Category Archives: Day in History

19th January 1967 – A Day in the Life….

On January 19th 1967, the Beatles began work on a new song for their forthcoming new album. The working title was ‘In the Life of…’, but a day later became ‘A Day in the Life’

On this day, The Beatles began work on John Lennon’s segment. John was an avid reader of newspapers since childhood, and used three separate stories for this song. The first part was about his friend, Tara Browne, who had been killed in a car crash. The second was about the film he’d been in ‘How I Won the War’ and the third was a small piece about potholes in the road in Blackburn. At this point, it seemed that nothing had been planned for the middle eight, so Mal Evans counted to 24 to fill in the gaps, to record over at a future session. On other days. Paul’s contribution would be added, and of course the amazing orchestral build-up.

This day, just bongos, maracas, piano and guitar were recorded, plus John’s vocals. As usual with John, where most singers would just put down a ‘guide vocal’, without really trying to get it perfect, John recorded every vocal as it was going to be the one on the record.

The song went through many recording stages in the next month or so, but A Day in the Life was magnificent right from the start…

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

 

 

January 12th 1964 The Beatles at the London Palladium – Take 2

On January 12th, 1964, the Beatles made their second appearance on the top TV show ‘Val Parnell’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

They had first appeared on the show on October 13th 1963. The scenes inside and outside the theatre that day has been seen as the start of ‘Beatlemania’ – though it had actually just taken the media a long time to catch on to the scenes that had been surrounding the Beatles for many months.

If anything, the crowds outside the Palladium for their second appearance were greater than the first. As usual the show was compered by Bruce Forsyth. The Beatles sang ‘I Want to Hold You Hand’, ‘This Boy’, ‘All My Loving’ ‘Money (That’s What I want) and Twist and Shout’  As with the fist Palladium show, there is no video in existence of the Beatles performance, but there is audio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwDYy3bwyCo

Blogger Richard Porter is a professional Beatles London tour guide. For more details of his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

The Beatles singing 'This Boy' at the London Palladium 1964
The Beatles singing ‘This Boy’ at the London Palladium 1964

 

Fans crowd Argyll Street waiting to see the Beatles
Fans crowd Argyll Street waiting to see the Beatles

10th January 1969 ‘See You around the Clubs!’ George Walks Out on the Beatles

January 10th 1969. The Beatles were rehearsing at Twickenham Film Studios for their ‘Get Back’ project. At lunchtime a row broke out and George got up, said ‘See you around the clubs’ and left!

John suggested The Beatles bring in Eric Clapton to take Georges place. That afternoon The Beatles carried on rehearsing, sometimes backing Yoko doing her screaching.

Sessions were then abandoned at Twickenham, and a few days later, a meeting was held with George at Savile Row. He agreed to come back only if the proposed big concert was dropped and session continued in their own Apple Studio, rather than Twickenham. The others agreed, and the project, eventually retitled ‘Let it Be’ was completed.

5th January 1967 Carnival of Light – a Legendary unreleased Beatles Track

On January 5th 1967 the Beatles recorded one of their strangest pieces of music, and to this day, it hasn’t been released. It was called Carnival of Light.

It was ‘written’ by Paul McCartney, for a an event at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, London called  “The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave” Paul was asked to contribute a piece by David Vaughan, part of designer trio, Binder, Edwards & Vaughan. Carnival of Light was premiered at the event, and has never been heard in public again since! Playing live at the event were Unit Delta Plus, featuring Delia Derbyshire from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, who previously had recorded the theme tune to ‘Dr Who’.

One of the few people to hear Carnival of Light is Mark Lewisohn, who was given access to it during the preparation for his book ‘The Complete Beatles Recording Session’. He describes it as  including “distorted, hypnotic drum and organ sounds, a distorted lead guitar, the sound of a church organ, various effects (water gargling was one) and, perhaps most intimidating of all, John Lennon and McCartney screaming dementedly and bawling aloud random phrases like ‘Are you alright?’ and ‘Barcelona!’

Paul McCartney has talked about the track many times since, but it still hasn’t been released. It was considered for the Beatles Anthology, but was vetoed by George Harrison. The ‘versions’ on youtube are sadly fake.

