All posts by Richard Porter

Hastings Beatles Day is great success despite being cancelled

Hastings Beatles Day has still raised more than £1,000 for the Sara Lee Trust charity despite the event being cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Beatles Day sees local musicians and bands performing material by the Fab Four in a day long festival to raise money for charity.

The event, which attracts thousands of people, is celebrating is 20th year and still went ahead in virtual format.

Volunteers, along with local Facebook group Isolation Station Hastings stepped in to save the day. The event went ahead as an online live stream on Sunday evening, and was viewed by thousands live.

Among the more than 20 performers taking part from their living rooms, spare rooms and basements were Liane Carroll and Roger Carey, King Size Slim, Helen Sharpe, Daniel Earwaker and Mike Willis.

Robin Redsull, Hastings Beatles Day 2020 organiser, said: “Thanks to all of the musicians who took part for so generously giving their time, to Rachel Spinetti for being such a wonderful presenter, and to Gillian Payne, Chris Beveridge and everyone at Isolation Station Hastings for their hard work in putting it all together.

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Beatles fans around the world join mass sing along and it’s just what we need to hear

Beatles fans from across the world have come together to sing one of the band’s most uplifting songs.

Tribute band The Mersey Beatles asked people to join in with them as they recreated the Fab Four’s ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’.

Last week, on the 53rd anniversary of The Beatles going to Abbey Road studios to record the song for the Sgt Pepper album, fans from around the world joined in the mass online singalong.

People of all ages joined in the moving rendition, including children and elderly people.

The uplifting lyrics strike a chord at a time when so many people are coming together by staying apart, and doing their bit to help stop the spread of coronavirus while also supporting others during this difficult time.

The Mersey Beatles, who formed in Liverpool in 1999, shared their video on their Facebook page.

Brian Ambrose, who plays Ringo in The Mersey Beatles, told the ECHO: “We should be on tour at the moment, but like everyone else, due to the global pandemic we are at home.

“We thought it would be really nice to involve those who normally come and see us at shows in a special video. We came up with the idea of recreating ‘A Little Help From My Friends’ on the anniversary of its original recording back in 1967.

“The message of the song, about getting through things with the help of loved ones, seemed to be perfect for these worrying times.

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A Meeting with Half of ‘Grapefruit’.

By Richard Porter From the London Beatles Fanclub magazine.

[Blogger’s note – From 1988 to 1998 I was the founder, and President of the London Beatles Fanclub, and the editor of the club’s fanzine. During that time, I got to meet, and interview, many different people with a Beatles connection – some totally by chance. One of those was Geoff and Pete Swettenham on Apple Band ‘Grapefruit’. Below is the article about that meeting :

When I started my job with the Metropolitan Police, it didn’t take too long for my workmates to realise I was a Beatles fan. Well, I do talk about them rather a lot!  Imagine my surprise when one of my colleagues, Darryl Swettenham told me ‘My dad used to know the Beatles!’

Darryl told me his dad, Geoff, was the drummer of ‘Grapefruit’, the first band signed to Apple Publishing.

Well, my curiosity was aroused, and I went home to try to find out all I could about Grapefruit. I went through my  substantial collection of Beatles books but could find very little. I was rather surprised at the lack on information about this group, and decided I wanted to know more. I therefore asked Darryl if he would ask his dad whether I could interview him for our magazine.

 

I rang up Geoff and he readily agreed to the interview and suggested I meet him in his local pub, the Turks Head in St Margarets.  This just happened to be where Ringo plays darts in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and disrupts everyone’s pub games. Geoff also offered to ask his brother, Pete, along as he was Grapefruit’s rhythm guitarist. Consequently, I spent two very enjoyable and informative hours in the company of half of Grapefruit. They talked very openly about their time as members of an Apple band and their meetings with the Beatles and other assorted rock stars of the day.

Their first professional band – Tony Rivers and the Castaways, used to do a lot of Beatles covers and harmony work, influenced by the Beach Boys. One of the original Castaways left the group to become an agent for Nems Enterprises, Brian Epstein’s company. It was through that connection that the Castaways were signed to Nems. Geoff and Pete remember going to a meeting at Brian Epstein’s Chapel Street house and being interviewed by both Brian and Robert Stigwood. Three “weirdly dressed” people were also there – these turned out to be another new Nems signing – the Bee Gees!

Tony Rivers and the Castaways were signed to Nems in the summer of 1967, and it wasn’t long afterwards that while on the road between gigs, they heard of Brian Epstein’s death. The Castaways broke up soon afterwards.

