Monthly Archives: January 2019

A Beatles confidant explores the myth of the Fab Four

On January 30 1969, The Beatles — the band that had reshaped popular music and culture in a creative arc of only eight years (and with whom I had worked for that entire dizzying period) — played an impromptu show in London, immortalised as “the rooftop concert”. The six-song set was staged atop 3 Savile Row, the building we had bought as the headquarters for their adventurous multimedia company, Apple Corps. Although none of us realised it at the time, it was to be their final live performance as a band. And as far as rock shows go, it was a great one. On that freezing rooftop in London, I saw and heard everything that was great about The Beatles. The humour, the look (John and Ringo wore their wives’ coats for the performance) and, of course, the music. But I also saw the frayed ends and the bitterness that was already spilling out in my office at Apple, where I had been appointed as executive director the year before, having spent most of the 1960s at Brian Epstein’s management company.

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The New Stella McCartney Collection Celebrates The Beatles

Stella McCartney has officially launched the new Stella Menswear Autumn Winter 2019 collection. Stella’s personal childhood, her family prints and most importantly his father’s iconic band The Beatles heavily influenced this collection and it shows, beautifully.

This collection has a lot of Beatle references, starting from the cinematic theme titled ‘All Together Now’; portraits of her father’s buddies John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison are all posterized and seen on the pieces, along with ‘All You Need is Love’ patches on shirting. The song “When I’m Sixty Four” made an appearance by number graphics on the classic grey overcoat, and not to mention a landscape from the iconic “Pepperland” scene from Yellow Submarine is also digitally-printed on organic cotton poplin shirt.

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Beatles Royal Command Performance 1963 Poster – Fake News?

One of  the most re-produced photos of the Beatles shows them by a blue wall and doorway. It was made into a poster, licensed by Brian Epstein’s company, NEMS Enterprises, that sold hundreds of thousands copies over the world. The poster had the caption ‘Beatles London Palladium Royal Command Performance 1963 ‘.

Unfortunately, there are several things wrong with this poster. For a start, the 1963 Royal Command Performance was NOT at the London Palladium, it was at the Prince of Wales Theatre. The Beatles played at the Palladium a few weeks before the Royal Command Performance, which might have caused the confusion.

So, was the photo taken at the London Palladium? Err No. In fact it almost certainly wasn’t taken in the UK, and not  in 1963, but early 1964. Here is an out-take from the same photo session:

You can’t fail to notice the huge ‘Ford Service’ sign above the Beatles. There is nothing like this near the London Palladium! You will also notice that the poster photo has been reversed from this one.

So where was the photo taken? I wish I could be sure! Some say in was taken is Paris in January 1964, and some in Washington DC in February 1964. I thought it was Paris, but renowned French journalist and Beatles expert Jacques Volcouve says there was nothing like the ‘Ford Service’ place in Paris, and thinks it was taken in Washington.

Let’s look at more photos, that might give us a clue. Here is another out-take by the blue wall, that shows Paul wearing a shiny (maybe leather?) jacket, which he took off for the most famous photo.

Here are the Beatles coming out of the George V Hotel in Paris, with Paul wearing a leather jacket. Is it the same one? The other Beatles seem to be wearing the same clothes as the ‘Palladium’ poster.

Here is a photo of the Beatles in Washington. All are wearing very similar clothes as the ‘Palladium’ shots, except Paul, who is not wearing a leather jacket, but an overcoat, like the others.

Well the jury is out. What do you think? Paris or Washington? Who was the photographer? Any details would be gratefully received!

One thing is for sure though, it wasn’t taken at the Palladium!


Blogger Richard Porter is a London Beatles tour guide. For more info on his tours go to




Let It Be: A Celebration Of The Music Of The Beatles is returning to the stage in 2019 with a series of new tour dates announced in a year that marks key anniversaries in Fab Four history.

The acclaimed theatrical concert, which features an all-new Let It Be Part II reunion concert, proved such a hit with audiences and critics alike when it was premiered last year and a sell out European Tour, that it is now returning for a new UK Tour through Spring 2019.

