Category Archives: Day in History

October 17th 1967 – The Beatles Attend the Memorial Service for Brian Epstein

On October 17th 1967, The Beatles attended the memorial service for Brian Epstein at the New London Synagogue in Abbey Road, London, just a few hundred metres from EMI Studios.

The didn’t attend the funeral for Brian, as his family didn’t want ‘Beatlemania’ around it.

Here is footage of the Beatles arriving for the ceremony. http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/the-beatles-arriving-at-memorial-at-new-london-synagogue-news-footage/98865455

October 17th 1963 – A Busy Day at Abbey Road

October 17th 1963 was a busy day for the Beatles at EMI Studios, Abbey Road. They recorded both sides of their new single, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and it’s B Side ‘This Boy’

If that wasn’t enough, they also recorded a Christmas message to be sent to members of the Beatles Fan Club. They would continue to record these discs for the Fan Club for the next 7 years.

I Want to Hold Your Hand was written in the basement of 57 Wimpole Street, where Margaret Elliott, the mother of Jane Asher, had her music room. Paul McCartney had recently moved into the Asher’s house, as he was dated their daughter, Jane. John Lennon visited Paul here on a few occasions, and as he told ‘Playboy’ magazine in 1980:

We wrote a lot of stuff together, one on one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher’s house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, ‘Oh you-u-u/ got that something…’ And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, ‘That’s it!’ I said, ‘Do that again!’ In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that — both playing into each other’s noses.

Of course I Want to Hold Your Hand became the Beatles first number one hit in the USA.

I Want to Hold Your Hand on the Ed Sullivan Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jenWdylTtzs

The Beatles 1963 Christmas Record https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZLYO0H65E0

The Beatles 1963 Christmas record
The Beatles 1963 Christmas record

October 13th 1963 – The Beatles at the London Palladium

On 13th October 1963, the Beatles appeared on a TV show called Val Parnel’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium. The Palladium was, and still is, London’s most famous theatre, and it was regarded as a highlight of a ‘showbiz’ career to play there. Sunday Night at the London Palladium had been going for several years, and was one of the most watched TV shows in the the UK. On March 2nd 1958, Buddy Holly and the Crickets appeared on the show – and very much influenced the youth of the UK, including John, Paul, George and Ringo, who were all glued to the TV that night!

The Beatles appearance on the show was very popular – about 18 million people watched this show. By then, the Beatles already had 3 number one hits, and been on TV many times, but all on shows geared towards teenagers. The Palladium show was the first time they had been on an ‘family’ show. They topped the bill on the show, which was presented by Bruce Forsyth. Forsyth whipped the audience into a frenzy by counting down to the Beatles appearance. They sang From Me To YouI’ll Get You, She Loves You and Twist and Shout. They also appeared, together with the rest of the cast, right at the end of the show, to wave goodbye to the audience on the Palladium’s revolving podium.

No film of the show remains, as TV bosses at the time did not think anyone would want to watch this performance of the Beatles after it was first shown. There is audio of the show though – which you can listen to here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6C_f9lvyFg

There is, however, footage of the Beatles coming out of the theatre. You can see that the street was packed with people. The Beatles come out, and there is no car waiting for them. They rush towards what they think is a taxi, but it turns out to be a police car, and policemen would not let them in. Ringo comes out first, then the other three follow, and there is nowhere for them to go. This confusion was probably because the stage door is around the back, and they came out of the front entrance. Maybe, that was deliberate, as all the press were outside here.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNYXilEvSo4

Throughout the day the theatre was besieged by several hundred Beatles fans. Next day all the UK newspapers were full of stories of the mayhem. Although screaming girls were a regular occurrence around the Beatles by then, the national newspapers had virtually ignored the Beatles and their fans up to this point. The Palladium show changed that; from now on the Beatles were hardly ever out of the newspapers. A couple of weeks after the Palladium show the term ‘Beatlemania’ was used for the first time to describe the scenes that now greeted the Beatles wherever they went.

