The Beatles - things you probably don't know

Happiness

Ages:

Ringo was the oldest, John Lennon was three months younger. George was just 20. None of them had turned 30 when they officially broke up in 1970. Ringo is currently 81 and Paul 79.

Family Guy on their future:

George’s Girlfriends

George Harrison’s first girlfriend was basically responsible for the group. In 1958 at the tender age of just 16, he was due to play with his band at the Casbah Club which was due to open the following year.. The Casbah was owned by Pete Bests’s mother, Mona, which she planned as a members-only club for her sons Pete and Rory and their friends, to meet and listen to the popular music of the day. It operated from 1959 to 1962.

The QuarrymenJohn Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ken Brown—went to the club to arrange their first booking, to which Mona agreed, but said she needed to finish painting the club first. All four took up brushes and helped Mona to finish painting the walls with spiders, dragons, rainbows and stars. In addition to the four boys' artistic contributions, Cynthia Powell, later to become Cynthia Lennon, painted a silhouette of John on the wall, which can still be seen today.

The Quarrymen

They were each paid 15 bob a night, good money then. Ruth was in love with George but it wasn’t reciprocated, so Ruth moved on. George’s next girlfriend was Pauline Behand (1960). Pauline was a fan and was initially attracted to John, but it was George who asked her out. She was still his girlfriend when he and The Beatles went to Hamburg in the Spring of 1961. But while he was away Pauline started going out with Gerry Marsden (The Pacemakers). Gerry wrote and recorded the hit “Ferry Across The Mersey” Of course they had a much bigger hit with the second song written by the legendary Oscar Hammerstein.

You'll Never Walk Alone

George asked Pattie to choose, and she chose Gerry. They married in 1965 and were still married when Jerry passed away in January 2021aged 78. In 1962 George dated Ann Guirron. In 1966 she started dating Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues, and he wrote “Knights in White Satin” as a tribute to their relationship.

Other band names:

John Lennon started a skiffle group that was briefly called the Blackjacks, but changed the name before any public performances to The Quarrymen – formed by John Lennon in Liverpool in 1956 in honour of John’s current school …. Quarry Bank High School. The group made an amateur recording in 1958, performing Buddy Holly's "That'll Be the Day" and "In Spite of All the Danger", a song written by McCartney and Harrison.

The group moved towards rock and roll, causing several of the original members to leave. This left Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison, who performed under several other names, including Johnny and the Moondogs and Japage 3, The Rainbows, and British Everly Brothers before returning to the Quarrymen name in 1959. In early July 1960, they billed themselves as the Silver Beatles, before finally settling on simply the Beatles, around August 16, 1960. The band liked the idea of using the name of an insect as a band name, and they were fans of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Because John Lennon loved puns, he altered the spelling of “Beetles” to “Beatles”.

Hamburg:

John Lennon once said that The Beatles were born in Liverpool, but they grew up in Hamburg because that is where they learned to play. In August 1960 The Beatles' booking agent, Allan Williams, decided to send the group to Hamburg when another group he managed, Derry and the Seniors, proved successful there. The group consisted of John, Paul, George, Stuart Sutcliffe and Ken Brown. No drummer. But they rectified that when Paul invited Pete Best to join the group a few days before their departure. So, by the time they got to Hamburg their five-man lineup was John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. Sutcliffe was the base guitarist. During their period in Hamburg, Sutcliffe decided to leave the group to continue his studies. In April 1962, less than a year after leaving the group, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and died. Stuart was replaced by Ken Brown.

The group were booked to play at the Indra Club. They lived backstage in the Bambi Kino, next to the toilets, and Paul remembers that “you could always smell them. The room had been an old storeroom, and there were just concrete walls and nothing else. No heat, no wallpaper, not a lick of paint; and two sets of bunk beds, with not very much covers—Union Jack flags—they were frozen. They weren’t intimidated by the club’s raunchy reputation as Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Sutcliffe once played backing music for "Janice the Stripper" in Liverpool in July 1960.

In late October they were offered a contract to play at the biggest club in Hamburg at the time, The Top 10 Club. It was more money, better working conditions and a far superior sound system. They accepted of course, breaking their their current contract. The owner of The Indra was furious and so reported George for working under the age limit. George was deported in November. When Paul and Pete returned to the club to collect their stuff, they used a condom to set fire to a curtain there, which badly burned a wall. They spent three hours in jail before also being deported. It is unlikely that the condom belonged to one of the group because all the band contracted gonorrhoea in Hamburg.