After opening in Portsmouth on 22 April, Let It Be will then visit Inverness, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Blackpool, Bath, Bradford and Norwich.

 Let It Be is a celebration of the iconic music of The Beatles and has already been seen by more than two million people worldwide, including a run in the West End and two UK tours.

Beatles fans are invited to join John, Paul, George and Ringo for an unforgettable night of live music. The cast will be announced shortly.

Act One takes audiences through the early days of the band as they embarked on their musical journey and onwards to the heights of global Beatlemania. The historic Royal Variety Performance, Shea Stadium and those iconic Sergeant Pepper costumes all feature. The first half of the evening features many of their most famous songs including I Want to Hold Your Hand, Day Tripper, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Penny Lane, A Day In The Life, Come Together, Get Back, and The End.

In a twist from the original Let It Be show, Act Two is set a decade after The Beatles went their separate ways. It gives fans a rare glimpse of how the Fab Four could have Come Together once again to perform – and is not to be missed.

Audiences are taken on a memorable and unique step back in time to the reunion concert taking place on 9 October 1980 – it’s John Lennon’s 40th Birthday. This is the ultimate concert that never was. The band reunite for one night only, just Imagine.

 The band’s solo material featured includes Starting Over, Band On The Run, Black Bird, Got My Mind Set On You, My Sweet Lord, Live and Let Die, and Imagine.

The new tour coincides with a number of iconic anniversaries in the history of the most successful band of all time, The Beatles – who started out as just four young lads from Liverpool.

 This year marks 50 years since The Beatles took those infamous steps across the pedestrian crossing outside EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London, which went on to become one of the most famous album covers of all time.

 Sadly, it also marks the 50th anniversaries of the group playing together for the final time with a rooftop performance on top of the Apple Corps building in London’s Savile Row. They also finished recording Abbey Road – and this year also marks half a century since the album was released.

Let It Be producer Jeff Parry said: “The original Let It Be was a hit with Beatles fans all over the world, but UK audiences’ reaction to the new show and the new Act Two reunion concert that never was, has been nothing short of phenomenal.

“It may be almost half a century since The Beatles split, but their popularity and their influence just seems to keep growing, with their incredible and creative catalogue of music attracting a whole new generation of fans. And with so many important anniversaries during 2019, we’re delighted to take this special show to thousands more Beatles fans here in the UK.”


 A masterstroke’

British Theatre Guide

 ‘A rare glimpse of how the Fab Four could have Come Together once again’

Theatre News UK

 “A joy to hear these beloved songs live”

The Mail on Sunday

‘The cast left me in complete awe during the second half of Let It Be’

Lowdown Magazine


Facebook:       /LetItBeUKTour

Twitter:           @LetItBeUKTour





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It doesn’t look like Paul McCartney is headlining Glastonbury 2019 after all

Another Day…

The chances of Paul McCartney headlining Glastonbury 2019 now look extremely unlikely after he announced US tour dates for the same weekend.

The Beatles legend was previously among the favourites rumoured to be headlining at Worthy Farm this summer, but now two newly announced shows in America have ruled him out. Sir Paul will be performing at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix on June 26, before heading to Las Vegas’ T Mobile Arena on June 29.

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Las Vegas Date Added to Paul McCartney’s #FreshenUpTour

29th June – T Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Paul has added yet another show to the upcoming U.S. leg of his #FreshenUpTour. The newly confirmed 29th June 2019 show at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV is the latest addition to Paul’s first extended Stateside run since the One On One tour that played to some two million fans around the world during 2016 and 2017.

PRESALE INFORMATION: presale tickets for Las Vegas will be available from 10am (PST) / 6pm GMT Wednesday 16th January. To purchase tickets, click the link below and enter the password: PaulFreshenUpLasVegas



PASSWORD: PaulFreshenUpLasVegas


Tickets will go on sale to the public Monday 22nd January at 10am PST.



