thinking not to buy ivory.

The Beatles each bought Indian instruments from Rikhi Ram & Sons, a shop on New Delhi's Connaught Circle.

George Harrison: I bought a sitar. I had a guy bring them over - again, we couldn't really get out easily. I bought a sitar off a man called Rikhi Ram, whose shop is still there in Delhi to this day.

We got in cars and had a ride out of Delhi to see what it looked like. That was quite an eye-opener. We were in enormous old late-1950s Cadillacs, and we went to a little village and got out of the cars. We all had Nikon cameras, and that was when it first sunk into me about the poverty. There were little kids coming up to us with flies all over them and asking for money: 'Baksheesh! Baksheesh!' Our cameras were worth more money than the whole village would earn in a lifetime. It was a very strange feeling seeing this: Cadillacs and poverty.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 6, 1966

The Beatles arrived in India for the first time, following a brief refueling stop in Bangkok, early in the morning of 6 July 1966.

Although they had hoped to spend time in India resting and discovering the country's music, their stay was anything but relaxing.

George Harrison: Before the tour was planned, I had an arrangement made that on the return journey from the Philippines to London I would stop off in India, because I wanted to go and check it out and buy a good sitar. I had asked Neil if he would come with me, because I didn't want to be in India on my own. He agreed, and we had booked for the two of us to get off in Delhi.

Somewhere between leaving London and going through Germany and Japan to the Philippines, one by one the others had all sad, 'I think I'll come, too.' But we got to Delhi and, after the experience in the Philippines, the others didn't want to know. They didn't want another foreign country - they wanted to go home.

I was feeling a little bit like that myself; I could have gone home. But I was in Delhi, and as I had made the decision to get off there I thought, 'Well, it will be OK. At least in India they don'' know The Beatles. We'll slip in to this nice ancient country, and have a bit of peace and quiet.'

The others were saying, 'See you around , then - we're going straight home.' Then the stewardess came down the plane and said, 'Sorry, you've got to get off. We've sold your seats on to London,' and she made them all leave the plane.

So we got off. It was night-time, and we were standing there waiting for our baggage, and then the biggest disappointment I had was a realisation of the extent of the fame of The Beatles - because there were so many dark faces in the night behind a wire mesh fence, all shouting, 'Beatles! Beatles!' and following us.

We got in the car and drove off, and they were all on little scooters, with the Sikhs in turbans all going, ''hi, Beatles, Beatles!' I thought, 'Oh, no! Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but Beatles have nowhere to lay their heads.'

The Beatles managed to sneak out using the hotel's rear exit, and did some sightseeing and shopping.

George Harrison - Delhi was a really funny feeling. I'm sure a lot of people have had this experience when they go there. In the parts of New Delhi that were built by the British, it isn't the little streets you might expect: we were on big wide roads, dual carriageways with roundabouts.

The amazing thing was that there were so many people out there. All the roundabouts had hundreds and hundreds of people sitting in the dark, a lot of them squatting in groups, including old guys with pipes. There were crowds of people everywhere. I was thinking, 'God! What's happened?' It was as if the Superbowl was on, or there'd been a big disaster, with all the people milling around. Then you get to realise that's how it is - there are a lot of people there.

 
The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 5, 1966

The Beatles finally left Manila International Airport at 4:45 pm on July 5th and headed for New Delhi, India. Anticipating a few days of peaceful rest and exploration of Indian music, the four harassed musicians found that 600 fans were on hand to greet them at the airport and besiege their hotel. Eventually, the group returned to England, touching down at London Airport at 6:00 am on July 8th. A brief press meeting followed, during which George and Ringo were interviewed by BBC staff reporter Tom Mangold, 2 minutes and 45 seconds of which was broadcast in the morning's Home Service news-magazine radio program Today (7:15 to 7:45, also repeated in the 8:15 to 8:40 edition).

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 4, 1966

The Beatles leave the Philippines

Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, Vito Cruz St., Manila, Luzon, The Phillippines

The calm before the storm, two performances before a total of 80,000 fans, 30,000 at the afternoon show and 50,000 in the evening.

The Beatles had never intended to snub the Philippines' First Lady, Imelda Marcos, however, on this day they awoke to chaotic scenes as a result of the misunderstanding.