Pete Best on drums:

In 1962 they switched to The Star Club in Hamburg. In August of that year Pete Best, after two years as a Beatle, was kicked out of the band and replaced by Ringo Starr, who had been the drummer for a band called The Hurricanes, who were also playing in Hamburg. Pete was fired by Brian Epstein, who had become their manager. He claimed the others wanted Pete out of the band. It really upset many Beatles fans. After taunts of, "Pete forever, Ringo never!", one agitated fan headbutted George Harrison in the club.

The Beatles were set to record with George Martin as their producer. Apparently, two months earlier Martin told John and Paul that he wasn’t going to use Pete in the recordings and would bring in a session drummer. He mentioned Ringo Starr. Manager Brian Epstein and the other Beatles discussed the situation and decided it would be simpler to just sack Pete. Pete was not given a reason for his sacking. The other members never spoke to him again, assumingly because of sheer embarrassment. John, Paul, George and Ringo played publicly for the first time two days later, on August 18, 1962. The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein worked hard to secure his lads a recording contract with a label big enough to make them stars. This wasn’t easy, though, because not everyone in the music industry saw the potential in them that Epstein did. At one point, the act was rejected by Decca Records, and Epstein was told that guitar groups were on the way out. Ultimately, of course, EMI took a chance on the Beatles, and the rest is history. They originally signed to record four songs. The songs Epstein asked them to do were written by professional songwriters, as was the norm in those days. The group didn’t like any of them. So they wrote their own songs, having played them live in Hamburg and Liverpool, and saw that audiences loved them. It was almost unheard of. The songs included “Love Me Do”, “PS. I Love You” and “Ask Me Why”.

Best Drummer:

According to John Lennon Paul was the best drummer in the group. But historians of the Beatles who have looked over the notes from the recordings that the Beatles made with EMI over the years note that Ringo Starr was responsible for very few blown takes. He was a remarkably consistent and reliable timekeeper, and he was able to perform very well under time pressure in the studio.

The World Tour (February, 1964):

The US, Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, New Zealand, England and Sweden.

The Beatles in Australia:

1st US No. 1 = “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”. Same in Australia.

1st appearance on Ed Sullivan = Feb 1964 – “All My Lovin’”, “Till There Was You”, and “She Loves You” before taking a break and returning with “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”.

The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show

An estimated 73 million people in the US watched the show that night. The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan Show nine times all up. But their first best selling song on the US charts was “Here Comes The Sun” from the Abbey Road album, written by George Harrison. The Beatles’ first-ever album to debut at number one was “Help!”

The above Abbey road photo, it was supposed to announce Paul’s death because Paul wore no shoes. But the simple reason was because it was an extremely hot English day – Friday, 8th of August 1969 – and the band had done several crossings before they did one in step with one another.

But the 1964 tour also harmed the band musically because they played before thousands of screaming girls so loud that they couldn’t hear themselves. And they lost a lot musically then. Ringo described it as becoming “loose musicians”.

In Jacksonville, America, they were told that the audience would be segregated, black and white. They refused to play until the management changed their policy. So the concert was opened and the audience was integrated.

They grew tired of touring and in August 1966 stopped forever. They withdrew to the studio and in November of that year recorded the “Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart’s Club Band” album which was released the following year.. It featured Ringo’s finest performance.

When They Met Elvis:

Elvis was close to the CIA and tried to have the Beatles banned from America because he saw them as a threat to his popularity. But he failed of course and they did get together. Elvis was trying to learn the bass guitar so spent most of the time with Paul. But the thing they all remember most is that they had never seen or heard of before was a remote controlled TV. The whole time they were at Graceland Elvis kept changing channels. John Lennon thought that Elvis was disinterested in talking with them and that he wasn’t an especially engaging in person.

Songs They Gave Away:

The Rolling Stones first hit was written by the Beatles – “I Wanna Be Your Man”. The members of both bands were friends and one day John and Paul ran into Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. They invited them to the studio where they were writing their next song. When it was finished John and Paul gave it to The Stones for nothing. When asked much later if it was one of their best songs, John replied “We gave it away for nothing and let Ringo sing the lead when they recorded it. What do you think?”

