Category Archives: Day in History

March 5th 1963 – a Busy Day for the Beatles!

March 5th 1963 was a very busy day for the Beatles. They first did a photo session with John Dove at EMI House in Manchester Square, and at Montague Place, near the British Museum.

They then went to EMI Studios at Abbey Road to record their third single, ‘From Me To You’ and ‘Thank You Girl’, plus ‘The One After 909’ – which wasn’t released in 1963, but re-recorded for the ‘Let it Be’ album. The version recorded in 1963 wasn’t released until ‘Anthology One’ in 1995.

The Beatles on the steps of EMI Studios, Abbey Road, with the postman going by!
The Beatles in Montague Place, March 5th 1963. Notice John has put his glasses over the parking meter!
The Beatles on the step leading to the basement at EMI House, Manchester Squre
The Beatles in the canteen of EMI Studios, Abbey Road

March 2nd 1964 – the Beatles Start Filming A Hard Day’s Night

On March 2nd 1964, the Beatles begin filming their first film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ at Paddington Station. They get on a specially hired train that travels between Paddington and Minehead in Somerset. While most directors would film train scenes in a film studio, Richard Lester was determined to use real locations, so a special train was hire. It was on the first day of filming that  George Harrison met model Pattie Boyd, who plays a schoolgirl in the film. They started a relationship, that led to their marriage two years later.

George Harrison and Pattie Boyd on the set of A Hard Day’s Night

Tomorrow Never Knows! A Hard Day’s Night for the Beatles

It’s been A Hard Day’s Night! On 21st February 1964, the Beatles flew from Miami to New York, where they transferred to a plane for London, at the end of their amazing first American trip. They arrived at London Heathrow Airport on the overnight flight to a rapturous welcome home from thousands of Beatles fans, and event even covered live by the TV sports programme Grandstand!  They are interviewed by Grandstand’s host, David Coleman. Coleman asks Ringo about the incident when someone cut off some of his hair at a ball at the British Embassy in Washington. Ringo replies ‘Well what can you do, tomorrow never knows!’ A classic ‘Ringoism’ that of courser became the title of a song from ‘Revolver’.
You might have thought the Beatles would have then had a well earned break. Not a bit of it! The day after they appeared on the National ITV show ‘Big Night Out’. Then they were allowed one day off (lucky them!) before starting work on the songs for their new film at EMI Studios.
“Didn’t they give everything on God’s earth for ten years?” John Lennon on the Beatles.

Here is Grandstand’s coverage – Tomorrow Never Knows at around 9:43

Please Please Me! February 11th 1963

On February 11th 1963, the Beatles recorded their debut album Please Please Me in one day! (Their second album took even longer :>)

In an amazing recording session that lasted just shy of 10 hours, the Beatles recorded 10 tracks. The Beatles weren’t in tip top condition either – the winter of 1962/63 was one of the coldest on record, and John Lennon was suffering from a particularly bad cold, that was affecting his voice. He got through the session sucking on Zubes throat sweets. Paradoxically, right by the jar of Zubes was a huge jar of cigarettes, that the Beatles smoked constantly through the day.

Only 2 songs were recorded in the morning session, ‘There’s a Place’ and ‘Seventeen’ (the working title of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’) At lunchtime, the engineers went to the the local pub, the Heroes of Alma, but the Beatles stayed in the studio to rehearse.

After lunch, they recorded ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret’ and ‘Misery’. Then at the 7:30pm evening session, things really started to pick up pace. They first recorded their own song ‘Hold Me Tight’ – but it didn’t really work, and the song was re-recorded for the Beatles second album ‘With the Beatles’.