The Manila Times newspaper carried a front-page story accusing The Beatles of "snubbing the First Lady and the three Marcos children," leading to serious ramifications for the group. Just after eight that morning a man in a shiny suit carrying a brown briefcase came to deliver an envelope for Brian Epstein: 'Here is your bill for the income tax due on The Beatles' fee.' Our contract with Cavalcade, as with most concert promoters outside the UK, was very precise on the matter of local taxes. The responsibility for payment belonged with the promoter. Ramon Ramos Jr was contractually liable for the settlement of any tax bills. But the taxman insisted that the full fee was taxed as earnings regardless of any other contracts.

His words were confirmed by the Manila Daily Mirror headline: BEATLES TOLD: PAY NOW, LEAVE LATER. The newspapers carried hostile headlines such as FURORE OVER BEATLES SNUB DAMPENS SHOW and IMELDA STOOD UP: FIRST FAMILY WAITS IN VAIN FOR MOPHEADS. According to a palace spokesperson, The Beatles had 'spit in the eye of the First Family.' It was also reported quite erroneously that The Beatles had requested an audience with Imelda Marcos in the first place, the one press story that brought forth hollow laughter from the boys.

 

From then on The Beatles' troubles escalated. Staff at the Hotel Manila refused to provide room service or to handle their baggage, although their driver remained loyal. The group's press officer Tony Barrow and NEMS employee Vic Lewis travelled ahead to the airport to check in.

 

Eventually the group's manager Brian Epstein filed a bond for Pesos 74,450 to settle the tax levy, leaving NEMS Enterprises with a financial loss for the Filipino leg of the tour. Contesting the matter would have been fruitless, and the priority for The Beatles' party was to leave the country at the earliest opportunity.

 

At Manila International Airport, management and staff had been instructed to give no assistance to The Beatles' party. Escalators stopped working as they approached them, forcing them to carry heavy amplifiers and instrument cases.

Once they made it on board the KLM aeroplane the turbulence continued. Tony Barrow and Mal Evans were ordered off once again. Stricken with anxiety, Evans turned to the others and said: "Tell Lil I love her," a reference to his wife.

Evans and Barrow were worried that they would miss the flight and be stuck in Manila at the mercy of the locals. To their relief, it turned out that The Beatles' party's immigration papers had not been properly processed upon their arrival. This left them technically as illegal immigrants, with potentially serious ramifications. Eventually the passports were stamped and they were free to leave.

The flight's departure time had elapsed, but Epstein and Lewis persuaded the pilot to wait for Barrow and Evans. The delay lasted 44 minutes.

Just minutes after the aeroplane left Filipino soil, a press statement was issued by President Marcos which absolved The Beatles of any wrongdoing.The Beatles' flight was bound for New Delhi, where they hoped to enjoy a relaxing break. They arrived the following day to unwelcome scenes of Beatlemania, strengthening their resolve to end touring.

 

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 3, 1966

The Beatles arrive in Manila, Philippines

In the morning of 3 July The Beatles flew from Japan to the Philippines, stopping briefly en route in Hong Kong.

Their aeroplane refuelled at Kaitak airport in Hong Kong, During the 70-minute delay The Beatles rested in the VIP lounge, before continuing the journey to Manila.

Ringo Starr - I hated the Philippines. We arrived there with thousands upon thousands of kids, with hundreds upon hundreds of policemen - and it was a little dodgy. Everyone had guns and it was really like that hot/Catholic/gun/Spanish Inquisition attitude.

Upon their arrival, The Beatles were greeted by 5,000 fans at Manila International Airport. At the time, the Philippines was a dictatorship ruled by Ferdinand Marcos, and the group's visit was a troubled one from the very beginning.

George Harrison - As soon as we got there it was bad news. There were tough gorillas - little men - who had short-sleeved shirts and acted very menacingly.

The normal proceedings in those days were that, because the mania was everywhere, we didn't pull up at an airport and get off the plane like normal people. The plane would land and it would go to the far end of the airfield where we would get off, usually with Neil Aspinall and our 'diplomatic bags' (we carried our shaving gear - and whatever - in little bags), get in a car, bypass passport control and go to the gig. Brian Epstein and the rest would go and do our passports and all that scene.

