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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 13, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

ilming: Magical Mystery Tour
Wednesday 13 September 1967 Film and video

The third day of filming for Magical Mystery Tour began in Watergate Bay in Newquay in the south west of England.

In the late morning The Beatles and some of the hired actors were taken to the bay. There, the group were filmed looking through a telescope, although the scene failed to make the final cut. Aunt Jessie was also filmed with Buster Bloodvessel (Ivor Cutler) on Tregurrian Beach, although the BBC cut it too, having decided it was unsuitable for viewers.

Following lunch at Newquay's Atlantic Hotel, afternoon filming took place in two separate groups. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr took the coach and most of the passengers to Porth near Watergate Bay.

During the journey Starr and Aunt Jessie ad libbed an argument for the cameras. In the late afternoon, on the beach at Porth, McCartney was filmed walking and cycling on a tandem with Little George the Photographer, played by George Claydon.

Back in the Newquay hotel, John Lennon directed a sequence in which Happy Nat the Rubber Man, played by Nat Jackley, chased bikini-clad women around the swimming pool. The shoot continued on the cliffs at nearby Holywell, although it was left out of the final edit.

George Harrison was the only Beatle not to take part in afternoon filming. Instead, he gave a lengthy radio interview to the BBC's Miranda Ward, half of which was broadcast on the first edition of Radio 1's Scene And Heard on 30 September 1967 from 6.30pm. The second part was broadcast on the following week's show.

Ward stayed in Newquay until Friday 15 September, and on the Thursday interviewed Ringo Starr for Scene And Heard. This was broadcast in the 14 October edition.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 12, 1967

12 September 1967: Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour
Tuesday 12 September 1967 Film and video

The first full day of filming for The Beatles' television film Magical Mystery Tour took place in the south west of England.

The coach had arrived in Teignmouth in Devon on the previous night, and the party stayed at the Royal Hotel. Following breakfast on this day, the coach set off once again and headed for the Dartmoor village of Widecombe.

The annual village fair was being held in Widecombe, and it was decided that filming should take place there. However, the driver Alf Manders took a shortcut in order to beat traffic queues, and the coach became stuck on a narrow bridge.

The coach had to be reversed for half a mile, and tempers frayed on board. Footage was made of on-board arguments, though none was used. In the end The Beatles decided to abandon the trip to the fair, disappointing some local fans who had heard about their impending arrival.

The mystery trip continued instead to Plymouth on the A38. The party had lunch in the Grand Hotel, situated on the famous Plymouth Hoe, where The Beatles posed for photographers from national newspapers.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney were also interviewed by BBC TV reporter Hugh Scully. The interview was shown as the lead item on the local news programme Spotlight South West on the following day from 5.55pm.

The party then boarded the coach once more, and continued along the A38. Stops were made at Liskeard and Bodmin - where filming took place outside West End Dairy in Higher Bore Street and no Paull Road. For the latter scene, the courier Jolly Jimmy Johnson, played by Derek Royle, boarded the coach and welcomed everybody. The sequence was used at the beginning of the film.

The final destination for the day was the Atlantic Hotel on Dane Road, Newquay. The Beatles had intended to stay for just one night, but eventually decided to use it as a base for three nights. They slept in four holiday flats.

 

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 11, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

The filming of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour was mostly done in two week-long periods. The first began on this day.

It was traditional for pop package tours, involving several bands, to begin at London's Allsop Place, near to Baker Street underground station. Paul McCartney decided that the mystery trip should start at the same location at 10.45am.

The coach, however, was still being decorated with the Magical Mystery Tour lettering and colours. The passengers - included family, friends, fan club staff, actors and other selected travellers - were made to wait two hours for its arrival.

While waiting, McCartney went to the London Transport café above Baker Street station, where he bought a cup of tea and signed autographs. He then went to Soho with Mal Evans to purchase appropriate uniforms for the driver and courier.

