Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 5, 1966

John Lennon flies to Hanover, Germany

Having finished touring and enjoying a break from recording, The Beatles were free to explore solo projects for the first time.

John Lennon accepted an invitation from director Richard Lester to appear in his film How I Won The War and said: There were many reasons for doing it: a) it was Dick Lester and he asked me; b) it was anti-war; and c) I didn't know what to do because The Beatles had stopped touring and I thought if I stopped and thought about it I was going to have a big bum trip for nine months so I tried to avoid the depression of the change of life by leaping into the movie. The thing I remember is that Dick Lester had more fun than I did.

Lester gave Lennon the role of Private Gripweed. It wasn't a major part, but did represent a welcome distraction from the otherwise idling Beatle. It was also his first - and only - acting role away from the group.

On this day he flew to Hanover, Germany, for the first part of filming. He stayed in the country until 15 September, filming at a NATO tank range in Celle, a town situated just outside Hanover.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 4, 1966

The Beatles enjoying their break after the US Tour.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 3, 1966

The Beatles taking a break after their long tour.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 2, 1966

The Beatles taking a break after the US final tour.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 1, 1966

The Beatles arrived back in London, ending their final tour of America. Although the group had gone their separate ways in January and February of that year for various trips with their spouses etc. they seemed anxious to begin new solo adventures immediately upon their return.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 31, 1966

The Beatles are taking a rest after the US Tour

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 30, 1966

The Beatles ended their United States tour on a noisy note of triumph last night, to the cheering adulation of 25,000 screaming worshipers in Candlestick Park.

For 33 minutes they sang their songs from a big, well-guarded stage at the edge of the infield grass as their audience literally shrieked the intensity of its pleasure.

The crowd had been noisy before, applauding the earlier acts on the program, but at 9:27 it really let loose: The moment was at hand. The four musical Englishmen - wearing dark Lincoln-green double-breasted Edwardian suits and open-collared silk shirts - suddenly emerged from the Giants' dugout and ran to the big, fenced-in stage above second base. Bedlam.

They opened with "Rock and Roll Music" and closed with "Long Tall Sally" - singing 11 songs in all before they quit at 10 p.m. And during every moment of it, the Beatles had this peculiar little world squarely in their hands.

And the crowd, although howlingly appreciative, was, at the same time, markedly well-behaved.

During the entire time the Beatles were on the field, there were just three attempts by frenzied fans to reach them:

At 9:40 p.m., a group of about five boys climbed over a fence from the nearly empty center field bleachers and sprinted toward the rear of the infield stage. A covey of private police quickly intercepted them.

At 9:47 p.m., another group of about the same size tried the same tactic over the same route - and with the same result.

And just after 10 p.m. as the Beatles were leaving the stage, a husky disheveled boy jumped onto the field near third base - and put up a rousing battle with four guards before he was subdued.

The weather was pleasant - clear with only sporadic winds and reasonably mild temperatures, although Paul McCartney, in telling the audience goodbye, apologized for the cold.

Their stage, for instance, was also a cage. It was a platform elevated 5 feet above the infield surface, and it was surrounded by a metal storm fence 6 feet high.

Police - private and otherwise - were everywhere.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 29, 1966

Live: Candlestick Park, San Francisco: The Beatles’ final concert

Although they made an unannounced live appearance in January 1969 on the rooftop of the Apple building, The Beatles' final live concert took place on 29 August 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.

There was a big talk at Candlestick Park that this had got to end. At that San Francisco gig it seemed that this could possibly be the last time, but I never felt 100% certain till we got back to London.

John wanted to give up more than the others. He said that he'd had enough.

The Park's capacity was 42,500, but only 25,000 tickets were sold, leaving large sections of unsold seats. Fans paid between $4.50 and $6.50 for tickets, and The Beatles' fee was around $90,000. The show's promoter was local company Tempo Productions.

The Beatles took 65% of the gross, the city of San Francisco took 15% of paid admissions and were given 50 free tickets. This arrangement, coupled with low ticket sales and other unexpected expenses resulted in a financial loss for Tempo Productions.

Candlestick Park was the home of the baseball team the San Francisco Giants. The stage was located just behind second base on the field, and was five feet high and surrounded by a six-foot high wire fence.

The compère was 'Emperor' Gene Nelson of KYA 1260 AM, and the support acts were, in order of appearance, The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle and The Ronettes. The show began at 8pm.The Beatles took to the stage at 9.27pm, and performed 11 songs: Rock And Roll Music, She's A Woman, If I Needed Someone, Day Tripper, Baby's In Black, I Feel Fine, Yesterday, I Wanna Be Your Man, Nowhere Man, Paperback Writer and Long Tall Sally.

The group knew it was to be their final concert. Recognizing its significance, John Lennon and Paul McCartney took a camera onto the stage, with which they took pictures of the crowd, the rest of the group, and themselves at arm's length.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 28, 1966
The first concert in Dodger Stadium was the most historic – the Beatles' penultimate performance in their final U.S. tour, a 14-city, 19-day trek. After the tour, the Beatles never performed live again in a formal concert setting. With the Dodgers playing in San Francisco, a crowd of more than 45,000 watched the Beatles perform on a stage that was set at second base. The band had to take drastic measures to escape their rabid fans. The group was cloaked in blankets, taken to an ambulance and, later, transferred to an armored vehicle.
The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 27, 1966

Day off in Los Angeles

On their third rest day in Los Angeles during their final tour, The Beatles were visited by Brian and Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys, whose 11th album Pet Sounds proved a key influence on the recording of Revolver.

The Beatles were renting a house at 7655 Curson Terrace in Beverly Hills, in which Brian Epstein had arranged for them to stay. They remained at the house throughout their stay in Los Angeles.