The formation of Grapefruit came about when John Perry, a former Castaway, met Terry Doran, then the managing director of Apple Publishing, in a London club. John told Terry that he had written some songs and also told him about a friend of his, George Alexander, who was also a songwriter and bass player. John wanted to form a four-piece group and so asked Geoff and Pete if they were interested. They said they were and joined.

They all first met Terry Doran in the Apple Publishing office above the Apple boutique on Baker Street. Geoff remembers they had to go up rickety old stairs to Apple, but when they arrived there was no one in. Sometime later, a lunatic with a mop of curly hair came bouncing up the stairs. It was Terry Doran. The new band was formed but didn’t have a name. Pete remembers “Terry got a call from John Lennon saying he’d thought of the name ‘Grapefruit’ – he got it from Yoko’s book. However, at the time, John was still with Cynthia so they had to change the story for our publicity hand-outs.”

Not long after the formation of the group, Grapefruit were taken to meet Paul McCartney. Paul was supervising the editing of The Beatles’ ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ film, at a cutting room in Old Compton Street. Pete remembers that they were led past lines girls who were sitting on the stairs waiting for Paul to emerge.

ON 24th November 1967, Grapefruit did their first recording session at IBC Studios in Portland Street, near BBC Broadcasting House.  Pete remembers: “We’d been recording for about half an hour when, on the stairs leading up to the control room, suddenly in walked John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who had been our heroes for years! Geoff remembers, “ In between takes, Paul came down  and asked if he could have a go on my drumkit. I told him to piss off! No, seriously, of course I let him. Geoff said that even though Paul was a fairly good drummer and played with lots of feeling, Ringo was far better. “He was a very tight drummer and used to swing as well.”

“We’d been drinking scotch and coke and Paul asked for a drink. He took one sip and asked if there was any scotch in it. He then proceeded to fill the glass up with scotch and said ‘Now that’s what I call a scotch and coke’.  They remained in the studio for some hours”.

According to Geoff, even though they didn’t actively participate in the recording of ‘Dear Delilah’, John and Paul produced a track on Grapefruit’s first album, called ‘Lullaby’. Geoff said “You can hear a nice, tight, punchy, Beatley sound on that track – they did a good job on it.

The first time Grapefruit played live before any sort of audience was at the press reception for the release of ‘Dear Delilah’ at the Hanover Grand Hotel. Among those present were John, Paul, and Ringo, plus Brian Jones, Donovan, Cilla Black, Jimi Hendrix and the Hollies! “We felt very intimidated playing in front of all these people” said Geoff. “We played six songs very badly.

The first actual concert Grapefruit played was at the Royal Albert Hall, supporting the Bee Gees – not a bad way to start your live career, but it must have been plain sailing after playing at the press reception.

Geoff and Pete were now in a different world. Geoff recalls one occasion in particular. “One day, me and Pete piled in a small car with Pattie Harrison, Twiggy, and Adrienne Posta and decided to visit or parent’s pub in Chelmsford. Imagine the look on people’s faces when we walked through the door, it caused quite a stir!”

Geoff remembers one of the many practical jokes that John Lennon used to play on people. “I was in his psychedelic Rolls Royce once. He drove up really close behind the car in front, wound down the window and played a tape recording of a car crash at full blast. The other guy must have thought he’d been hit! We just fell around laughing!

After the release of ‘Dear Delilah’ the group had to decide what to release as a follow-up. There was a choice between two songs, ‘Elevator’ and ‘Yes’, and quite an argument ensued. However, one day Geoff had a brainwave and said, “I thought why not make it a double ‘A’ side.” This they did. However, Paul McCartney thought they were “Bloody idiots” releasing a double ‘A’ side at this stage in their career. He did offer to produce a promo film for ‘Elevator’ though. He took them to Hyde Park and directed them bouncing up and down on trampolines near the Albert Memorial.

Grapefruit with Paul McCartney at the Albert Memorial

Pate says, “Paul also came down to Advision Studios when we were recording ‘Yes’. – Spencer Davies came as well. Paul helped us record the backing track. We had orgasms over it! It was probably why we couldn’t decide between the tracks.”

In the end, despite Paul’s help, the single flopped as having it as a double A side didn’t work. Grapefruit never really recovered from the flop. Also, it took them more than a year to get their first album together. Pete and Geoff thought Terry Doran was too democratic with them and let them get way with being lazy. Pete Swettenham left Grapefruit in 1969 and by that time the group had change a lot musically.  Grapefruit finally broke up in 1970.

