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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 8, 1966

Mixing: She Loves You

Room 53, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

George Martin was not present for this third stereo mixing session for the UK compilation A Collection Of Beatles Oldies compilation, which was released on December 9, 1966, so balance engineer Geoff Emerick oversaw the work.

Two mixes of "She Loves You" were made during a 90-minute session. The original two-track tapes had been destroyed shortly after the song was recorded, so Emerick created a mock stereo version by slashing the treble frequencies from the left channel and removing the bass from the right.
 
The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 7, 1966

John Lennon meets Yoko Ono

On the day before her exhibition Unfinished Paintings And Objects was to open, Japanese artist Yoko Ono was introduced to John Lennon for the first time.

John Lennon - That old gang of mine. That's all over. When I met Yoko is when you meet your first woman and you leave the guys at the bar and you don't go play football anymore and you don't go play snooker and billiards. Maybe some guys like to do it every Friday night or something and continue that relationship with the boys, but once I found the woman, the boys became of no interest whatsoever, other than they were like old friends. You know: 'Hi, how are you? How's your wife?' That kind of thing. You know the song: 'Those wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine.' Well, it didn't hit me till whatever age I was when I met Yoko, which was twenty-six. Nineteen sixty-six we met, but the full impact didn't... we didn't get married till '68, was it? It all blends into one bleeding movie!

But whatever, that was it. The old gang of mine was over the moment I met her. I didn't consciously know it at the time, but that's what was going on. As soon as I met her, that was the end of the boys, but it so happened that the boys were well known and weren't just the local guys at the bar.

The exhibition was held at the Indica Gallery, in the basement of the Indica Bookshop in Mason's Yard, just off Duke Street in Mayfair, London. The Indica was co-owned by John Dunbar, Peter Asher and Barry Miles, and was supported in its early years by Paul McCartney.

There was a sort of underground clique in London; John Dunbar, who was married to Marianne Faithfull, had an art gallery in London called Indica, and I'd been going around to galleries a bit on me off days in between records, also to a few exhibitions in different galleries that showed sort of unknown artists or underground artists.

I got the word that this amazing woman was putting on a show the next week, something about people in bags, in black bags, and it was going to be a bit of a happening and all that. So I went to a preview the night before it opened. I went in - she didn't know who I was or anything - and I was wandering around. There were a couple of artsy-type students who had been helping, lying around there in the gallery, and I was looking at it and was astounded. There was an apple on sale there for two hundred quid; I thought it was fantastic - I got the humor in her work immediately. I didn't have to have much knowledge about avant-garde or underground art, the humor got me straightaway. There was a fresh apple on a stand - this was before Apple - and it was two hundred quid to watch the apple decompose. But there was another piece that really decided me for-or-against the artist: a ladder which led to a painting which was hung on the ceiling. It looked like a black canvas with a chain with a spyglass hanging on the end of it. This was near the door when you went in. I climbed the ladder, you look through the spyglass and in tiny little letters it says 'yes'. So it was positive. I felt relieved. It's a great relief when you get up the ladder and you look through the spyglass and it doesn't say 'no' or 'fuck you' or something, it said 'yes'.

I was very impressed and John Dunbar introduced us - neither of us knew who the hell we were, she didn't know who I was, she'd only heard of Ringo, I think, it means apple in Japanese. And Dunbar had sort of been hustling her, saying, 'That's a good patron, you must go and talk to him or do something.' John Dunbar insisted she say hello to the millionaire. And she came up and handed me a card which said 'breathe' on it, one of her instructions, so I just went [pant]. This was our meeting.

Add Colour Painting featured white wood panels covered in cutout perspex, plus brushes and paints on a white chair. Visitors to the exhibition were invited to interact with the piece in whichever way they chose.

Yoko Ono - I call this Add Colour Painting. It is very important to have art which is living and changing. Every phase of life is beautiful; so is every phase of a painting.

Another piece was Play It By Trust aka White Chess Set, which carried the instructions: Play it for as long as you can remember who is your opponent and who is your own self. There was also Painting To Hammer A Nail In, a hammer attached to a block, into which people were invited to hammer nails.

John Lennon - Then I went up to this thing that said, 'Hammer a nail in.' I said, 'Can I hammer a nail in?' and she said no, because the gallery was actually opening the next day. So the owner, Dunbar, says, 'Let him hammer a nail in.' It was, 'He's a millionaire. He might buy it,' you know. She's more interested in it looking nice and pretty and white for the opening. That's why she never made any money on the stuff; she's always too busy protecting it!