But when we got to Manila, a fellow was screaming at us, 'Leave those bags there! Get in this car!' We were being bullied for the first time. It wasn't respectful. Everywhere else - America, Sweden, Germany, wherever - even though there was a mania, there was always a lot of respect because we were famous showbiz personalities; but in Manila it was a very negative vibe from the moment we got off the plane, so we were a bit frightened.

George Harrison - We got in the car, and the guy drove off with us four, leaving Neil behind. Our bags were on the runway and I was thinking, 'This is it - we're going to get busted.'

The Beatles were driven in a cavalcade, escorted by six police motorcyclists, to the Philippine Navy Headquarters where a press conference was held. Afterwards they were taken to a private yacht owned by a wealthy Filipino named Don Manolo Elizalde, a friend of local concert promoter Ramon Ramos Jr.

George Harrison - They took us away and drove us down to Manila harbour, put us on a boat, took us out to a motor yacht that was anchored out in the harbour and they put us in this room.

It was really humid, it was Mosquito City, and we were all sweating and frightened. For the first time ever in our Beatle existence, we were cut off from Neil, Mal and Brian Epstein. There was not one of them around, and not only that, but we had a whole row of cops with guns lining the deck around this cabin that we were in on the boat. We were really gloomy, very brought down by the whole thing. We wished we hadn't come here. We should have missed it out.

The plan was for The Beatles to remain on the yacht until the following day. From there they ascertained that Aspinall was safe with their equipment, and that their drugs hadn't been discovered by the authorities.

They were enjoying the thought of being cut off from the world for 24 hours. They were sweating profusely in the heavy heat of the afternoon and were not entirely happy to see the gun-toting cops marching to and fro on the deck, but they felt that these were inconveniences rather than causes for complaint. Then we were told that we would be landing at a secluded point along the coast the next afternoon shortly before The Beatles' first show, which wiped the smiles off their faces. Our Filipino hosts may have been well-intentioned in their elaborate planning but they had no idea of the group's lengthy pre-show routine, including the preparation of stage suits and instruments.

On this, the day before The Beatles' two scheduled performances at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, the Manila Sunday Times ran a story which would lead to the most troublesome aspect of The Beatles' stay in the Philippines.
 
(The Manila Sunday Times) President Marcos, the First Lady, and the three young Beatles fans in the family, have been invited as guests of honour at the concerts. The Beatles plan to personally follow up the invitation during a courtesy call on Mrs Imelda Marcos at Malacañang Palace tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.

Nobody in The Beatles' party saw the newspaper until later. The visit was not part of their itinerary, nor was it discussed. The promotor, Ramon Ramos, had been forced to promise the palace that the visit would occur, and was afraid to tell manager Brian Epstein in case it resulted in a refusal.

The 11 o'clock meeting was to have been followed by a luncheon at 3pm, one hour before the first of two concerts in Manila, which would have left them with little time to prepare. Ramos was caught between the prospect of either offending the palace or The Beatles, and so he left matters as they were.

Partly because of the pandemonium over the yacht, the tour itinerary prepared by Ramon Ramos Jr was never discussed properly that evening between Epstein and the rest of us. I doubt if he even read it thoroughly or even noticed the crucial bit suggesting that The Beatles might 'call in on' the First Lady, the president's wife, Imelda Marcos, at three o'clock on Monday afternoon 'before proceeding on from the Malacañang Palace directly to the stadium for the first concert.' The wording Ramos used made this sound like a casual proposal rather than a command from the President's office - not a fixed and formal appointment so much as something to be talked about as a possibility. According to Epstein's own jealously guarded rules, only he himself would have discussed such a matter with John, Paul, George and Ringo. If Ramos had raised the invitation with him directly, Epstein would have turned it down on the boys' behalf, knowing that with an afternoon show to do they would want to be safely installed in their dressing room at the stadium by three o'clock. In any case, The Beatles hated meeting dignitaries of all types from small-town mayors up to heads of state and would have been only too pleased to use their matinee commitment as a get-out.

On board Don Manolo Elizalde's yacht, The Beatles were guests of honour at a party attended by wealthy Filipinos. It wasn't until 4am that Brian Epstein allowed them to leave for their suite at the Hotel Manila. The group's exhaustion meant they were still asleep when government officials arrived later that morning to take them to the palace.

Source: The Beatles Bible