After the first heady days of Grapefruit, Pete and Geoff still saw a fair bit of the Beatles. For a time Pete was living in Ringo’s flat in Montagu Square – however, he had to leave in a hurry. He recalls: “I was sitting on an aeroplane and I was reading that Ringo had been forced to sell the flat. When we got back our stuff had been moved out and we had to find somewhere else to live. So, Terry Doran called George Harrison and we went down to his place in Esther for a while.”

Although it was enjoyable living at the bungalow at the beginning, with numerous rock stars coming and going, things got a little strained after a while. “I never felt I was George’s equal” Said Pete.  Also, George was going through a bad patch. “He came down to breakfast one morning and announced, ‘I told the other’s yesterday that I am leaving the Beatles!’  This was during the filming of ‘Let it Be’. However, George was talked into going back a few days later.

By this time, Pete thought he had overstayed his welcome and left.

Even after Grapefruit broke up, both Pete and Geoff had encounters that brought back vivid memories of the old days. Pete was working as a tape operator at AIR Studios when Paul came there to work on ‘Band on the Run’. When Paul arrived on his first day, he immediately recognised Peter and said Hello.

On the last day of recording, Paul had done the backing track of  ‘1985’ but hadn’t written the lyrics. “Paul wrote them over breakfast” says Pete, “which is probably why they are so bad!”

Incidentally, Pete remembers that Paul didn’t credit the studios on the LP sleeve because of an argument over recording schedules, even though he did a lot of work there.

Geoff had a more bizarre encounter. When abroad on business, he had a chance meeting with Yoko’ ex husband Tony Cox, and daughter Kyoko in the early 80s. When Geoff told Tony of his connections with John, Tony became rather guarded as he still worried that Yoko would try to take Kyoko back.

Although neither Geoff or Pete are playing music full time, both still play for fun. I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours with them and I thank them for being so open with me.

 

 

 

 

 

50 years after The Beatles split, experts hail their enduring legacy while fans remember how band conquered Scotland and then the world

It was the one-word, two-letter answer heard around the world.

“No”, replied Paul McCartney, after being asked if he would ever write songs with John Lennon again.

The question and his terse, incendiary reply, included in a press statement issued 50 years ago, would spell the end of the Fab Four, the biggest band in the world. As fans lamented, The Beatles split.

But, if half a century ago, on April 10, 1970, the band ended, their influence and legacy was only just beginning.

“Their enduring popularity is almost mystifying,” said Beatles expert Ken McNab. “They are one of those bands who cross all generational barriers. They still have millions of downloads and streams every year and the biggest selling vinyl album in 2019 was Abbey Road, which was incredible.

“For cultural influence and longevity of song, they are out on their own. They changed the world for the better, a world where the Second World War was still on people’s minds.

“They transformed the ’60s from monochrome to colour, making the world a happier place for everyone.”

It was while promoting his solo album that Paul McCartney revealed he was no longer working with the group.

In reality, the Fab Four had fractured some months earlier, after recording the Abbey Road album, when John Lennon said he was out but there had been no definitive, irrevocable announcement.

With hindsight, the interview issued by McCartney in a press release was not absolutely, conclusively ruling out a reformation, but that is how it was reported.

The band who hurtled out of Liverpool via Hamburg to conquer the world, had taken Scotland early in their career. For The Beatles, especially Lennon and McCartney, the 1960s began here and ended here.

Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney, Elton John Set for ‘One World’ COVID-19 Charity Special

Billie EilishPaul McCartneyElton John and more will participate in a COVID-19 charity special organized by Global Citizen and the World Health Organization: One World: Together at Home, set to air on TV and livestream online April 18th at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

The event boasts a star-studded lineup curated by Lady Gaga and hosted by late-night titans Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, plus the cast of Sesame Street. It will serve as a celebration of healthcare workers, with several doctors, nurses and families affected by the coronavirus outbreak speaking throughout the special. Donations raised will benefit the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, as well as local and regional charities providing food, shelter and healthcare to those in need.

Other musicians and celebrities set to take part in the special include Stevie Wonder, Eddie Vedder, Chris Martin, John Legend, J Balvin, Kacey Musgraves, Idris and Sabrina Elba, Lizzo, Keith Urban, Billie Joe Armstrong, Alanis Morissette, Kerry Washington, Maluma, David Beckham and Burna Boy.