As the coach left London on the A30, Neil Aspinall gave each person a £5 note to cover their meals for the week. There were 43 people on the coach, including the group and the film technicians. John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were picked up in Virginia Water, Surrey, close to their homes.

Filming began soon after, with scenes improvised on the coach and during a lunch break at the Pied Piper restaurant in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Late in the evening the coach arrived at its first destination, the Royal Hotel at The Den, Teignmouth, Devon, where the entire party spent the night.

The Beatles arrived at the hotel in a car, having swapped vehicles just outside the town in a bid to remain incognito. Nevertheless, they were greeted by 400 local teenagers, who had discovered their supposedly secret plans and waited in the rain to catch a glimpse of the stars.

At the hotel McCartney gave an impromptu press conference, where he gave an outline of The Beatles' plans for the film. He and Neil Aspinall then sorted out room arrangements for the coach party, before discussing the next day's shooting with Lennon and technical director Peter Theobalds.

The Royal Hotel in Teignmouth was later remodelled as the Royal Court apartments.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 10, 1967

The Beatles are in-between recording.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 9, 1967

Paul McCartney Interview: New Musical Express 9/9/1967

 

ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW:

In the early part of September 1967, Paul McCartney invited Norrie Drummond to his Cavendish Avenue home for an exclusive interview. The conversation would be published in the September 9th issue of the New Musical Express, and later reprinted for the United States in the January 1968 issue of Hit Parader magazine.

The article as it orignally appeared was entitled 'Paul Is Still Seeking, But George Has Found Great Faith' with a teaser on the NME cover that read, 'Beatle Paul's New Life.'

 

This chat between Drummond and McCartney touches on spiritual matters, and the Beatles' new creative vantage point. At the time of this interview the Beatles are making last minute arrangements to begin filming their made-for-TV movie 'Magical Mystery Tour.' Meanwhile, the 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' LP is still at the number one spot on the US and British album charts, three solid months following its June release.

                                          - Jay Spangler, www.beatlesinterviews.org

 



As most people must have noticed, the Beatles have undergone a major change in the past year. The moptops have gone and been replaced by four highly individual, creative personalities. The 'yeah-yeahs' and the 'ooohs' have given way to sitars and melotrons. The Beatle boots and round-collared jackets have been discarded and been replaced by kaftans and beads. No longer is it news when they are seen at clubs or theatres. At last the screams are fading away. To find out more about the great Beatles' transformation I visited Paul McCartney at his St. John's Wood home recently.

I told my taxi-driver the address. "Oh, you mean where that Beatle lives," he said. No more than half a dozen fans were waiting patiently at the massive iron gates of his house. The gates were opened by his housekeeper, Mrs. Mills ("She still hasn't given me a tune yet," says Paul), who led me into the lounge.

 

Paul's huge Old English Sheepdog, Martha, bounded forward, leaped up, put both front paws on my shoulders and started chewing my tie. His three cats -- Jesus, Joseph and Mary -- were crawling over each other underneath the television set. Paul, dressed in a green, floral-patterned shirt and green slacks, sat cross-legged in a large green velvet armchair. Mike McGear, Paul's brother, was just leaving with several kaftans over his arm. A large 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' poster is pinned to one wall. His book collection includes many works on yoga and meditation. At the moment all four Beatles are on holiday, although they have been recording.

 

"When I used to tell you we didn't know what our plans were, it was simply that we hadn't been told what we were going to be doing. Now we simply just don't know."

 

Mrs. Mills reappeared bearing cups of tea and a large cream sponge. "The only thing lined up for us is the TV show," said Paul, stirring his tea. "But we're still trying to work out the format. We've also been recording the past few nights, and our next album will probably come from the TV show."

 

Anything that the Beatles now indulge in they obviously do for love, not for money. "We can now sit back and pick and choose what we want to do. We're not going to turn out records or films just for the sake of it. We don't want to talk unless we've got something to say."

 

"When you don't have to make a living, a job has a different meaning. Most people have to earn a wage to live. If you don't, you take a job to relieve the boredom, but you do something which gives you pleasure."

