Walkers on my London Beatles tour had a nice surprise today when we saw Tommy Steele go into the London Palladium. Showbiz legend Steele has appeared the the famous theatre more than anyone else, and was being filmed by ITV for a documentary on this iconic venue. They also filmed part of my talk – so I hope that’s included too!
At the end of the tour, we saw James McCartney in St John’s Wood.
Paul McCartney was visiting Abbey Road Studios regularly in 1995 to supervise the compilation of the Beatles Anthology CDs. He often stopped to sign autographs for fans, but in this special day he stayed for about 20 minutes chatting to fans, and signing for everyone. Here are some of the photos I took that day:
Coming soon – the London Walks Beatles Walks promo film! I was film on 2 tours, and also with my fellow guides, Adam, Andy, and Steve, crossing Abbey Road, and running down Boston Place. The film should be ready in about a week, but here is a preview, with me in my Beatles suit!
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.
Update – we think only 100 people will be given access to Studio One – so arrive early!
Come together for a moment of Peace & Love at Abbey Road Studios on Friday 7 July, as part of Ringo Starr’s annual Peace & Love Birthday Celebration. Abbey Road Studios are inviting a limited number of fans into Studio One to participate in a live Facebook broadcast of the ‘Peace & Love’ message.
To access this event, you will need one of Ringo’s ‘Peace & Love’ bracelets, available for free exclusively from the Abbey Road Shop. Bracelets will be available while stocks last on Friday 7 July starting from 9.30 am.
Ringo also invites everyone everywhere to think, say, or post #PeaceandLove at noon their local time, thus generating a wave of Peace & Love that moves over the planet on July 7 starting at noon in New Zealand and ending at noon in Hawaii.
It’s very apt the event is in Studio One, because it’s in there on June 25th 1967, the Beatles recorded ‘All You Need is Love’ in front of a worldwide audience of 400 Million people, for the worldwide TV broadcast ‘Our World’.
I’ve been doing Beatles tours for about 25 years and during that time have taken around 150,000 people on tours. Perhaps the best experience I had was when I was asked to appear on the show ‘Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels.
Gene is lead singer of Glam Rock group Kiss. In the band, known for it’s extravagant make up and clothes. Gene has been ‘happily unmarried’ to Shannon Tweed for more than 20 years. Shannon is a former Playboy ‘Playmate of the Year’ and former girlfriend of Hugh Heffner. They have two kids, Nick and Sophie.
For the show they are ‘on holiday’ in the UK and I gave them a tour of Studio Two at Abbey Road – where The Beatles recorded nearly all their songs. Normally it is impossible to get into the Studios – but Gene’s crew hired Studio Two for the morning. Even though I’d been in Studio Two many times I still get a thrill being inside the place where The Beatles recorded so many songs. I’d also never done a tour inside the Studio, so I knew it was going to be an unforgettable experience.
I was expecting the family to be rather weird and the whole experience very daunting. In Kiss, Gene was known as ‘Demon’ and supposedly spitting blood on stage, however, in real life he is a real gentleman. He is also an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable Beatles fan – something that surprised me as Kiss are know for their heavy rock.
The day of the tour saw London’s first snow of the winter and was freezing cold. I was glad most of the morning was going to be spent inside.
I left for the studios early as I was worried transport would be affected but luckily the buses weren’t too bad and I arrived in good time. When Gene and his family arrived I was asked by their TV crew to meet them on the famous steps of the Studios and lead them inside. They greeted me very courteously and any nerves I had about the occasion disappeared.
We first entered the control room in Studio Two where I told them a bit about The Beatles recording history in the Studios. I was surprised that Gene knew the name of Andy White, the session drummer that played on Love Me Do. Gene told the story of how he met Ringo at a party at literally picked him up. He then demonstrated on me!
We then went down into the Studio itself and I pointed out the various instruments in there which the Beatles used on their sessions, including the piano used on Lady Madonna. Nick played some very nice tunes on the piano. We were amazed to see that the piano had cigarette burns all over it – including on the piano keys! Gene expressed surprise that smoking was allowed in the studios – it seems the whole family are against smoking (another surprise!)
They were also just as nice when the cameras were switched off. At one point, I told Gene I had written a book about the Beatles In London. He asked me for a copy – and asked me to sign it for him! A nice touch.
The two hours went by much too quickly. Gene and his family were some of the nicest people I’ve had on a tour. The experience obviously meant more to Gene than the rest of the family, but they all treated me with great respect and listened with interest. A very pleasant morning.