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50 years after The Beatles breakup: 10 best solo albums by the Fab Four

Fifty years ago, Paul McCartney announced to the world that The Beatles had called it quits.

He revealed the Fab Four break up on April 10, 1970 in a self-interview included with advance copies of his solo album “McCartney.” (Songwriting partner John Lennon, who had told his bandmates months earlier he was quitting the group, later complained McCartney had used the news to sell an album.)

“McCartney” with the standout tracks “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Every Night” was one of many solo discs that he, along Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr released in the wake of The Beatles breakup.

As solo acts, continued to make some truly memorable music. Looking back over the past five decades, here are the 10 best Beatles solo albums in chronological order:

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Alan Cross: Looking at the Beatles breakup 50 years later, and some unusual things we remember

When I was a kid, I toted my Lloyds transistor radio everywhere, including when I went to bed. It would sit quietly playing on my pillow until I fell asleep and my mom would take it away.

The family’s station of choice was 680 CJOB in Winnipeg. They didn’t play much in the way of music that I liked, but I was hooked on their newscasts, which in those days could stretch 10 minutes or longer. My parents didn’t like me listening to the news before bed — “You have bad dreams!” — but that only made me want to listen more.

I do remember the night CJOB delivered the news that The Beatles had broken up. It was April 10, 1970, and even though I was extremely young, I knew this was important. When mom came into my room at the usual time to put my radio up on the bureau, I asked her, “The Beatles have broken up. Is that a bad thing?”

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Jenny Boyd on life with the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac

SHE was the original rock chick, hanging out with the likes of The Beatles, Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones, marrying Mick Fleetwood twice, experimenting with drugs and relishing the flower power hippy culture.

As a Sixties model along with her sister Pattie, who was married to George Harrison before running off with Eric Clapton, Jenny Boyd was swept along in the new music, fashion and free love culture of the time… making her way from the fashionable haunts of London’s Carnaby Street and Chelsea, to the flower power movement in San Francisco and the meditation centres of India.

“It was very exciting. It was an amazing time and a very different time. There was something about the Sixties that was magnetic. The world was opening up to me,” she reveals.

Today, Boyd, now 72, is reflecting on the extraordinary journey in which her looks secured her a job as a photographic model with fashion designers Foale and Tuffin while she was still at school.

By 16, she was appearing in glossy magazines, flying to New York shoots and appearing on catwalks at home and abroad, falling in with the musical movers and shakers of the time and dating Mick Fleetwood, who lived nearby.

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Paul McCartney’s secret TV addiction as Beatles legend hooked on shopping channels

EXCLUSIVE: When Sir Paul has finished working in the studio he loves nothing more than watching hours of shopping channels

Beatles legend Paul McCartney is hooked on TV shopping ­channels and admits he would buy things Eight Days A Week if he could.

Sir Paul, worth £820million, flicks the telly on after hours in the studio.

Before he knows it, he is gripped by “exciting” items like the German stain remover Didi Seven – only to be reined in by bemused wife Nancy , 60.

Paul, 77, says: “I love watching TV. Not series. I prefer just easy television and Nancy makes fun of me for it.

“Nancy calls it the ‘Paul will watch anything department.’ She’s right. In America, I watch The Shopping Channel. For me, it’s kind of exciting. I get hooked. I have to resist buying everything.

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An Interview with Kenny Everett

On the 25th anniversary of his passing, here is an interview I did with the great Kenny Everett.

During my time as the President of the London Beatles Fanclub, and the editor of its’ magazine ‘Off the Beatle Track’ I got to meet and interview many great Beatle People.  Perhaps the highlight was interviewing the great Kenny Everett. Kenny talked to me about how he was sent to the US to cover the Beatles 1966 US tour, and how he spent a couple of days with John Lennon at Kenwood.

There are quotes from this interview in Kenny’s official biography :>)

An Interview With Kenny Everett

In June members of the LBFC went to Capital Gold’s Beatlemania party on Paul’s 50th birthday and helped sell tickets for the event. As a return favour Gill Woods at Capital asked me if there was anything they could do for me. At this point I felt a bit cheeky and asked if it would be possible to interview Kenny Everett, not thinking for one minute that it would be possible. However Gill said she would see what she could do. A day later she rang back and said that Kenny had said yes ! I then rang Capital’s press officer, Norman Divall, to arrange a date. Two weeks later I found myself at the Capital studios in Euston Road talking to one of England’s most famous D.J.s. Kenny was really patient and friendly and told some great stories as you can read for yourself below:…

  • How did you get onto Radio London?