The ‘Beatles Rooftop Concert’ – Their Last Live Performance

The Beatles ‘Rooftop Concert’ took place on 30th January 1969. It was the culmination of a month-long project that saw the Beatles rehearsing at Twickenham Film Studios for a concert at a yet undecided venue, at which they were going to perform their new album live. However, after George Harrison walked out of the band, the Beatles relocated to the new Apple Studios in the basement of 3 Savile Row and continued to record their new album, with the film crew still present. As the recording sessions drew to a close, it was thought that some sort of climax for the film was needed, and Paul McCartney especially was keen to play live somewhere – but where?

The decision to play on the roof was only made on Sunday 26th January. There are many different versions on how that idea was reached, and whose it was.

If an earlier idea had been realised, there would have been no place to play on the roof – Paul McCartney had wanted to build a roof garden, complete with a lawn and trees.

On the Monday, an engineer visited the roof to make sure it could withstand all the Beatles’ equipment and personnel. Scaffolding and wooden planks were hired and put down to reinforce the space chosen, which was to the front of the roof, overlooking Savile Row. For the next few days, the equipment was being carried in through the reception, disturbing the work of receptionist Debbie Wellum and Chris O’Dell, whose office was on the top floor, just below where the makeshift stage was being erected.

Initially, the rooftop session was planned for Wednesday 29th January, but the weather forecast had said it would be a very gloomy day, and not good for filming so the project was put back until the 30th.  One reason for this was it was hoped to get helicopter shots of the Beatles on the roof and needed good light. However, tut this was later abandoned.

On the morning of the 30th, EMI technicians Dave Harries, and Keith Slaughter were driving towards 3 Savile Row with a car full ropes, blocks, amplifiers, speakers and other vital equipment needed for the rooftop session to take place. In Kings Langley, they were pulled over by the police, who thought their equipment was going to be used in a burglary. They had to convince the police of the real reason they had all the equipment in the car.

One person that missed this historic day was the Beatles trusted roadie, Neil Aspinall, who was in hospital having his tonsils removed. It was left to Mal Evans and Kevin Harrington to set up the Beatles instruments on the roof. Kevin Harrington said that they didn’t know which songs the Beatles were going to play, so just took all the instruments that were in the basement studio up to the roof.

An hour before the session technicians were testing the mics 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 Spencer 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.”

Apart from the Beatles and the film and recording technicians, very few people were allowed on the roof. Among the lucky ones were Yoko Ono, Maureen Starkey, and Apple employees Ken Mansfield, and Chris O’Dell. They all set by a chimney, trying to shelter from the strong wind. Leslie Cavendish, who was the Beatles official hairdresser, was in the building, but after making his way up to the third floor and near to the roof, he was stopped by Mal Evans, who said there was no more room for anyone else. Alistair Taylor, the Beatles long-time associate and now office manager at Apple, decided to watch from down on the street outside.

Although it certainly wasn’t announced in advance that the Beatles were going to play on the roof, one group of fans realised early on that something big was about to happen. ‘The Apple Scruffs’ were a very loyal group of Beatles fans, who used to hang around on the steps of 3 Savile Row, waiting to see their heroes come and go. Their curiosity was certainly raised when they saw all the equipment needed for the session being brought into the building.

Tony Richmond, who was director of photography invited his girlfriend along, and she tipped off Vicki Wickham, who had produced the great TV show, Ready Steady Go, who brought along the presenter of the show Cathy McGowan. Rather than go to the roof, they went to the Royal Bank of Scotland, opposite 3 Savile Row, and somehow were allowed onto the roof. They probably had the best view of all.

Despite it not being announced in advance, the Beatles still wanted an audience, so deliberately scheduled the show for lunchtime, when nearby workers would be on their lunchbreaks and could come and watch. It also harked back to the Beatles Cavern Club lunchtime shows.

