Category Archives: Day in History

September 20th 1969 – John tells the others ‘I’m Leaving the Beatles!

On September 20th 1969, the Beatles held a meeting in the boardroom of Apple Corps at 3 Savile Row. The meeting was called to sign a new contract with EMI/Capital that Allen Klein had negotiated. Even though Paul McCartney hated Klein, he was happy to sign the new improved contract.

Things came to a head when the Beatles started talking about their plans for the future. Paul McCartney thought they should go back to basics, and go back to playing in small clubs and pubs. As Paul said said in the Beatles Anthology book:  “I’d said ‘I think we should go back to little gigs – I really think we’re a great little band. We should find our basic roots, and then who knows what will happen? We may want to fold after that, or we may really think we’ve still got it.’ John looked at me in the eye and said: ‘Well, I think you’re daft. I wasn’t going to tell you till we signed the Capitol deal’ – Klein was trying to get us to sign a new deal with the record company – ‘but I’m leaving the group!’ We paled visibly and our jaws slackened a bit.”

Everyone knew at that point the the dream was over. Even though both Ringo and George had walked about before, and came back, everyone knew that John wouldn’t change his mind. However, John was persuaded not to make his departure public, as deals were still being done.

After the meeting, Paul went up to his farm in Scotland with Linda, who was heavily pregnant with Mary, and hardly went to 3 Savile Row again. His absence was part of the reason the ‘Paul is dead’ rumour grew so quickly.

In the end Paul announced he was leaving the Beatles on April 10th 1970. As John remarked at the time, there was no Beatles to leave.

19th September 1967 – the Beatles Film in West Malling

John, Paul, George and Ringo spent nearly a week at the town’s former RAF site in 1967, after being unable to hire any London film studios at short notice.

The movie, which was largely unscripted, used aircraft hangers for many of the scenes, including the ballroom sequence for Your Mother Should Know, while the video for I Am The Walrus was shot at two locations on the airfield, including atop the anti-blast concrete walls.

The race scene took place on the main runway and perimeter road.

The Fab Four also filmed in West Malling town centre, including the newsagents in the high street where Ringo can be seen buying tickets from John.

The building is now The Rain Grill kebab house, and has its own blue plaque to mark the historic event.

They had taken the long and winding road from Germany to Kings Hill, a journey of more than 450 miles, to visit the set of the famous film to coincide with the anniversary.

The commemorative tour was led by Simon Mitchell, who appeared in the film when he was seven, before his family moved abroad in 1977.

For more see http://www.kentonline.co.uk/malling/news/magical-reminder-of-the-beatles-in-kent-132320/

(PS – I did tours of the Beatles’ London for Simon and his group – lovely people and had a great time.

July 26th 1989 – Paul McCartney Live at the Playhouse Theatre, London

Wouldn’t you just know it :>) You wait years to see a ‘live’ Beatle – then you see 2 in 2 days! The day after seeing George Harrison at the premiere of ‘How to Get Ahead in Advertising’, Paul McCartney gives a special ‘Rehearsal Concert’ at the Playhouse Theatre in London. It was his first full live show in 10 years.

It was not the first time that Paul had played at the Playhouse. In the 60s it was used by the BBC and the Beatles did many of their BBC broadcasts from there.

The theatre only holds around 300 people, and tickets we allocated through the Paul McCartney Fan Club. I wasn’t lucky in the draw, but decided to go up to the theatre anyway and try my luck. There was as tube strike in London that day, and getting there was very hard, which actually worked in my favour, as some people who were allocated tickets couldn’t make it, so I managed to get one! Not only that, I was in the second row from the front!

Paul was rehearsing with his new band for his upcoming World Tour. He decided to test the band in front of a live audience at 2 intimate shows, as well as giving a press conference to announce the world tour. It wasn’t a full show (well it lasted about 1.5 hours, so good enough!) but absolutely brilliant. Paul sang ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ for the first time since the Beatles! There was a small gap between the seats and the stage, and many of us got up to dance.

The show comprised mainly of songs from the newly released ‘Flowers in the Dirt’ album, but also some oldies, including George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ – McCartney sings Gershwin! It was a very apt song to sing too – as it was one of the hottest days of the year outside, and no air conditioning inside.

You can see the setlist here https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/paul-mccartney/1989/playhouse-theatre-london-england-5bc9a7d4.html

After the show, many fans gathered at the stage door, to be great by a very happy looking Paul and Linda, who signed many autographs.

A great day!

My ticket to the Playhouse gig
Paul McCartney outside the Playhouse Theatre
Paul and Linda outside the Playhouse

13th July 1954 – the Recording Session that changed British Music History

“Without Lead Belly, no Lonnie Donegan, without Lonnie Donegan, no Beatles.” – George Harrison.

July 13th 1954 – one of the most important recording sessions in British rock and pop history – by a Jazz Band!

The Chris Barber Jazz Band record an album for Decca at their studios in West Hampstead. The album is called New Orleans Joys.

Part way through the recording, the band realise they don’t have enough songs to make a full album, so they retire to the Railway Hotel pub next door to discuss what to do. They decide to record some songs they do live as a ‘Breakdown Group’ – this was a part of their concerts when they would allow the brass section a break and play some paired down music, bringing the guitar player to the front (it was seen as a percussion instrument before this) and have double bass (or improvised tea chest bass) and washboard, which would be played using thimbles.

Chris Barber decided he would play bass, and Lonnie Donegan would play guitar. Washboard player Beryl Bryden was called up and summoned to come to the studio from her home in nearby Maida Vale.

