Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ring Out The Old

December 1974 was turning out to be a pivotal month in the relationships among the ex-Beatles. I've already discussed John and George's prickly meeting at the Plaza, and John and Ringo had been socializing in Los Angeles earlier in the month. Paul and Linda were also in New York for a pre-Christmas visit with the Eastman family.

The Beatles' business partnership had been in limbo since the March 1971 court decision to channel all their joint income through a receiver, but four years of negotiations had finally resulted in a dissolution agreement everyone could agree to. December 19th was chosen as a date to sign the papers, since George was in New York for his Madison Square concert that night and John and Paul were both in town.

Paul and George met up at the Plaza Hotel that afternoon, along with Ringo's representative (the drummer had returned to England for the holidays), and waited for John to arrive. And waited. And waited some more. Eventually a balloon arrived with a note attached: "Listen to this balloon".

That was all George could take, and he phoned John, angrily demanding an explanation. The only response was that John has consulted his (more accurately, Yoko's) astrologer and that "the planets weren't right" for him to sign anything that day. In truth, John had gotten cold feet at the last minute, and perhaps wanted to stick it to George after their earlier disagreement.

Paul and George went ahead and signed the agreement, the latter muttering "Krishna Krishna" to calm himself down:

An irate George then sent word to John that his presence at the Madison Square shows was now unwelcome, which must have come as a relief to John. George went on that night and vented some of his frustration at the audience, admonishing them for smoking "reefers":

The tour concluded December 20th with two more concerts at the Gardens. By now, George was in much better spirits (and his voice was mostly healed), and the tour was able to end on a high note. Paul and Linda were even present in not-so-subtle disguises:

Julian Lennon was in New York visiting his father for Christmas, and attended George's concert in proxy for his ostracized dad. Now that two of the things which had been weighing most heavily on his mind, the tour and the legal matters, were behind him, George was in a far more relaxed state. He met with Julian backstage and offered a peace branch, inviting John to his end-of-tour party at the Hippopotamus Club late that night.

The two old mates socialized at the club and then returned to George's hotel room, where at 5AM, a lucky radio reporter was able to talk with two Beatles, although as it was a Harrison interview, John mostly kept his distance, only joining in when invited by George. After looking back on the tour, George chatted about his improved opinion of Texas, meeting Gerald Ford, writing "My Sweet Lord", and his favorite Beatle songs.

Just as quickly as New York had been full of Beatles, it emptied of them. Paul returned to Scotland, George to England, and John and Julian flew to Orlando where they spent Christmas at Walt Disney World (and where John finally signed the Beatles dissolution papers). George closed 1974 with a New Year-themed single, "Ding Dong Ding Dong", released December 23rd in the US and accompanied by a Pythonesque promo filmed at his home:


  1. Holy smokes, I've never seen that picture before. Unbelievable. And a radio interview with both George AND John, in 1974.....wow. What a day's post for DinsdaleP!!!!!!

    And what a year '74 was, wow......it's all downhill from here!

  2. A twisted take on the Beatles break up: George is signing papers with his left hand and Paul with his right!