Beatles books have often misstated that their famous 1963 appearance on the Royal Command Performance was held at the London Palladium, when it fact it was held at the Prince of Wales Theatre, a month after the Palladium concert. This confusion was no doubt brought about by a poster that was released at the time, of the Beatles standing in a doorway. The poster said: “The Beatles, Royal Command Performance 1963, London Palladium”. This is a mistake, and a strange one, as the poster was officially licensed by NEMS – Brian Epstein’s company! You would have thought someone would notice such an error!

The Beatles made a second appearance on Sunday Night at the London Palladium in January 1964, and, if anything, were greeted by more mayhem than their first appearance. They returned to the Palladium for the last time in July 1964 for a charity concert called The Night of a Hundred Stars.

The Beatles at the London Paladium

Blogger Richard Porter is a professional Beatles Tour Guide in London. For details of his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com His book, Guide to the Beatles London, is available at http://www.beatlescoffeeshop.com/shop/product.php/2/guide_to_the_beatles_london__guide_book_by_richard_porter

October 5th 1962 – The Beatles Release ‘Love me Do’

On October 5th 1962, the Beatles first single ‘Love Me Do’ was released. On the Parlophone ‘red label’, it featured the Beatles recording made on September 4th 1962, with Ringo Starr on drums. This was significant, as originally, the Beatles producer George Martin wasn’t happy with Ringo’s drumming that day, and had the Beatles remake ‘Love Me Do’ on September 11th with session drummer Andy White on drums. Ringo was given a tambourine to bang, much to his ever lasting chagrin.  When it came to the original release though, Ringo’s version was chosen.

Things became confusing months later when Parlophone changed its record label to a black one, and at the same time, substituted the Andy White version of  ‘Love Me Do’ as the single. This led to a big mistake decades later. On October 5th 2012, EMI were due to re-release  ‘Love Me Do’ on its 50th anniversary, in an identical packaging and recording to the original release. We were sent copies of the new single to sell in the Beatles Coffee Shop. However, just 2 days before the release date, we were send an email from EMI to say the release had been cancelled to a ‘production problem’ and that we should send the singles back. Curious to what the problem was, I took a copy home and played it. The ‘problem’ was obvious right from the first few seconds – it was the wrong version of  ‘Love Me Do’! They had used the September 11th with Andy White on drums.

Because of the problem, the re-release of  ‘Love Me Do’ was delayed for several weeks, so missed the 50th anniversary. Rather than send all the copies we had of the rejected version back, I kept a couple. (shhh, don’t tell anyone!)

The reject re-release of Love Me Do

On October 5th 1982, Paul McCartney made a surprise visit to Abbey Road Studios, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Love Me Do. Well, it was supposed to be a surprise – lots of Paul’s fans (including yours truly!) found out Paul was going there. There was a group of about 10 fans outside when Paul arrived. He was totally amazed we were there – but was great about it. We all shouted out ‘Happy Anniversary!’  to Paul, and he said thanks and stayed around to sign autographs.

Paul McCartney at Abbey Road Studios, October 5th 1982, the 20th anniversary of the release of Love Me Do

On the 30th anniversary, I was invited to a special party in Studio Two at Abbey Road. As well as celebrating the anniversary, the British Council launched its new Beatles exhibition, including a video that included a section of me and members of the London Beatles Fanclub having a meeting at the Liverpool Beatles convention.

At the party, Apple MD Neil Aspinall, and reps from EMI, cut the 30th anniversary cake, which had been baked by Paul McCartney’s ex, Jane Asher!

The cake to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Love Me Do – as designed by Jane Asher!

‘Abbey Anniversary’ to the Abbey Road album – released on September 26th 1969.

‘Abbey anniversary’ to the Abbey Road album – released on September 26th 1969.
On September 26th 1994, all those involved in the making of the album ( apart from the Beatles unfortunately) gathered at Abbey Road Studios to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the album.

Here is a picture I took that day – from left to right Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald, Eddie Klein, Jeff Jarratt, Ken Townsend and George Martin

Sir George Martin on the steps of Abbey Road Studios – September 26th 1994
A rather famous album cover :>)

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