Well, it was pure luck actually, they had just thought of the idea of broadcasting into England from a boat; it had never been tried before. And I was getting fed up of living in Liverpool, and I tried for a job at the B.B.C. but they said ‘ No, no we’ve already got two D.J.’s – we don’t need any more’. Those were the days when they didn’t play many records. So I went up to London anyway to see what was going on, and the pirates had just sailed in, about a week before, and they were pleading for disc jockeys, so I just happened to be there when they were pleading, and I said ‘Oh, will this do?’ and I gave them a tape of me doing daft bits and pieces, chatting away into a microphone, and they said ‘ Oh perfect, come aboard !’ and that was it really, I was on board the next day. So how’s that for luck !

  • I believe one of the assignments you did for Radio London was to be sent over to America for one of the Beatles tours….

The greatest day of my life. I had a phone call from the boss… I was sitting in my flat…we used to spend two weeks on the pirates and then one week off…and I was sitting around twiddling my thumbs, and the phone rang, and it was Alan Keene, who was the Programme Director of Radio London, and he said to me ‘How would you like to go to America ?’ And I’d never been before, and I nearly died of happiness. And he said ‘we want you to go to over there and do loads of shows,’ and I thought, Oh fabulous, America – New York, Chicago, L.A… ‘What’s the purpose of it ?’ He said, we’d like you to follow the Beatles around, 32 cities in 40 days. And I couldn’t reply because I’d fainted! It was just the best thing. A trip to the States, free, total luxury in fab hotels, and mingling with my idols! So it was just the best phone call ever possible.

  • Wasn’t it sponsored by Bassets…?

…the jelly baby people, yes; you know the reason for that do you ? Well someone threw one at Ringo at one of their gigs, and he leaned over and picked it up and he ate it, and the next gig they did there was millions of jelly babies flying over the footlights, and Mr. Basset heard about this and he thought, ‘hey, that’s a good idea!’ So he sponsored my trip to America, God bless him ! I guess it was lucky they didn’t throw something else at them…. …like a condom ! That might have been awkward .

  • Was this the ’66 tour ?

Yes it was. That was the tour with all the problems with all the ‘Beatles are bigger than Jesus Christ’ stuff. Oh was it ? We didn’t have any problems on the tour, apart from trying to get eaten by a million fans in every town, and they kept rushing the bus and bashing on the side of the van, and running across the fields to the guitars. But apart from that it as very well behaved. Everyone just screamed and that was it.

  • What were the Fabs’ reaction to you? Presumably you’d met them a number of times.

No, we’d never met before, I remember getting on the plane to go to America, and I heard Paul McCartney’s voice saying,’Which one’s Kenny Everett ?’ and we introduced ourselves and that was it.

  • I believe you also edited their Christmas records.

Yes, that’s right, I was very honoured.

  • How did that come about ?

I was on the BBC by now, and I think I was the only DJ that really spent a lot of time in the studio messing around with tapes. I was quite friendly with the people that managed them, and one of them said one day ‘we’ll give you a lot of tapes of them messing around and we’d just like you to edit them and present them in to a jolly floppy disc.’ That was such an honour, I mean, it wasn’t given to me as an honour, it was just ‘Here, can you make something of these ?’ But I considered it to be a great honour as they could have chosen anybody. So that was fun to do. I have all the out- takes at home ….

  • I was going to ask you about that… is there much of interest ?

Actually, there’s not much that I didn’t use, because it was so good I used it all you see. It was just them messing around with a guitar. …There’s a couple of tunes that they did on the Christmas tapes that could have been made into records… ‘Christmas Time is Here Again’. That could have been made into a Christmas record. I was once in Abbey Road Studios when they were recording I am the Walrus and I was sitting down listening to John rasping away…because you know they were very tired, it was coming to the end of the day, about 11 o’clock at night…and he was singing away about ‘standing in the English rain’ and he pressed the switch and said ‘ Oh doesn’t this remind you of that time we walked around the golf course’ – because I went to his house once and we walked around in the rain, and I said ‘Oh, just shut up and start singing again !’ And the producer George Martin said ‘ No we can’t go on, your voice will collapse,’ If you listen to the record it really is on the edge of collapse , but they were so prolific, they wanted to get as much stuff done as possible. They couldn’t just stop producing music. They wouldn’t even stop for a sandwich hardly. ‘No let’s do it now !’ It was all pouring out. It was well after midnight and they never went to bed. But it was a great occasion, it’s not often that you get to sit at John Lennon’s feet when he is creating a number one.

