Friday, September 30, 2011

Private Mans

The Beatles spent the first half of June, 1966 ensconced in EMI Studios finishing up the Revolver LP. On the 16th, they made a surprise live TV appearance on Top Of The Pops, miming both sides of their new single (as with most of their TOTP performances, the videotape no longer exists).

Meanwhile in the States, Capitol was recalling thousands of copies of the "Yesterday"... and Today LP, to replace (or paste-over) the offending "Butcher" cover photo. Press officer Tony Barrow spoke about the controversy with Cleveland DJ Jerry G. Bishop.

Recording for Revolver was wrapped up on June 21st, and after a single day off, the Beatles flew to West Germany to begin their final World Tour. The first stop was Munich, for two concerts on the 24th, followed by a pair of shows in Essen the next day.

In Essen, they held a press conference between shows, and spoke to a reporter from WDR Radio as well as Camie McKay of Radio Canadian Army Europe.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cooking With Dylan

Rather than make the usual rounds of pop music TV shows to plug the "Paperback Writer"/"Rain" single, the Beatles opted to film a series of promotional clips of both songs for worldwide distribution.

On May 19th, 1966, they videotaped at least seven clips inside EMI Studio 1, as well as a special greeting to Ed Sullivan, whose show would air two of them in color on June 5th. The following day, they spent the morning at Chiswick House and Gardens, filming more promos for both songs, to be broadcast on Top Of The Pops in the UK.

The Beatles had the next five days off, meeting up again on the 26th to tape the basic tracks for a new song, "Yellow Submarine". After the session ended at 1am, John apparently stayed up all night at his home in Weybridge indulging in certain substances with Bob Dylan, who was in London to perform at the Royal Albert Hall.

By 7am, it was time for the party to end, and John and Bob were driven to the Mayfair Hotel where Dylan was staying. Also in the limo was filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker, who was shooting a documentary on the tour. The result was 20 minutes of footage showing Lennon and Dylan at their least inspired, with the latter growing increasingly ill as the limo approaches the hotel. Only a very brief portion of the footage was used in the completed film, Eat The Document.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quiet, Rural Characters

With a new single to promote ("Paperback Writer"/"Rain"), the Beatles recorded a chat segment for BBC Radio's Saturday Club. On May 2nd, 1966, they spoke with Brian Matthew (their final group interview with him) about the album in progress, and their summer touring plans. The conversation was included on the 400th edition of Saturday Club, aired June 4th.

Matthew then interviewed Ringo and Paul individually for Pop Profile. This unidentified recording of Paul talking about "Michelle" may originate from this date, or the later Lennon And McCartney Songbook special.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


After spending most of April inside EMI's Abbey Road Studios recording a new single and tracks for Revolver, the Beatles made their first public appearance of 1966 on May 1st, headlining the annual New Musical Express Poll Winners' Concert at the Empire Pool, Wembley. The mind-bogging lineup of performers included the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Spencer Davis Group, Roy Orbison, the Yardbirds, Dusty Springfield, the Small Faces, and Cliff Richard and the Shadows, among others.

It also turned out to be their final performance before a paying audience in their home country, albeit a truncated set: "I Feel Fine", "Nowhere Man", "Day Tripper", "If I Needed Someone" (seen above), and "I'm Down". Unfortunately, ABC-TV's cameras were shut off during the Beatles' numbers, due to contractual issues. But they were filmed receiving their awards at the end of the event:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meat City

March 25th, 1966 was a bizarre day for the Beatles. They had attended the premiere of Alfie the previous night, a film in which Jane Asher had a small role. That may have been the first time in 1966 all four Beatles were together, apart from a January 5th overdubbing session for the Shea Stadium concert film.

Their first business-related task of the year was a photo session in Chelsea the following day. Robert Whitaker shot a series of surrealistic photos, most notoriously the "butcher" images, one of which ended up briefly on the cover of Capitol's "Yesterday"... And Today LP.