A poster the The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave - where Carnival of Light was premiered
A poster the The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave – where Carnival of Light was premiered

3rd January 1970 I Me Mine – the last Beatles Recording Session at Abbey Road

On January 3rd 1970, the Beatles returned to Abbey Road Studios for the first time since August 1969 to record ‘I Me Mine’ for the ‘Let it Be’ album. It was to become the last Beatles song to be recorded (well, at least until ‘Free as a Bird’ and ‘Real Love’ for the ‘Beatles Anthology’)

Only Paul, George and Ringo were present. The official reason that John wasn’t there was that he was on holiday in Denmark, but actually he had left the Beatles some months earlier, but it hadn’t been officially announced. During the recording session, George said ‘You will all have read that Dave Dee is no longer with us, but Mickey and Titch and I would just like to carry on the good work that’s always gone down in number two’.

I Me Mine actually dated back to the ‘Get Back’ sessions in January 1969, almost exactly a year earlier. It had been rehearsed during the first part of the sessions at Twickenham Film Studios, with great footage of John and Yoko waltzing to it. That clip was chosen to be in the film, but the song wasn’t recorded during the subsequent sessions at the Beatles’ Apple Studio. Therefore a recording had to be made to go on the album.

The original version of I Me Mine was only just over 1.5 minutes long. It was the last song they recorded.

But not the last recording session. The next day, Paul, George and Ringo returned to Abbey Road to record overdubs onto the January 1969 recording of ‘Let it Be’  So much for ‘Get Back’ – or ‘Let it Be’ as it became, being recorded ‘as nature intended’ – without overdubs!

However, that still not the end of the story! In March 1970, Phil Spector was brought in by John, George and Ringo to ‘reproduce’ the ‘Get Back’ tapes to make a new album, which had it’s title changed to ‘Let it Be’.Phil Spector ‘reproduced’ it to a  longer 2 minutes 25 seconds.

I Me Mine was finally released on the ‘Let it Be’ album on 8th May 1970.

Here is an outtake from the January 3rd 1970 recording session. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNYuaEluUgQ

Blogger Richard Porter is a professional Beatles Tour Guide in London. For details of Richard’s tours, please see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

 

 

26th December 1966 Follow Your Nose! John Lennon on Not Only But Also

On 26th December 1966, the Christmas Special of ‘Not Only….. But Also….’ starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore was broadcast. The show was a send up of an American TV reporter, played by Peter Cook, sent to the UK to find ‘Swinging London’

Peter Cook encounters the hippest toilets in London, the ‘Ad Lav’ and the commissionaire ‘Dan’ played by John Lennon.

Lennon is seen saluting to ‘visitors’ to the toilets, above him is a sign saying ‘Members Only’ – very bad English toilet humour! John greets Peter Cook and tells him there is a £5 ‘waiting list’ for entering the toilets. He then tells Peter Cook to ‘follow your nose’ when entering!

The sketch was filmed on 27th November 1966, in Broadwick Street in Soho, London. John is seen wearing his famous small round glasses for the first time. He was given them to wear in the film ‘How I Won the War’, which he had just completed. John liked the glasses so much he was rarely without them until he died. Before they were known as ‘granny glasses’ and were normally worn by old ladies. After John started wearing them they became the height of fashion.

The toilets in Broadwick Street are still there! We go past there (but not inside!) on my ‘Beatles Magical Mystery Tour’ London walking tour. For more info see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

lennonbroadwick

December 14th 1963 – The Beatles at Wimbledon Palais

This was one of the most bizarre Beatles concerts. On 14th December 1963 the Beatles came to the Wimbledon Palais in Merton for an event billed as the ‘Southern Area Fan Club Convention’ of the Beatles Fan club. The Beatles Fan club now had over 80,000 paid up members and Beatles PR man Tony Barrow was worried that the Club wasn’t offering value for money. He therefore decided it would be good to turn this already booked one off gig into something special.

A week before the concert the Wimbledon News announced that all police leave at Tootingand Mitcham had been cancelled and that some policemen would have to work 12-hour shifts.

St Helier Hospital informed other local hospitals of the Beatles’ visit and warned that they wouldn’t be able to recruit extra staff. The Palais itself was making its own security arrangements and taking on extra people. St John’s ambulance brigade were also on standby.

For the first part of the day the Beatles sat behind the bar of the Palais as all the 3000 fans present filed past to shake their hand and get autographs. Most of the fans were well behaved, but some started screaming when meeting their heroes became too much.

After everyone had filed passed, the Beatles were to play a concert, but were amazed and angry when they saw they had to play in a huge steel cage – similar to those used to protect audiences from wild animals! Apparently the management were worried that the crowd might storm the stage and harm the Beatles – the very same fans that had been only inches from the group an hour earlier. They were also worried about the possible damage to their famous sprung dance floor.