So there was this little conference and she finally said, 'OK, you can hammer a nail in for five shillings.' So smart-ass here says, 'Well, I'll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in.' And that's when we really met. That's when we locked eyes and she got it and I got it and that was it.

Lennon later recalled the date of their meeting as 9 November 1966, but this was after Ono's exhibition had opened. The most likely date is 7 November.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 6, 1966

John Lennon returns to England from Spain

Having completed his work on the Richard Lester film How I Won The War, John Lennon returned to London on this day.

He had begun filming in West Germany, before flying to southern Spain to complete his scenes. Lennon played the role of Private Gripweed in the film, which was released in 1967.

He had been in Spain for seven weeks, initially staying at a small seafront apartment but later moving to a villa, Santa Isabel, near Almería. Lennon stayed at Santa Isabel with his wife Cynthia, and The Beatles' assistant Neil Aspinall. Also staying in the house was actor Michael Crawford, the star of How I Won The War, and his family.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 5, 1966

Paul McCartney flies to France

On this day Paul McCartney flew to France on a plane-ferry from Lydd airport in Kent, England.

The intention was to take a driving holiday. In order to escape the attention of The Beatles' fans, McCartney wore a disguise, although his brand new dark green Aston Marton DB5 was enough to attract the attention of even the least observant bystander.

I was pretty proud of the car. It was a great motor for a young guy to have, pretty impressive said Paul McCartney

McCartney donned his disguise after passing through French customs. Wig Creations, the film cosmetic company used by The Beatles on A Hard Day's Night, had made him a moustache to wear.
 
"They measure you and match the colour of your hair, so it was like a genuine moustache with real glue. And I had a couple of pairs of glasses made with clear lenses, which just made me look a bit different. I put a long blue overcoat on and slicked my hair back with Vaseline and just wandered around and of course nobody recognised me at all. It was good, it was quite liberating for me." - Paul McCartney

McCartney planned to drive to Paris before heading south to Bordeaux, where he had arranged to meet Mal Evans under the clock on the Saint-Eloi church on November 12, 1966. They then intended to follow the Loire river from Orleans.

It was an echo of the trip John and I made to Paris for 21st birthday, really. I'd cruise, find a hotel and park. I parked away from the hotel and walked to the hotel. I would sit up in my room and write my journal, or take a little bit of movie film. I'd walk around the town and then in the evening go down to dinner, sit on my own at the table, at the height of all this Beatle thing, to ease the pressure, to balance the high-key pressure. Having a holiday and also not be recognised. And re-taste anonymity. Just sit on my own and think all sorts of artistic thoughts like, I'm on my own here, I could be writing a novel, easily. What about these characters here in this room? - Paul McCartney

McCartney's journal was later lost, as was his film of his trip. Some of the reels were stolen by fans who broke into his home on Cavendish Avenue, London.

Kodak 8 mm was the one, because it came on a reel. Once it became Super-8 on a cartridge you couldn't do anything with it, you couldn't control it. I liked to reverse things. I liked to reverse music and I found that you could send a film through the camera backwards. Those very early cameras were great.

If you take a film and run it through a camera once, then you rewind it and run it through again, you get two images, superimposed. But they're very washed out, so I developed this technique where I ran it through once at night and only photographed points of light, like very bright reds, and that would be all that would be on the first pass of the film. It would be like on black velvet, red, very red. I used to do it in my car so it was car headlights and neon signs, the green of a go sign, the red of a stop, the amber.

The next day, when it was daylight, I would go and shoot and I had this film that was a combination of these little points of light that were on a 'black velvet' background and daylight. My favourite was a sequence of a leaning cross in a cemetery. I turned my head and zoomed in on it, so it opened just with a cross, bingo, then as I zoomed back out, you could see the horizon was tilted at a crazy angle. And as I did it, I straightened up. That was the opening shot, then I cut to an old lady, facing away from me, tending the graves. A fat old French peasant who had stockings halfway down her legs and was revealing a lot of her knickers, turning away, so it was a bit funny or a bit gross maybe. She was just tending a grave so, I mean, I didn't need to judge it. I just filmed it. So the beautiful thing that happened was from the previous night's filming. There she is tending a grave and you just see a point of red light appear in between her legs and it just drifts very slowly like a little fart, or a little spirit or something, in the graves. And then these other lights just start to trickle around, and it's like Disney, it's like animation!

One thing I'd learned was that the best thing was to hold one shot. I was a fan of the Andy Warhol idea, not so much of his films but I liked the cheekiness of Empire, the film of the Empire State Building, I liked the nothingness of it. So I would do a bit of that.