A less welcome task that day was an interview with Tom Lodge, disc jockey for the pirate station Radio Caroline. Lodge managed to record 21 minutes of material with the group, ostensibly for use on a flexi-disc to promote the new Disc and Music Echo music paper. Unfortunately, the group was in no mood to cooperate, and the "witty banter" was beyond forced, with less than two minutes being usable.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beatles '66

From the moment they stepped offstage at Cardiff on December 12th, 1965, until they convened at EMI Studios on April 6th, 1966, the Beatles enjoyed the longest stretch of free time since their rise to fame. Other than writing new songs and the occasional photo session, they had no group commitments.

Brian Epstein began 1966 with a business trip to New York City, and on January 8th, he spoke via telephone with Bruce Bradley of Boston's WBZ-AM, keeping Americans up to date on the Beatles' plans for the new year.

John and Ringo, accompanied by their wives, flew to Trinidad on January 12th for a winter holiday in the sun, returning on the 23rd. This meant they missed out on George's January 21st wedding to Patricia Boyd; the newlyweds would honeymoon in Barbados beginning February 8th.

Sometime that winter, George recorded a brief message for Bravo, a German magazine that would be sponsoring the Beatles' tour in June. The recording was included on a flexi-disc with the March 21st issue of Bravo.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Ten O'clock On A Saturday!

The final Rubber Soul session stretched into the early morning of November 12th, 1965. From then until their final UK tour kicked off on December 3rd, the Beatles had few commitments.

On November 23rd, they spent the day at Twickenham Film Studios videotaping promotional clips for both sides of their new single, "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out", along with their three prior A-sides.

On the 29th, they sat down with Brian Matthew for a chat-only appearance on BBC Radio's Saturday Club, to be broadcast on Christmas day. The uncut tape of this recording was discovered in 1988, and portions have been aired in various BBC retrospectives since then.

The following day, Matthew also interviewed George and John in-depth for Pop Profile.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why Such Fury?

By November, 1965, deadlines for Rubber Soul and the annual Fan Club Christmas flexi were imminent. After an aborted attempt at the latter in October, George Martin and the Beatles decided to kill two birds with one stone.

On the 8th, they recorded George Harrison's second contribution to the LP, "Think For Yourself". During the vocal overdub portion of the session, Martin rolled a separate tape to capture the group's rehearsal, banter, and bad jokes, hoping to capture some spontaneous magic for the Christmas flexi.

None of the nineteen minutes recorded proved useful, apart from a few seconds exhumed in 1967-8 for the Yellow Submarine film soundtrack. The finished message was edited together from three takes of speech and singing, taped after "Think For Yourself" had been completed. Earlier this year, an Arena profile of George Martin provided a brief outtake from one of these takes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Wonderful and Talented... Thingy

Rubber Soul sessions continued apace throughout October, 1965, interrupted only by a visit to Buckingham Palace on the 26th.

The first two days of November were taken up with rehearsals and videotaping of a 50-minute special for Granada TV. The Music Of Lennon & McCartney featured a number of acts performing John and Paul's compositions, including the Beatles' mimed renditions of "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out", already slated for their next single. John and Paul were given the task of "hosting" the show, introducing most of the guests with rather stilted dialogue.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Bird A-Hummin'

Apart from composing material for their next LP and single, the Beatles had little to do in September, 1965. Ringo did get to greet his first child, Zak, into the world on the 13th, and the group made a quick visit back to Liverpool.

Sessions for Rubber Soul began back at EMI Studios in October 12th. In addition to having a new album and single out for the holidays, publicist Tony Barrow was insisting upon another "Christmas Message" flexi-disc specifically for members of the Beatles Fan Club. To this end, a session was held at London's Marquee Studio on October 19th.

As the surviving 25-minute recording attests, the atmosphere was miserable. George was absent, John hated Barrow's script, and Paul was unable to rally the others into a spirited performance. Things only picked up towards the end of the evening when they ad-libbed around a piano. None of this session was used, and the flexi-disc material would be recorded under George Martin's supervision at Abbey Road in November.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Paul McCartney: Killer

Cleveland disc jockey Jerry G. Bishop (real name Jerry Ghan) toured with the Beatles on their entire August 1965 North American tour, interviewing them in-depth at most stops. His recordings were compiled on an LP considered for release on Capitol in 1966, which only made it as far as the acetate stage.