Just before they went on the roof, the Beatles gathered in a top floor Apple office which was used as a makeshift dressing room. Ringo borrowed his wife’s bright orange coat, while John and George are wearing their own heavy winter coats. Only Paul didn’t dress for the weather, wearing a suit and an open necked shirt. The Beatles long-time friend Billy Preston had been playing keyboards with them for the last week and had a big role to play on the roof, naturally joined them.

George Harrison was still questioning the point of going on the roof, and Ringo complained of how cold it was. Some were even thinking that the Beatles might abandon the project at the last minute. Finally, John Lennon, who had been silent up to now, said to the others, ‘Let’s do it’ and they went onto the roof.

In all, the Beatles were on the roof for 42 minutes – which was longer than their performance at Shea Stadium. At first, the Beatles played a rehearsal of ‘Get Back’ followed by what could be regarded as ‘take one’ of the same song. They then played ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ and ‘One After 909’ For the next song ‘Dig a Pony’ it’s obvious that John has forgotten the lyrics of his own song (not for the first time!) and asks Kevin Harrington to hold them up for him while he is singing.

The Beatles on the Roof of 3 Savile Row

After this, there was a slight gap, as Alan Parsons had to change the tapes. During this break, the Beatles play a short version of the National Anthem! After the tapes are changed, the Beatles do second versions of I’ve Got a Feeling and Don’t Let Me Down. They finish the session with a third version of Get Back.

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.

As well as at street level, people started gathering on nearby roofs, and even on the top of tall chimney stacks, to get a better look. Many others got great views from their office windows. A good back view of the proceedings could be had from the top floors of buildings in Heddon Street, where three years later David Bowie would pose for the Ziggy Stardust album cover photo.

The Beatles on the roof of 3 Savile Row – looking down from above

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 Beatles guessed that the police were going to come, and had a secret camera set up in reception to film their arrival. The nearest police station, West End Central, is only 150 yards from 3 Savile Row, at the other end of the street. However, as soon as they began playing, the front door of the building was locked, to prevent any intruders coming in, and to delay the police.

A journalist who had been tipped off about the event went into nearby West End Police station to ask their opinion on what was going on. The desk policeman said they were happy for the Beatles to play and weren’t doing any harm. Things started to deteriorate as more and more people started gathering in the street, bringing traffic in Savile Row to a standstill and complaints were made by local tailors, and ironically, the Royal Bank of Scotland, where many people were watching from their roof! Eventually a ‘Black Maria’ police van drove towards 3 Savile Row and the Apple staff started to become worried. Dave Harries remembers ‘George Martin went as white as a sheet’ as he thought he was going to be arrested.

However, the among the first policemen that arrived 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 wanted to be arrested as it would have been a great climax for the film. Although other policeman had arrived, and asked the Beatles to stop playing, there was no intention to arrest them. After negotiations, they were allowed to perform one last song, 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.

I always feel let down about the police. Someone in the neighbourhood called the police, and when they came up I was playing away and I thought, ‘Oh great! I hope they drag me off.’ I wanted the cops to drag me off – ‘Get off those drums!’ – because we were being filmed and it would have looked really great, kicking the cymbals and everything. Well, they didn’t, of course; they just came bumbling in: ‘You’ve got to turn that sound down.’ It could have been fabulous.Ringo Starr, Beatles Anthology


In the end it started to filter up from Mal that the police were complaining. We said, ‘We’re not stopping.’ He said, The police are going to arrest you.’ ‘Good end to the film. Let them do it. Great! That’s an end: “Beatles Busted on Rooftop Gig”.’

We kept going to the bitter end and, as I say, it was quite enjoyable. I had my little Hofner bass – very light, very enjoyable to play. In the end the policeman, Number 503 of the Greater Westminster Council, made his way round the back: ‘You have to stop!’ We said, ‘Make him pull us off. This is a demo, man!’

I think they pulled the plug, and that was the end of the film.Paul McCartney, Beatles Anthology

Blogger Richard Porter on the roof of 3 Savile Row 30th Jan 2009
The roof of 3 Savile Row, 30th January 2009

Blogger Richard Porter is a professional Beatles tour guide in London. He is guiding a special tour on 30th January 2019 to commemorate the rooftop concert. It leaves at 11am from outside exit one of Tottenham Court Road Station. It costs £10 for adults, or £8 for students or seniors.