The Beatles then recorded four cover versions, ‘Anna (go to him)’ ‘Chains’ ‘Boys’ and ‘Baby It’s You’. By the time the Beatles recorded ‘Baby It’s You’, John Lennon’s voice was really rasping, and he and the other Beatles were glad that they thought the day was over, and retired to the canteen. But it wasn’t, because ‘Hold me Tight’ hadn’t worked out, another song was needed. After a short debate, it was decided that it should be ‘Twist and Shout’ – a real fan favourite at their gigs. John’s voice had nearly gone by then, so, according to some accounts, he took his shirt off and ripped into ‘Twist and Shout’ in his most raucous voice possible on the first take. A second take was attempted, but wasn’t needed, as John had nailed it with the first take, and also totally ruined his voice in doing it! What an end to an amazing day.

Even though Please Please Me only took one day to record, it stayed at number one in the UK album chart for 30 weeks, only to replaces by the Beatles second album ‘With the Beatles’!

Please Please Me
Please Please Me

 

February 10th 1967 – A Day in the Life

February 10th 1967. The Beatles are in Studio One at EMI Studios at Abbey Road, recording the orchestral build-up for A Day in the Life. The orchestra are asked to start at their lowest note possible on their instruments, and go up to their highest.
The Beatles turn the session into a big party, with many friends in attendance, including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Donovan, and Mike Nesmith of the Monkees. Even though the orchestra were asked to wear evening dress for the occasion, one of them also wore a red clown nose, and the leader of the violins wore a gorilla paw on his bowing arm!

After the orchestra had left, the Beatles,and friends who stayed behind, got around a microphone and did a big hummmmmm. This was going to be the coda for the song, and the album. However, a few days later, this was replaced by the long piano chord.
The session is almost exactly 4 years to the day since the Beatles recorded the entire Please Please Me Album (February 11th 1963) – a quantum leap in 4 years!

This unique recording session was filmed for posterity. Tony Bramwell of NEMS was in charge of the shooting, gave out cameras to many of the participants to help. The resulting film was supposed to be part of a TV special about making the ‘Sgt Pepper’ album, but it was never completed, and the film made that day wasn’t broadcast for several years, as the song was banned due to supposed drug references.

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time Beatles Tour Guide in London. For more details of his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

 

February 9th – from the Cavern to Ed Sullivan in Three Years!

February 9th was very much ‘A Day in the Life’ of the Beatles! On February 9th 1961, the Beatles first appeared at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. The Quarrymen had played at the Cavern a few times in the late 1950s, when still mainly a skiffle group. However, they also did a few rock and roll songs, and club owner Alan Sytner, a jazz lover, told them to “Cut out the bloody rock!”

Finally, now called ‘The Beatles’ they got back into the Cavern through their great supporter, Bob Wooler. He managed to get them a fee of £5 for the gig. However there was a doubt whether Paul McCartney would be able to get to the gig. He had a full time job at Massey and Coggins, and although the gig was at lunchtime, there was no way Paul could get to the gig and back during his lunch hour. However, Paul just bunked over the wall and played the gig.

The Beatles went onto play at the Cavern nearly 300 times in the next 2.5 years…

John Lennon at the Cavern Club - February 9th 1961.
John Lennon at the Cavern Club – February 9th 1961.

Exactly three years later, the Beatles made there first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, in front of a TV audience of 73 million people. Quite a leap in three years!!

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show 9th February 1964
The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show 9th February 1964

 

 

January 30th 1969 Up on the Roof – The Beatles Last Live Performance

The Beatles last ever live performance took place on the roof of 3 Savile Row, the Beatles’ ‘Apple’ HQ, on January 30th 1969. However, things could have been very different, and almost didn’t take place at all!

The Beatles were in the middle of a project initially called ‘Get Back’. Paul McCartney wanted the Beatles to do a huge live performance of their new album, which would be heard for the first time at the gig. The Beatles were to film the rehearsal for the concert, the took place at Twickenham Film Studios. That location was chosen as the head of Apple Films, Dennis O’Dell, was about the start work there on the film ‘Magic Christian with Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr.

