Category Archives: Day in History

November 4th 1963 -the Beatles By Royal Command!

The Beatles’ famous appearance on the Royal Command Performance took place at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London, on 4th November 1963. This is an annual charity event, which is always attended by at least one member of the Royal Family. For this concert the Royals were the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. These performances are very high-class occasions with extremely expensive tickets.
It was in front of this distinguished audience that John made his famous comment: “For our next number I’d like to ask for your help. Will those in the cheaper seats clap your hands? The rest of you just rattle your jewellery!”

It sounded like an impromptu joke, but in a later interview John Lennon said that the Beatles actually worked it out the day before the show – so this was a well thought out comment! However, John told Brian he was going to tell the crowd to rattle their f***ing jewellery. If John had used that word in front of the Royals it would have been the end of the Beatles career!

Luckily, John’s comment did not outrage the Royals; after the show the Queen Mother asked Paul McCartney where they were playing next. Paul said they were playing Slough. The Queen Mother was delighted and said, “Ah, that’s near us!” Windsor Castle, a royal residence, is just down the road from Slough. She did not go to the concert though.

You can watch the Beatles performance here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWDFuVRWdn4&feature=youtu.be

The Beatles were asked to perform on the show many times after this – but always refused. As John Lennon said in the Beatles Anthology book:

“We managed to refuse all sorts of things that people don’t know about. We did the Royal Variety Show, and we were asked discreetly to do it every year after that, but we always said, ‘Stuff it.’ So every year there was a story in the newspapers: ‘Why no Beatles for the Queen?’ which was pretty funny, because they didn’t know we’d refused. That show’s a bad gig, anyway. Everybody’s very nervous and uptight and nobody performs well. The time we did do it, I cracked a joke on stage. I was fantastically nervous, but I wanted to say something to rebel a bit, and that was the best i could do.”

The programme for the Royal Command Performance
The programme for the Royal Command Performance
The commemorative booklet to celebrate the Beatles performance
The speical booklet to celebrate the Beatles performance

September 24th 1941 – Remembering Linda McCartney

Remembering Linda McCartney, who was born on September 24th 1941 – 75 years ago today.

I met Linda with Paul on many occasions. I think the nicest was in June 1983 outside MPL. I had a day off work, and it was a lovely summer’s day, and I decided to meet a couple of Beatles friends in Soho Square. We thought Paul might be at MPL, that overlooked the square, but that would have been a bonus, as it was such a nice day to lounge about in the square.

We were in luck though, as Paul and Linda were indeed at MPL, in seemingly in very good spirits. They came to the window a couple of times and Paul saw us, and did silly dances for our benefit. When they were due to leave, Paul and Linda beckoned us over. They were very chatty and relaxed. I had a copy of Mike McCartney’s then new book ‘Thank U Very Much with me and I asked Paul and Linda to sign it, and they gave me huge autographs on the title page. I also had a camera with me, and Linda asked whether I wanted a photo, and called Paul over to pose especially for me :>)

A few months later I met Mike McCartney at the Beatles convention in Liverpool, and got him to sign the book too. When he saw I already had it signed by Paul and Linda, he wrote ‘and well done’ under his autograph.

Linda was very much the love of Paul’s life, and I’m sure he will be thinking of her too today.

 

Paul and Linda at MPL
Paul and Linda at MPL
The autographs of Paul, Linda and Mike McCartney
The autographs of Paul, Linda and Mike McCartney3

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.