In the early 1980s, two picture disc albums of Jerry's interviews were issued; unfortunately most of the material is difficult to pin down to any specific date, but here is a 41-minute composite of all the undated material presumed to be from 1965.

Another reporter who asked intelligent questions was newsman Larry Kane, and he supplied interview tapes for the TV special The Beatles At Shea Stadium. The recordings date from both the 1964 and 1965 tours, and can be heard over documentary footage of the concert.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Another Brand New Day

The Beatles' Summer 1965 tour wrapped up in San Francisco with two riotous concerts at the Cow Palace on August 31st. An earlier blog post covered most of the day's events, but here are 21 minutes of vintage concert coverage from radio station KEWB-AM.

On September 1st, the Beatles' party flew back to London, arriving around 5am the following day to settle back in their homes for six weeks before reassembling to record Rubber Soul. Before they left San Francisco, Jerry G. Bishop taped their farewell messages to American fans, promising a return visit in 1966.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The Beatles' Los Angeles visit concluded with two concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, on August 29th and 30th, 1965. On the first day, they held a press conference at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood, concluding with a local TV interview and the presentation of gold discs for the Help! soundtrack album.

The concerts were recorded professionally by Capitol, and bits of the August 30th show were released in 1977 on the LP The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl (the recording of the 29th suffered from technical flaws). The latter show was partially filmed by a newsreel crew, and some short color home movie footage also exists:

And what were local fans doing during the band's week-long Los Angeles stay? Circling overhead in helicopters, of course!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Forgot To Remember To Forget

Another highlight of the Beatles' 1965 Los Angeles trip was their summit with Elvis Presley, on the evening of August 27th. A thorough examination of that meeting can be found here:

In subsequent years, none of the Beatles would recall jamming with Elvis, however informally, but their memories were fresher the following day. Here they are in San Diego on August 28th describing the Elvis meeting to Larry Kane. They also spoke about Elvis with Jerry G. Bishop that day, in chats following the San Diego press conference.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

California Dreaming

When asked which city they were looking forward to revisiting on the 1965 US tour, The Beatles invariably chose Los Angeles. As they had the previous summer, the group rented a Hollywood mansion for the duration of their stay, including five days off from August 23rd through the 27th.

Other than putting in an appearance at a party on the 24th, thrown by Capitol president Alan Livingston, the Beatles had no obligations, and spent most days lazing by the pool. One day, John, George, and Ringo shared an LSD trip with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn of the Byrds and actor Peter Fonda; they night, they had a private screening of the film Cat Ballou.

Disc jockey Jerry G. Bishop had been covering the tour for WKYC in Cleveland (and apparently for BBC Radio's Top Of The Pops), and he took advantage of the break to assemble and narrate several "reports from Los Angeles".

Bonus: We've heard Beatle farewells to Larry Kane, here are some greetings.

Monday, September 5, 2011


The Beatles played two shows at Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon on August 22nd, 1965. The flight there from Minneapolis was terrifying, as an engine caught fire shortly before landing. Immediately afterwards, they had to answer inane questions at an airport press conference.

Between shows, they relaxed backstage, socializing with Carl Wilson and Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and chatted with disc jockey Jerry G. Bishop. John's throat was still in poor shape, but would heal over the subsequent five-day break in Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jerk With A Badge

The Beatles' sole trip to Minneapolis on August 21st, 1965, started on a high note and rapidly went downhill.

Upon their late-afternoon arrival, they held a press conference at the venue, Metropolitan Stadium. Much to his delight and John's envy, George was presented with a brand-new 12-string Rickenbacker guitar at the end of the conference. The proceedings were broadcast live on WDGY radio, and filmed for local TV news.

During the concert, the usual opening number, "Twist And Shout", was cut from the setlist due to the rough state of John's throat. After the show, police enforced a midnight curfew at the Leamington Motor Inn, in particular evicting a girl from Paul's room, much to his dismay. Inspector Donald R. Dwyer was interviewed about the incident a couple of days later.