All posts by Richard Porter

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.

A Hard Day’s Star Wars!

Ever wondered why A Hard Day’s Night looks so good as a film?  Well, maybe one reason was the the head of photography was Gilbert Taylor, one of the UK’s top film men. He had just done a similar job on ‘Dr Stangelove’ with Stanley Kubrik, The cult horror film ‘The Omen’ – and later on a well known sci-fi film called  – ‘Star Wars’!

I was lucky enough to meet Gilbert in 2001 when the original cast and crew of A Hard Day’s Night reunited to contribute to the bonus disc of he DVD. He was a very nice man, and also hero-worshiped by the other members of the crew. Gilbert died in 2013, aged 99.

Here he is with Alfred Hitchcock, during the making of ‘Frenzy’

Gilbert Taylor with Alfred Hitchcock
Gilbert Taylor with Alfred Hitchcock

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

Hey Jude/Revolution on Baker Street

In September 1968, Paul McCartney had the idea of using the windows of the now closed Apple Shop on Baker Street to promote the new Beatles single Hey Jude and Revolution. Paul, and Alistair Taylor, the general manager of Apple, came along to the building one evening and painted the titles on the windows in huge letters.
 
However, locals saw the word Jude as too close to ‘Juden’ – which was a painted on Jewish owned buildings in Nazi Germany. Soon afterwards, a brick was thrown through the window, and Paul had to hastily come along to paint over the offending words and the promotion failed. The Beatles then sold the building, when they move Apple to Savile Row.
 
We go to 94 Baker Street on my London Beatles Walks http://www.beatlesinlondon.com
applebaker

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