 

"We enjoy recording, but we want to go even further. I would like to come up with a completely new form of music, invent new sounds. I want to do something, but I don't really know what."

 

"At the moment I'm thinking things out. There seems to be a pause in my life right now... a time for reassessment." I asked Paul if he ever regarded himself as being rather like a retired man of sixty-five, who was now only pottering around, dabbling in his favorite hobby. To a certain extent he was inclined to agree. "I don't regard myself as having retired, but what do most people do when they retire? As you say, they become wrapped up in a hobby. Either that or they find another job."

 

"I would like to do something else, but what that will be, I don't know." Despite the fact that three of the Beatles are married and they are, all four of them, very different individuals, they still have that same bond of loyalty to each other that they have always had. They are still each others' best friends. If they are asked to do something as a group and any one of them doesn't want to take part, then the scheme is dropped. "If three of us wanted to make a film, for instance, and the fourth didn't think it was a good idea, we'd forget about it, because the fourth person would have a very good reason for not wanting to do it."

 

In the past year Paul has become a much more introspective person. He is constantly striving to discover more about other people. What is depression? Why do people become bored? What is his ultimate goal? These are the questions to which Paul has tried to find the answers in books on meditation and in lectures by men who know more about it than he does. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is playing a big part in developing the Beatle minds. He is the man who gave them strength when they heard of Brian Epstein's tragic death. "I'm more tolerant now than I was, and I feel more at ease myself, but I'm not less certain about many things," said Paul. "In some ways I envy George, because he now has a great faith. He seems to have found what he's been searching for."

 

"When we went to India we were amazed. So many people, living in terrible poverty... but everyone was so happy. They were always laughing and smiling, even though most of them were starving. For people in the Western world to understand why these people can be so happy is a very difficult thing."

 

With John, George, and Ringo, Paul will be flying to India again shortly to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi.

 

To a certain extent, Paul's music is his greatest emotional outlet. "Ravi Shankar discovered himself through his music, and I suppose in many ways we are, too." This is apparent in their latest albums, which feature many tracks based on personal experiences. But how far can one go with any new art form, be it music, films or theatre? Will the great general public accept it? "We've never set out with the sole intention of trying to please people. It's been wonderful that so many have appreciated what we've done. We don't want to come to a point where we wave 'cheerio' to anyone. We want to take them along with us."

 

Paul McCartney certainly is more at ease now and much more tolerant and understanding. But he's still searching for something. Whether or not he'll ever find it, I just don't know. But he is determined to, somehow.

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

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 8, 1967

Recording, mixing: Flying

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

One of The Beatles' requirements for the Magical Mystery Tour project was the creation of enough music for the soundtrack. In addition to the songs, they also worked on several pieces of incidental music. One of these was Flying, which was recorded on this day under the working title Aerial Tour Instrumental.

Flying had the distinction of being the first Beatles instrumental - wordless chanting aside - to be released, although they had recorded the unreleased Cry For A Shadow and 12-Bar Original. It was also the first to be given a composing credit to all four Beatles.

The group recorded six takes of Flying. The session was led by Paul McCartney, and featured him on bass guitar, John Lennon on organ, George Harrison on guitar and Ringo Starr on drums. Three organ overdubs were then added – recorded with the tape running backwards – onto the three remaining tracks.

Two reduction mixes were made to free up two extra tracks on the tape, the best of which was numbered take eight. Lennon then overdubbed the melody on a Mellotron set to the trumpet setting, before all four Beatles added chants.

Flying was given four mono mixes at the end of the session, which ran until 2.45am. The last of these mixes was selected as the best, and was cut onto acetate discs for use in the film production. Interestingly, the mix contains elements later removed, including slide whistle, Mellotron flutes, and the sound of a Dixieland band playing a march – one of the built-in Mellotron tapes. This early version of Flying ended with a sampled "yeah" spoken by Bill Fransen, one of the creators of the Mellotron.

