Category Archives: Day in History

March 5th 1963 – a Busy Day for the Beatles!

March 5th 1963 was a very busy day for the Beatles. They first did a photo session with John Dove at EMI House in Manchester Square, and at Montague Place, near the British Museum.

They then went to EMI Studios at Abbey Road to record their third single, ‘From Me To You’ and ‘Thank You Girl’, plus ‘The One After 909’ – which wasn’t released in 1963, but re-recorded for the ‘Let it Be’ album. The version recorded in 1963 wasn’t released until ‘Anthology One’ in 1995.


The Beatles on the steps of EMI Studios, Abbey Road, with the postman going by!
The Beatles in Montague Place, March 5th 1963. Notice John has put his glasses over the parking meter!
The Beatles on the step leading to the basement at EMI House, Manchester Squre
The Beatles in the canteen of EMI Studios, Abbey Road

11th February 1963 ‘Please Please Me’ in One Day

On February 11th 1963, the Beatles recorded their debut album Please Please Me in one day! (Their second album took even longer :>)

In an amazing recording session that lasted just shy of 10 hours, the Beatles recorded 10 tracks. The Beatles weren’t in tip top condition either – the winter of 1962/63 was one of the coldest on record, and John Lennon was suffering from a particularly bad cold, that was affecting his voice. He got through the session sucking on Zubes throat sweets. Paradoxically, right by the jar of Zubes was a huge jar of cigarettes, that the Beatles smoked constantly through the day.

Only 2 songs were recorded in the morning session, ‘There’s a Place’ and ‘Seventeen’ (the working title of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’) At lunchtime, the engineers went to the the local pub, the Heroes of Alma, but the Beatles stayed in the studio to rehearse.

After lunch, they recorded ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret’ and ‘Misery’. Then at the 7:30pm evening session, things really started to pick up pace. They first recorded their own song ‘Hold Me Tight’ – but it didn’t really work, and the song was re-recorded for the Beatles second album ‘With the Beatles’.

The Beatles then recorded four cover versions, ‘Anna (go to him)’ ‘Chains’ ‘Boys’ and ‘Baby It’s You’. By the time the Beatles recorded ‘Baby It’s You’, John Lennon’s voice was really rasping, and he and the other Beatles were glad that they thought the day was over, and retired to the canteen. But it wasn’t, because ‘Hold me Tight’ hadn’t worked out, another song was needed. After a short debate, it was decided that it should be ‘Twist and Shout’ – a real fan favourite at their gigs. John’s voice had nearly gone by then, so, according to some accounts, he took his shirt off and ripped into ‘Twist and Shout’ in his most raucous voice possible on the first take. A second take was attempted, but wasn’t needed, as John had nailed it with the first take, and also totally ruined his voice in doing it! What an end to an amazing day.

Even though Please Please Me only took one day to record, it stayed at number one in the UK album chart for 30 weeks, only to replaces by the Beatles second album ‘With the Beatles’!

February 10th 1967 – The Beatles Record ‘A Day in the Life”

February 10th 1967. The Beatles gather in Studio One, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, to record the orchestral overdub of ‘A Day in the Life. 40 musicians were asked to start playing the lowest note on their instruments and gradually go up to the highest note.
Some of the musicians had played on Beatles sessions before, Alan Civil played French Horn on For No One, and David Mason had played trumpet on Penny Lane.

The Beatles wanted to create a party atmosphere in the studio and invited along many friends. They included Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull, Donovan, and Mike Nesmith of the Monkees. The musicians were asked to come in evening dress, but were also give party hats, false red noses and other weird things to wear. One of the violinist played with a huge Gorilla paw!

Tony Bramwell was asked to film the session for a proposed TV special about the making of Sgt Pepper. He bought along many cameras, and gave them to the guests to film anything that happened. The resulting film became the ‘A Day in the Life’ video.

BTW, the day after the recording session, Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, and George and Patti Harrison went down to Redlands, Keith Richards home in Sussex, for a party. On February 12th the police raided the party and Mick and Keith were arrested on drugs charges, and subsequently jailed, before finally being released on appeal. George and Patti had left the party before the raid took place. Allegedly, because they weren’t on the police ‘hit list’ at the time, the police waited until after they’d left to carry out the raid.

February 9th – From the Cavern to Ed Sullivan to Wings

February 9th was very much ‘A Day in the Life’ of the Beatles! On February 9th 1961, the Beatles first appeared at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. The Quarrymen had played at the Cavern a few times in the late 1950s, when still mainly a skiffle group. However, they also did a few rock and roll songs, and club owner Alan Sytner, a jazz lover, told them to “Cut out the bloody rock!”

Finally, now called ‘The Beatles’ they got back into the Cavern through their great supporter, Bob Wooler. He managed to get them a fee of £5 for the gig. However there was a doubt whether Paul McCartney would be able to get to the gig. He had a full time job at Massey and Coggins, and although the gig was at lunchtime, there was no way Paul could get to the gig and back during his lunch hour. However, Paul just bunked over the wall and played the gig.