There were some sequences I loved: there was a Ferris wheel going round, but you couldn't quite tell what it was. And I was looking out of the hotel window in one French city and there was a gendarme on traffic duty. There was lot of traffic coming this way, then he'd stop 'em, and let them all go. So the action for ten minutes was a gendarme directing the traffic: lots of gestures and getting annoyed. He was a great character, this guy. I ran it all back and filmed all the cars again, it had been raining so there was quite low light in the street. So in the film he was stopping cars but they were just going through his body like ghosts. It was quite funny. Later, as the soundtrack I had Albert Ayler playing the 'Marseillaise'. It was a great little movie but I don't know what happened to it. - Paul McCartney

 

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 4, 1966

NEMS leaves 13 Monmouth Street, London

Brian Epstein's NEMS company had moved from Liverpool to London in 1963, establishing an office at 13 Monmouth Street in the centre of the capital.

In 1964 the company leased more offices at 5-6 Argyll Street, and gradually moved the operation to the new premises. On this day NEMS finally vacated 13 Monmouth Street.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 3, 1966

The November 1966 issue of The Beatles Book Monthly featured an exclusive interview with Paul McCartney. Topics of conversation include the differences between their British and American albums, negotiations with Capitol Records, touring, songwriting, and the Revolver album.

First published in 1963 and continuing throughout their career and beyond, The Beatles Book Monthly was the official fanzine of the group. It took full advantage of having access to amazing rare photos, it featured exclusive articles, and contained insights not found anywhere else.

Sometimes also listed as Beatles Monthly Book, previously-owned copies of these excellent magazines continue to circulate in collector's circles, including online sites such as Ebay. While this UK-based fanzine had a rebirth in the late 70's and 80's, the most intriguing issues come from the years when the band was together.

It's so obvious why all the girls fall about at the thought of Paul McCartney, for when he puts on that impish grin and has that saucy look in his eyes, you can understand why all his fans want to smother him with kisses. But, not being one of the masses, I did what no other girl in her right mind would do whilst staring across the table into Paul's large brown eyes -- I took out my notebook and pen and proceeded to interview him.

As so many American fans had written-in asking why the Beatles' American LPs weren't nearly as good as the British ones, I asked Paul why their American albums feature as many as six instrumentals and only three new tracks, and why the rest of the tracks are made up of previous singles.

"Actually," said Paul, "It's not as bad as it seems. We're told that they like to have our singles on the LPs, and there's more demand for singles over there... about two to our one."

"We've argued this out with our record company, but they say it won't work if we release the same LPs over there because their selling is different. We've tried to compromise and asked if they would at least make the cover of the albums the same, but no deal."

"We also asked them to release fourteen tracks instead of twelve, but we were told that we'd lose the royalties on the extra two tracks, because apparently (in the United States) the royalties stay the same for six or eight tracks and also for twelve or fourteen."

"We wouldn't mind if we lost the royalties, but the publishers have to be paid, and someone's got to lay out the extra money for them. So we'd have to compromise and lose the royalties to make better (American) LPs... but I think we're beginning to get more control now."

I then asked Paul why their American record company releases more single than we do.

"Well, when we send the tapes over to the States, there are always two or three spare tracks, so they put them out as singles."

What did he think of the knockers who said that the Beatles weren't giving the public enough?

"We never expect to be knocked because we feel harmless. We don't want to offend, but we can't please everyone, and anyway, they'd get sick of us if we performed up and down the country the whole time."

I asked Paul if it was just because they'd made enough money, and therefore didn't need to keep up the personal appearances.

"Not really. It's a bit of everything -- over-exposure, laziness, and tax problems. You see, if we wanted to be the Beatles forever, then we'd have to become like Sinatra and take dancing lessons and acting lessons, and just be all-round entertainers... you know, get slicker. It's their whole life to other artistes, but we'd be kidding if we said that."

"It would have been different if we'd been struggling, but we made it so quickly and achieved a life-long ambition. Being a Beatle is not that big a part of life. There's lots more things for us to do. Take touring for example. We'd hate to be touring when we're thiry-five because we'd look silly. Anyway we'll probably be bald when we're thirty. Can't you see it... they'll be asking us to shake our hair, and we'd have to say 'We can't because we've got a bald patch.' Everyone has to get old. It's just that a lot of people don't adapt themselves and do exactly the same as they did at twenty, even though they are about forty."

On the subject of touring, I asked Paul whether or not they'd be doing a British tour. "I don't think we've really thought about not doing a tour in Britain this year." "You don't really miss touring. You get to rely a lot on your audience for your act, which means that when you perform live it's difficult to keep control of what's going on. I still get the same feeling as we had in the beginning. It's not quite as exciting doing a tour here as when we first started. But in a way it's the same. You still get rough nights with the good ones."