New mono mixes of Flying were made on 28 September 1967, along with more last-minute overdubs and edits.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 7, 1967

Recording: Blue Jay Way

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Following the initial session on 6 September 1967, work continued on George Harrison's song Blue Jay Way.

The first task was to create a reduction mix to allow more overdubs to be added. Harrison double-tracked his lead vocals, after which a second reduction mix - numbered take three - was made.

Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney then added some backing vocals onto track three. These were put through a Hammond organ's Leslie speaker to give a swirling effect. Track four was left empty for now.

This session began at 7pm and continued until 3.15am on the morning of 8 September. Recording for Blue Jay Way was concluded on 6 October 1967.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 6, 1967

Recording, mixing: I Am The Walrus, The Fool On The Hill, Blue Jay Way

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

A productive eight-hour session, which saw work continue on I Am The Walrus, and the beginning of The Fool On The Hill and Blue Jay Way.

The first task was to create a reduction mix of I Am The Walrus, to make room on the tape for further overdubs. The mix was numbered take 17, and combined the previous day's pianet, electric guitar, tambourine and drums. Paul McCartney then recorded a bass guitar part and Ringo Starr added extra snare drum, both played simultaneously onto track three of the four-track tape, and John Lennon overdubbed his lead vocals onto track four.

In his autobiography, radio DJ Kenny Everett, who was present at the session, explained why Lennon's vocals were so raw.

George Martin, their producer, was working with John on the vocal track and he said: 'Look, you've been singing now for about seven hours, you're beginnng to sound hoarse, why don't we do it tomorrow?' John wanted to get it done that day and that's why he sounds so raucous on that track.  (Kenny Everett  - The Custard Stops At Hatfield)

Four mono mixes of I Am The Walrus were then made for references purposes, only the last of which was complete. Acetate discs were then cut for reference purposes, and one was used for miming during the Magical Mystery Tour film later in the month. Despite this, the song was far from complete, and required a number of other overdubs and edits.

A separate mix was made for 1996's Anthology 2, which combined take 16 from 5 September 1967 with the vocal overdub from this day.

Paul McCartney had written The Fool On The Hill in March 1967, although the lyrics were incomplete at that early stage. During this session he recorded a piano demo in a single take, which was eventually issued on Anthology 2. The song was also cut onto acetate, and work on the song continued on 25 September.

Also recorded on this day was the rhythm track of George Harrison's Blue Jay Way, which was taped in a single take. Harrison played Hammond organ, McCartney was on bass guitar, Starr on drums, and Lennon played a second organ.

Blue Jay Way was given a reduction mix during the next day's session to prepare for further overdubs.

 

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 5, 1967

Recording: I Am The Walrus

Studio One, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Following the death of Brian Epstein on 27 August 1967, The Beatles regrouped at Paul McCartney's London home on 1 September 1967, where the decision was made to continue work on the Magical Mystery Tour project.

Four days later they began work on one of the soundtrack's highlights, John Lennon's surrealist masterpiece I Am The Walrus. Sixteen takes of the rhythm track were recorded during this session, which began at 7pm and ended at 1am the following morning.

Lennon played a pianet electric piano, McCartney played bass on the initial takes and later switched to tambourine, while George Harrison was on electric guitar and Ringo Starr played drums. Lennon also sang a guide vocal to help the band follow the song.

At this stage there was an extra bar prior to the "Yellow matter custard" verse, which caused the group some problems when performing. They were supposed to play a C major seventh chord during the bar as a transition back to the verse, as heard on Anthology 2, but had trouble remembering the change. The bar was eventually removed during the editing stage.

Eventually The Beatles recorded a satisfactory version - take 16 - which was given further overdubs on the following day. Take 16 featured tambourine on track one, electric guitar on track two, drums on three, and pianet on four.

Handwritten lyrics for I Am The Walrus

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 4, 1967

The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi gives an audience to the Beatles and friends, on September 4, 1967.

Left to right: Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Patti Harrison, unknown, Ringo Starr, his wife Maureen, John Lennon, George Harrison and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.