The Beatles went onto play at the Cavern nearly 300 times in the next 2.5 years…

John Lennon at the Cavern Club 9th February 1961

Exactly three years later, the Beatles made there first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, in front of a TV audience of 73 million people. Quite a leap in three years!!


Oh – and on 9th February 1972, Wings gave their first ever concert, at Nottingham University, 11 years to the day since the Beatles first played the Cavern!

8th February 1964 – Ed Sullivan Eve

Om 8th February 1964, the Beatles rehearsed for their historic appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. However, George was ill with flu, so Neil Aspinall filled in for this photo shoot.

The Beatles also did a photoshoot in Cental Park. In this top picture, the arrow is pointing to the Dakota building, where John Lennon lived some 10 years later.

4th February 1968 – Recording Across the Universe – With a Little Help…

February 4th 1968. The Beatles are recording Across the Universe at EMI, Abbey Road.

Half way through the session, Paul McCartney comes out of the Studio, and asks the fans that are gathered in the car park whether they could ‘hold a high note’.

Lizzie Bravo and Gayleen Pease said yes, and were led into the studio by Paul to sing backing vocals on Across the Universe!

January 30th 1969 Up on the Roof – The Beatles Last Live Performance

The Beatles last ever live performance took place on the roof of 3 Savile Row, the Beatles’ ‘Apple’ HQ, on January 30th 1969. However, things could have been very different, and almost didn’t take place at all!

The Beatles were in the middle of a project initially called ‘Get Back’. Paul McCartney wanted the Beatles to do a huge live performance of their new album, which would be heard for the first time at the gig. The Beatles were to film the rehearsal for the concert, the took place at Twickenham Film Studios. That location was chosen as the head of Apple Films, Dennis O’Dell, was about the start work there on the film ‘Magic Christian with Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr.

However, things went badly from the start when the Beatles convened at Twickenham on January 2nd 1969. Twickenham was a large, very cold film studio, and not great for playing music. The main problem, however, was the tension in the Beatles, which got worse as time went on. There was no agreement on where to do the big concert. One suggestion was a Roman Ampitheatre in the middle of the desert in Tunisia. So many bizarre suggestions were made, that John Lennon was heard to mutter, ‘I think we should do it in a lunatic asylum’,

Finally the tension got too much for George Harrison. Over lunch on January 10th, he walked out of the session and said to the others ‘See you ’round the clubs!’

Finally, after days of negotiations, George agreed to return to the Beatles, but only if the sessions ended at Twickenham, and instead continued at their own Apple Studio at Savile Row.

The recording sessions certainly went better than at Twickenham, even though the film crew still followed their every move. However, the film didn’t have a climax, and Paul McCartney was determined to play live somewhere. It was decided to play a few songs on the roof of their own building – this took place on 30th January 1969.

An hour before the session technicians were testing the mikes and having real problems, as the strong wind was making a horrendous noise. Therefore Alan Parsons was sent around to a local branch of Marks and Spencers to buy some stockings to put over the mikes to stop the wind getting in. As Alan remembers, “It was very strange walking into the lingerie department and the assistant asking ‘what size?’ – and me answering ‘doesn’t matter’, ‘what colour?’ ‘doesn’t matter’ – they thought I was really odd.”

Even though they couldn’t be seen from the street, the Beatles could be heard for miles around and lots of people started gathering in the street below. Of course, the Beatles knew this was going to happen, so they had cameras placed all around and many passers-by were interviewed about their reactions. Beatles fans loved it – the group hadn’t played live in the UK for nearly 3 years. However, the local tailors were not amused by their business being disrupted by the concert. They called the police to get the Beatles to stop.

The nearest police station, West End Central, is only 150 yards from 3 Savile Row, at the other end of the street. However, the first policemen that arrived actually came from a police box in Piccadilly Circus, about three times the distance to 3 Savile Row than the police station! Ken Wharfe, then a young police officer, got a call on his radio saying that the Beatles were making too much noise and to tell them to turn it down. Ken and his colleague were huge Beatles fans and couldn’t believe their luck when they arrived on the roof and saw the Beatles playing live. They had no intention of stopping them.

This was a disappointment to the Beatles as they actually wanted to be arrested as it would have been a great climax for the film. They were allowed to finish the last song they were playing – which was ironically Get Back. The ‘rooftop session’ ended when John came to the microphone and said, “I’d like to thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.” It was to be the Beatles’ last ever live performance.

On the 40th anniversary of the rooftop concert, I managed to get my Beatles tour group up on the roof for the first and only time. The event was covered by CNN


The view from the roof

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time Beatles tour guide in London. For more info on his tours, see

January 21st 1966 – George Marries Pattie Boyd – but Where?

On 21st January 1966, George Harrison married Pattie Boyd – but where? There is so much confusion on the internet and in books. Some say Esher Register Office (including Mark Lewisohn’s book ‘The Beatles London’, some say Leatherhead, and some Epsom. Esher is the most commonly quoted as it is just down the road from Kinfauns – George and Pattie’s home.

However it seems Epsom is correct. Here is a first hand account of the wedding from Tony Barrow, one of the guests:


George, Pattie and guests emerging after the wedding.

This is how Ashley House looked just after it was built. The house has now been divided into flats.