One of the songs they recorded was ‘Rock Island Line’ which had been popularised by Huddy Leadbetter, better known as ‘Lead Belly’. It was sang by Lonnie Donegan

The album went on to sell a few thousand copies, not bad for a jazz album, and ‘Rock Island Line’ just seen as an album track. Things changed though, nearly 2 years later. Bill Haley had a UK number one hit with Rock Around the Clock and record companies tried to find a similar record which would have the same impact. Decca then remembered about ‘Rock Island Line’ and released it as a single, credited to The Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group. It became a huge hit record in the UK, and also ironically, in the US. More importantly, ‘Rock Island Line’ and other ‘skiffle’ songs, inspired thousands of British teenagers to start their own skiffle bands. The bands only need one cheap guitar, and the rest of the instruments could be adapted from household implements. Each song only had 3 or 4 chords to learn, so it was easy to play too. Guitar sales went up from about 2000 a year to 200,000 a year.

Amongst those who played in skiffle bands included: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, Dave Davies etc etc etc.

Skiffle itself died out. Lonnie Donegan went on record novelty songs, but others went onto other things :>)

“Without Lead Belly, no Lonnie Donegan, without Lonnie Donegan, no Beatles.” – George Harrison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7col8uqIQQ

Lon, Paul, George and Ringo?  3 Beatles with  Lonnie Donegan – at Eric and Pattie Clapton’s wedding reception, 1979.

P.S. Elvis Presley’s version of ‘That’s Alright’ was recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis on July 5th 1954 – just 8 days before this session :>)

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time Beatles tour guide in London. For more on his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

#PeaceAndLove to Ringo Starr in Studio One at Abbey Road Studios Today!

Just back from wishing Ringo ‘Peace and Love’ on his birthday in Studio One at Abbey Road.

We were allowed in at around 11.45am – around the studio were many keyboard instruments used by the Beatles on their records in the studios. Behind the stage were placards with ‘All You Need is Love’ on – similar to those used on the ‘All You Need is Love’ ‘Our World’ TV broadcast -that was broadcast from this very room 50 years ago last month.

Giles Martin (an unexpected bonus!) introduced the event, and told how important Abbey Road was to him, not the least because his mother and father first met there! We were then given a nice speech by Mirek Styles of Abbey Road, of the history of Studio One.

Jonathan Clyde of Apple then introduced a recording of Ringo giving a countdown to 12 noon, when everyone said ‘Peace and Love’ and did the peace sign. Jonathan then played the video of the Beatles ‘All You Need is Love’ broadcast. It was very emotional seeing and hearing this in the very room it was filmed in.

Thanks to Irina PorterBarbara Simpson and Paul Endacott for sharing the event with me – and to Cathy Hawkes from Apple for inviting me along.

Here is Giles Martin’s welcoming speech https://www.facebook.com/richard.porter.5815/videos/10212031128066875/

Mirek Styles of Abbey Road Studios, telling the story of Studio One https://www.facebook.com/richard.porter.5815/videos/10212031456235079/

Jonathan Clyde of Apple, introducing Ringo’s ‘Peace and Love’ to the world at 12 Noon

Jonathan Clyde from Apple introducing Ringo's 'Peace and Love' to the world at 12 noon #PeaceAndLove

Posted by Richard Porter on Friday, 7 July 2017

 

 

Mirek Styles of Abbey Road Studios, telling the history of the Studio in Studio One at the Ringo Peace and Love event today. #PeaceAndLove

Posted by Richard Porter on Friday, 7 July 2017

Giles Martin Introducing the Peace and Love event to Ringo Starr in Studio One, Abbey Road Studios
Blogger Richard Porter and wife Irina, on the steps of Abbey Road Studios Today
The cakes to celebrate Ringo’s 77th birthday in Studio One at Abbey Road today
Inside Studio One for the Peace and Love for Ringo on his birthday event today

When John met Paul – It Was 60 Years Ago Today!

So, on July 6th 1957 Ivan Vaughan had the foresight to take his friend Paul McCartney along to St Peter’s Church Fete to see his friend, John Lennon, play with his band the Quarrymen. ‘Ivy’ introduced Paul to John in St Peter’s Church Hall, where Paul McCartney showed off his musical talent, and was later asked to join the band. They start writing songs together, and got pretty good at it.

Paul bought his friend, George Harrison into the band, and they changed their name to the Beatles. Then Ringo came into the band and the Beatles music spread worldwide.

Two people touched by the music, was Richard Porter (me :>) who was moved to start a Beatles Fan Club in London. Around the same time Irina Dyomkina was equally moved in Moscow, USSR, to start a Beatles Fan club there. Irina and Richard met in 1990 and married in 2004. Their daughter, Lilia, was born in 2007.

So today we raise a glass to Ivan Vaughan, without whom…..

The Quarrymen, July 6th 1957
Ivan Vaughan
Richard, Irina and Lilia Porter

28th June 1990 Paul McCartney ‘Let it Be Liverpool’

27 years ago today, Paul McCartney played a very special concert in his home town. The highlight was a medley of songs associated with John Lennon – ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ ‘Help!’ and ‘Give Peace a Chance’.

When Paul finished ‘Give Peace a Chance’ the audience continued to sing it – and Paul and the band did an encore. A very emotional moment for all concerned, especially Paul, and me, who was in the audience. A very memorable night!

14th June 1965 – Paul McCartney’s Day!

On 14th June 1965, the Beatles recorded 3 songs in a day dominated by Paul McCartney.

Between 2:30 and 5:30 they recorded Paul’s country influenced song, ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’, followed by the out and out rocker ‘I’m Down’, which was inspired by Little Richard.

Then, in the evening session, Paul recorded his vocals on ‘Yesterday’

Three amazingly different songs recorded on the same day.