However, things went badly from the start when the Beatles convened at Twickenham on January 2nd 1969. Twickenham was a large, very cold film studio, and not great for playing music. The main problem, however, was the tension in the Beatles, which got worse as time went on. There was no agreement on where to do the big concert. One suggestion was a Roman Ampitheatre in the middle of the desert in Tunisia. So many bizarre suggestions were made, that John Lennon was heard to mutter, ‘I think we should do it in a lunatic asylum’,

Finally the tension got too much for George Harrison. Over lunch on January 10th, he walked out of the session and said to the others ‘See you ’round the clubs!’

Finally, after days of negotiations, George agreed to return to the Beatles, but only if the sessions ended at Twickenham, and instead continued at their own Apple Studio at Savile Row.

The recording sessions certainly went better than at Twickenham, even though the film crew still followed their every move. However, the film didn’t have a climax, and Paul McCartney was determined to play live somewhere. It was decided to play a few songs on the roof of their own building – this took place on 30th January 1969.

An hour before the session technicians were testing the mikes 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 Spencers 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.”

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. 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 on the roof of 3 Savile Row, January 30th 1969
The Beatles on the roof of 3 Savile Row, January 30th 1969

The nearest police station, West End Central, is only 150 yards from 3 Savile Row, at the other end of the street. However, the first policemen that arrived actually 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 actually wanted to be arrested as it would have been a great climax for the film. They were allowed to finish the last song they were playing – 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.

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

 

On the 40th anniversary of the rooftop concert, I managed to get my Beatles tour group up on the roof for the first and only time. The event was covered by CNN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfvy1gQnkuM

Blogger Richard Porter on the roof of 3 Savile Row - 30th January 2009
Blogger Richard Porter on the roof of 3 Savile Row – 30th January 2009

 

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time Beatles Tour guide in London. For more details on his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

19th January 1967 – A Day in the Life….

On January 19th 1967, the Beatles began work on a new song for their forthcoming new album. The working title was ‘In the Life of…’, but a day later became ‘A Day in the Life’

On this day, The Beatles began work on John Lennon’s segment. John was an avid reader of newspapers since childhood, and used three separate stories for this song. The first part was about his friend, Tara Browne, who had been killed in a car crash. The second was about the film he’d been in ‘How I Won the War’ and the third was a small piece about potholes in the road in Blackburn. At this point, it seemed that nothing had been planned for the middle eight, so Mal Evans counted to 24 to fill in the gaps, to record over at a future session. On other days. Paul’s contribution would be added, and of course the amazing orchestral build-up.

This day, just bongos, maracas, piano and guitar were recorded, plus John’s vocals. As usual with John, where most singers would just put down a ‘guide vocal’, without really trying to get it perfect, John recorded every vocal as it was going to be the one on the record.

The song went through many recording stages in the next month or so, but A Day in the Life was magnificent right from the start…

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time Beatles tour guide in London. For more info on his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

 

 

January 12th 1964 The Beatles at the London Palladium – Take 2

On January 12th, 1964, the Beatles made their second appearance on the top TV show ‘Val Parnell’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

They had first appeared on the show on October 13th 1963. The scenes inside and outside the theatre that day has been seen as the start of ‘Beatlemania’ – though it had actually just taken the media a long time to catch on to the scenes that had been surrounding the Beatles for many months.

If anything, the crowds outside the Palladium for their second appearance were greater than the first. As usual the show was compered by Bruce Forsyth. The Beatles sang ‘I Want to Hold You Hand’, ‘This Boy’, ‘All My Loving’ ‘Money (That’s What I want) and Twist and Shout’  As with the fist Palladium show, there is no video in existence of the Beatles performance, but there is audio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwDYy3bwyCo

Blogger Richard Porter is a professional Beatles London tour guide. For more details of his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

The Beatles singing 'This Boy' at the London Palladium 1964
The Beatles singing ‘This Boy’ at the London Palladium 1964

 

Fans crowd Argyll Street waiting to see the Beatles
Fans crowd Argyll Street waiting to see the Beatles