Full details of all Richard’s tours are at






Paul McCartney’s ‘The Bruce McMouse Show’ Playing In Select Cinemas Around The World On January 21st

The theatrical premiere of this previously never-before-seen film
Features live performances from Paul McCartney & Wings
and the animated Bruce McMouse.

Today Paul announced in partnership with Abramorama and MPL/Capitol/UMe to premiere The Bruce McMouse Show in select cinemas around the world on Monday 21st January. The Bruce McMouse Show is a previously never-before seen film that tells the story of how Paul and Wings came to meet the inimitable impresario Bruce McMouse. Part concert film, part animated feature, The Bruce McMouse Show  features footage from Wings’ 1972 European tour from Red Rose Speedway, interspersed with animated scenes that introduce a family of mice living under the stage.

After opening the film with ‘Big Barn Bed’, the camera takes us down through the floorboards into this charming animated world. We see Bruce McMouse regale his children with stories from his past, when son Soily rushes into the room in a whirlwind of excitement announcing that “The Wings” are playing above them. As the concert plays on, Bruce declares to his wife Yvonne that Paul and the band need his help. Bruce then proceeds to venture on stage to offers his services as producer. As the concert progresses, the animated scenes culminate with dozens of animated mice flocking to the venue to see Wings play. The Bruce McMouse Show has been fully restored in 2018 at Final Frame Post alongside a brand-new audio mix (stereo and 5.1) created at AIR Studios and mastered at Abbey Road.

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Alma Cogan and the Beatles

When the Beatles first came to London, they immediately started socialising with London celebrities. As well as going to clubs, the Beatles would of course go to people’s homes. A regular venue was Flat 44 Stafford Court, Kensington High Steet, where Alma Cogan and her mother and sister lived. The Beatles met Alma when they appeared on Sunday Night at the London Palladium on January 12th 1964. Alma was not admired by the Beatles before they met. In fact John Lennon used to make horrible jokes against her and pull crazy expressions on his face to try to imitate her. However, their attitude changed when they met her in person. They all got on like a house on fire, and Alma invited them all back to her flat that she shared with her mother and sister, in Kensington High Street.

The Beatles certainly weren’t the first showbusiness stars to visit Stafford Court. Other celebrities that had gone there included, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Sir Noel Coward, Ethel Merman, Danny Kaye and Sammy Davis Jr.

Ironically, it was John Lennon that got on with Alma the best. In fact, it has been alleged that they embarked on a secret affair. Cynthia Lennon said to a would-be biographer that she didn’t lose John to Yoko Ono, she lost him to Alma Cogan.

It wasn’t long after they met that Paul McCartney played a tune to Alma and her sister, Sandra, that he had in his head when he had woken one morning in his bedroom in the Asher family home.

As he sat playing the still wordless tune to Alma and Sandra, their mother Fay walked into the living room and asked if anyone would like some scrambled eggs. McCartney sang the words on top of the melody, improvising for the next line: “Oh baby, how I love your legs.”

When Paul finally got around to writing proper words to the tune, it became ‘Yesterday.

As well as at the London Palladium show, the Beatles and Alma Cogan also appeared together on the top pop TV show ‘Ready Steady go’. John Lennon was supposed to introduce his alleged lover’s new record ‘Tennessee Waltz’ but inexplicably got her name wrong – calling her ‘Alma Warren’, mixing up her name up with that of a plugger for EMI records.

Brian Epstein also had a close friendship with Alma. There was even speculation that they were to marry, especially after he took Alma home to Liverpool to meet his parents. However, of course, Brian was gay.

Tragically, Alma Cogan died from Ovarian 26 October, at the age of 34. It’s said that John Lennon was devastated. Two weeks later, in a vulnerable state, John met Yoko Ono…

Blogger Richard Porter is a professional Beatles tour guide in London. For details on his tours go to