  • Did you go the clubs with the Beatles in the 60’s ?

Well, I’d see them around. Those were the days when you’d sort of bump into them. I think they were the last pop people who actually had a good time, go places, and stay out all night and be silly. Nowadays it’s a huge business and there are rotweillers between the group and the audience. That was the last time that rock stars used to go down into clubs, just to dance the night away. The sixties were a fun time when everything came together, the fashion thing, that all suddenly happened, and London was fab – it really was then, it wasn’t all dirty and disgusting with people living in boxes, it was really jumping. And there were the Beatles and the pirates and all that, a general loosening up. Of course the war had gone by then and rationing had finished so people started throwing their legs in the air and having a good time. It was a good place to be, around London, in the sixties.

  • Did you get to be really friendly with John in that period?

Not really, no. Because we were both always so busy during that period. I went to his house once. We were leaving a club in Margaret Street, The Speakeasy. Those were in the days when Traffic would play, just get up out of the audience and do a set. John was there and we went outside after we’d finished clubbing, and he said, ‘Do you want a lift ?’ and I said ‘Yeah, I live in Lower Sloane Street’ And he said “Oh great, we’ll drop you off.” So I jumped into the back of this gigantic thing… and it was Terry Doran driving , with one arm out the window and one finger on the wheel, he was a maniac ! When we got to Lower Sloane Street he went straight past my house and I thought ‘Oh, well, I’d rather be in this car than in my house.’ So I just kept quiet in the back and before we knew it we were in Weybridge at his house and I stayed for a couple of days. It was rather fun. It was a gigantic place, it’s not the sort he’d want now if he were still alive, it was a stockbrokery sort of place, mock Tudor monster and yards of lawn. There was an occasion in the house when there was a girl spotted at the door. She’d somehow climbed over the wall. And someone said, ‘Oh John, there’s a fan at the door’ and he walked all the way down the path and chatted to her for a while and then just gently led her out and said goodbye. And I thought that was very pleasant, he could have had her shot or unleashed the odd dog. But he went out to speak to her, that was rather sweet.

  • I believe you met Brian Epstein a few times?

Oh yes, I knew Brian before he was famous. He used to own a couple of shops in Liverpool, one called NEMS and one called Epstein’s. I used to work in an advertising agency and i used to take copy to him to approve. Then he suddenly discovered these four wandering geniuses and said ‘Hey, let’s get famous!’ and the next thing I know is this person I’d been taking advertising copy to was riding around in a 10 mile long car. It was so funny how it came together because after knowing him in the advertising world there I was 15 years later, standing in his house in Chapel Street with the Beatles all dressed in bows and beads at the Sergeant Pepper launch. It was a fabulous party, every single person in the universe was there. I remember them standing up against the fireplace, bonkers, they couldn’t string two words together.

  • Yes, I’d heard John was a little bit…

…A little bit ! He was on Mars! Those were the days, if you took a little something it was fun. then a lot of people went too far and started throwing themselves off buildings so all the fun has been taken out of it.

  • Weren’t you the first DJ to play Sergeant Pepper ?

Well I was the first DJ to play Strawberry Fields Forever. I first heard Sergeant Pepper in George’s house. He had a low slung white goes-on- forever house in Esher. And a bunch of us including Tony Hall from Deram records was invited to George’s place to hear this new album. He had an acetate of it. He put it on the gramophone, and we all sat around and this thing started and blew us away, we were completely gone and on another planet, it was a quantum leap, and we thought, ‘music can stop right here, nobody is ever going to produce anything better than this, so all musicians can go back to bed now’, it was the best thing we’d ever heard ! And George said ‘It’s quite good isn’t it ?’ The night before they’d all had a party, and they’d decided to get spray cansof coloured paint and spray ‘God is Love’ and other things all over the walls of the house, this wonderful million dollar house,and they sprayed flowers, and words all over it in a stoned orgy the night before. He’d woken up the next morning to get the milk in and had horror written all over his face at what they’d done.

  • I believe you were involved in John and Yoko’s message to the world in about 1978 ?

Yes, I’d forgotten about that. I got a call from Yoko. She said ‘An angel’s been speaking to John, would you like to tell the world ?’ It was highly embarrassing, because I knew as soon as rang the newspapers and told them ‘an angel has been hovering over John’s shoulder and here’s what she said’ that there would be a giggle and a guffaw. But they printed it of course. Well they printed bits of it.

Richard Porter