At one point the fans were jammed up so hard against the steel cage that John Lennon quipped ‘If they push any harder they’ll come through as chips!’

In fact, the cage did begin to buckle under the strain. Police managed to push the crowd back as one brave man with a spanner and bodyguards did his best to tighten up the structure.

The Beatles themselves were outraged at the thought of playing in a cage – especially in front of their most loyal fans, some who had travelled over 100 miles for the event. In the end though the Beatles agreed to go on after apologising to the audience and the show finished without incident.

Blogger Richard Porter is a professional Beatles Tour Guide in London. For more info on his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

 

The Beatles at the Wimbledon Palais 1963
The Beatles at the Wimbledon Palais 1963

Raw footage of the Beatles at Wimbledon Palais https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmdHaMl9Irs

John Lennon RIP – How I Heard the News

The history books will tell you that John Lennon was murdered on December 8th 1980 – but in the the UK it was early in the morning on the 9th.

I woke up late that morning, and didn’t put the radio on before going to school. I cycled to school as usual, not knowing anything had happened, only to be met by my best friend, and fellow Beatles fan, Dalton, who looked really angry, and was muttering about what some bastard had done to John Lennon. The then told me that John had been murdered. My first reaction was that it was another ‘Paul is dead’ type rumour, and that really he was OK.

However, that morning, the school assembly was taken by students, and they played ‘In My Life’ as a tribute to John. It’s there that the horrible fact really sank in. I also noticed that a lot of fellow students, and also staff, were moved by the announcement too.

After school, I went home and bought the evening newspapers, which had John on the front cover, and played Beatles/John songs for the rest of the day – only to stop to watch the many tributes to John on TV.

At the time, I had never been that affected by anyone’s death before.

Fast forward to 2007. My daughter Lilia, was born at approx 6am on December 9th. John Lennon was shot around 4am London time on December 9th 1980, and died about 2 hours later.

Take a sad song and make it better :>)

PS It certainly, wasn’t planned that Lilia was born at that time!

 

John Lennon at Kenwood. Photo - Marilyn Demmen
John Lennon at Kenwood.
Photo – Marilyn Demmen

Remembering John Lennon

I wrote this piece for the British Beatles Fanclub a few years ago. It still holds true today…

Like Beatles fans everywhere, we look back on the events of 8th December 1980 with much sadness. John Lennon, a brilliant musician, songwriter and man of peace, was needlessly gunned down in front of his wife, outside his own home. We all know where we were when we heard the terrible news.

However, we would rather remember and celebrate the remarkable life of John Lennon, than dwell on his senseless death. We condemn those media outlets that are featuring interviews with John’s killer, who carried out the act to become famous himself. Giving him publicity now gives him exactly what he wanted. It says something about our society, that a man who was a nobody for most of his life, should become famous for killing someone who gave pleasure to millions of people throughout the world.

John Lennon said in an interview shortly before he died, “It’s hard to be Gandhi or Martin Luther King or to follow them. I don’t admire politicians particularly, I think they’re showbiz people, but people who put their thing on the line, like Gandhi, and threw the British out by not shooting anybody… those are the political people I admire. But I don’t want to be shot for it like Gandhi, and I don’t want to be shot for it like Martin Luther King. I don’t want to be a martyr, I don’t believe in martyrs, but I admire their stance.”

John Lennon was not a saint, he was a flawed human being like all of us. However, he lived his life to the full, and used his fame to send a message of peace and love. On 8th December we will be commemorating a great life, not a senseless death.

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

John Lennon at Kenwood. Photo: Marilyn Demmen
John Lennon at Kenwood. Photo: Marilyn Demmen

December 5th 1967 – the Beatles Apple Shop Opening Party

December 5th 1967 – John Lennon and George Harrison, along with their wives, attended  the party to celebrate the opening of the Beatles ‘Apple’ store on Baker Street. Paul was apparently ‘on holiday’ in Scotland, and Ringo was filming ‘Candy’.

As the store didn’t have an alcohol license, party goers were given Apple juice to drink :>)

Not surprisingly, the party was covered extensively in the media, including Pathe News, and in colour, though silent, by AP. Much of the media interest centred on the shop’s psychedelic mural, which was designed by ‘The Fool’ – who also designed the clothes sold inside.

ebookappleshoppostcard

 

 

 

 

The shop opened to the public 2 days later.