I asked Paul if he ever worried about not being able to come up with new material.

"No. I used to think that, and was frightened that I was going to dry up, but now I realize that it won't happen if you're interested. Our songs are always changing. But you still get the type of person who sticks to something even if they don't like it... Everyone can do something else... even a bank clerk or a labourer. I get annoyed with people who are too nervous to change their way of life."

"People say 'Yesterday' was my greatest piece of work, but I hope I will write a better one."

I asked him what had happened to the Beatles' plans to record in the States.

"Well, as I said before, we wanted to record some tracks for 'Revolver' in Memphis, but it all fell through for various reasons when Brian (Epstein) went over there to check up. We did go into the matter again when we were on our last American tour, but we found that the idea was going to prove very expensive and, as we didn't like being taken for a ride just because we're Beatles, we dropped it."

"One of the reasons why we wanted to try doing some recording in the states is that we have heard so much about the different sound they get. I think that 'Revolver' did produce a new sound anyway. Perhaps by accident, perhaps not. We have been looking for it a long time, and something was definitely there. We'd still like to record in the states, but I can't see it happening in the near future."

I finally asked Paul what he thought of their old hits -- do they sound old fashioned?

"Yes. They're a step back in time, and as for performing them on stage I don't think our audience would like it... but that of course depends on where we're playing. Germany, for example, cried out for the old hits because that is what they remembered us for."

What did he think of the knockers who said that the Beatles weren't giving the public enough?

"We never expect to be knocked because we feel harmless. We don't want to offend, but we can't please everyone, and anyway, they'd get sick of us if we performed up and down the country the whole time."

I asked Paul if it was just because they'd made enough money, and therefore didn't need to keep up the personal appearances.

"Not really. It's a bit of everything -- over-exposure, laziness, and tax problems. You see, if we wanted to be the Beatles forever, then we'd have to become like Sinatra and take dancing lessons and acting lessons, and just be all-round entertainers... you know, get slicker. It's their whole life to other artistes, but we'd be kidding if we said that."

"It would have been different if we'd been struggling, but we made it so quickly and achieved a life-long ambition. Being a Beatle is not that big a part of life. There's lots more things for us to do. Take touring for example. We'd hate to be touring when we're thiry-five because we'd look silly. Anyway we'll probably be bald when we're thirty. Can't you see it... they'll be asking us to shake our hair, and we'd have to say 'We can't because we've got a bald patch.' Everyone has to get old. It's just that a lot of people don't adapt themselves and do exactly the same as they did at twenty, even though they are about forty."

On the subject of touring, I asked Paul whether or not they'd be doing a British tour. "I don't think we've really thought about not doing a tour in Britain this year." "You don't really miss touring. You get to rely a lot on your audience for your act, which means that when you perform live it's difficult to keep control of what's going on. I still get the same feeling as we had in the beginning. It's not quite as exciting doing a tour here as when we first started. But in a way it's the same. You still get rough nights with the good ones."

I asked Paul if he ever worried about not being able to come up with new material.

"No. I used to think that, and was frightened that I was going to dry up, but now I realize that it won't happen if you're interested. Our songs are always changing. But you still get the type of person who sticks to something even if they don't like it... Everyone can do something else... even a bank clerk or a labourer. I get annoyed with people who are too nervous to change their way of life."

"People say 'Yesterday' was my greatest piece of work, but I hope I will write a better one."

I asked him what had happened to the Beatles' plans to record in the States.

"Well, as I said before, we wanted to record some tracks for 'Revolver' in Memphis, but it all fell through for various reasons when Brian (Epstein) went over there to check up. We did go into the matter again when we were on our last American tour, but we found that the idea was going to prove very expensive and, as we didn't like being taken for a ride just because we're Beatles, we dropped it."

"One of the reasons why we wanted to try doing some recording in the states is that we have heard so much about the different sound they get. I think that 'Revolver' did produce a new sound anyway. Perhaps by accident, perhaps not. We have been looking for it a long time, and something was definitely there. We'd still like to record in the states, but I can't see it happening in the near future."

I finally asked Paul what he thought of their old hits -- do they sound old fashioned?

"Yes. They're a step back in time, and as for performing them on stage I don't think our audience would like it... but that of course depends on where we're playing. Germany, for example, cried out for the old hits because that is what they remembered us for."

 

Source: Transcribed by www.beatlesinterviews.org from original magazine issue

 

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 2, 1966

John, Paul, George & Ringo figuring out what's next

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 1, 1966

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 31, 1966

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 30, 1966

Nothing much happening today.