The Rolling Stones

The Beatles gave away many more songs they wrote including one for their good friend Cilla Black (“It’s For You”). They wrote a song for Peter and Gordon (“A world Without Love”). Peter Asher was the brother of Jane Asher, Paul’s girlfriend at the time. It was published under their names. But there’s another song written for them which isn’t on any official list. In 1966 Paul McCartney was starting to wonder if his songwriting was actually good or did people just buy his songs because of who he was. So he wrote this song for his brother-in-law and used a pseudonym. He attributed the song to up-and-coming songwriter named Bernard Webb. The song is “Woman”, a world-wide hit. He chose that name because he was impressed at the time by another up and coming songwriter named Jimmy Webb, who in 1966 wrote “MacArthur Park”, sung by Richard Harris. He went on to write almost all the hits by Glen Campbell.

Woman:

David Bowie’s mega-hit Fame was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

George’s life after The Beatles:

George went on to form The Travelling Wilburys. But he did much more than that. In 1978 when Monty Python’s “Life Of Brian” was about to go into production the chairman of EMI finally got around to reading the script. He hated it and cancelled the project. The Pythons were suddenly needing someone to put up 2 million pounds in a hurry. Eric Idle rang the richest person he knew, George Harrison. George loved Monty Python so much he set up Handmade Films and Monty Python made its film. But the company was taken over by businessmen who invested George’s money into films that were duds and Handmade collapsed in 1991. George would later describe the experience as “the most expensive cinema ticket ever bought”.

Life Of Brian:

George The Composer:

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” … George as sick of writing songs and taking them to Paul and John and they showing no interest. So he sat down once again determined to write something that might grab their attention. He decided to randomly select a book, open to a random page and write about what he read. The first words that he saw were “gently weeps”, and so the song was written. He played it to the others but again they showed little interest. So he asked his best friend Eric Clapton, one of the best guitarists in the world, to come to the studio and be the first person outside the group to play on a Beatles recording. Because John and Paul were in awe of Eric Clapton they got right into it, Paul added a piano intro and the song was recorded.

George went on to write many other songs, including the wonderful “Something” as a tribute to his love, model Pattie Boyd. George married model Pattie in 1966. She inspired many of George’s songs In 1977, Pattie left him for one of George’s best friends, Eric Clapton, who wrote the song “Layla” while trying to lure her away from George. Pattie and Eric married in 1979 and the marriage lasted ten years. The two men once staged a guitar-playing duel to win her affection!

The Rooftop Concert:

The last time the Beatles played live was on the 13th of January, 1969 f what became to be called “The Rooftop Concert”. It was the first time they had played live in over two years. It was done on the rooftop of their Apple Corps headquarters at 3 Saville Row, within central London's office and fashion district. Joined by keyboardist Billy Preston, the band played a 42-minute set before the Metropolitan Police asked them to reduce the volume. It was a desperate attempt to restore unity when business and personal chaos threatened to destroy the band.

“Helter Skelter”, a heavy metal type tune, was written by Paul 1n 1968, was considered the first ever heavy metal song, although Paul was inspired by a similar recording by The Who. But the associated story is amazing. Coincidentally, Charles Manson and his family were big fans of The Beatles. Paul had met Manson the previous year when hanging out with Denis Wilson of The Beach Boys. The Manson family murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others the same night as The Rooftop Concert plus two more people the next day. It is not clear whether the Manson family watched the Rooftop Concert on TV from Los Angeles. Paul had met Manson the previous year when hanging out with Denis Wilson of The Beach Boys. Paul wrote “Helter Skelter” as an innocent song using the symbol of a playground slide as a metaphor for war. Manson said that it was a song with subliminal lyrics the group was imparting a secret message heralding Armageddon. The Manson Family developed into a doomsday cult when Manson became fixated on the idea of an imminent apocalyptic race war between America's black population and the larger white population. He said that The Beatles inspired him to do the things he did. Manson was a white supremacist.

Video Production:

The Rooftop Concert was part of the “Get Back” project. It was professionally filmed to accompany the song. Having worked with the Beatles on their recent promotional videos for “Hey Jude” and “Revolution,” American filmmaker Lindsay-Hogg was the logical choice to direct the Get Back rooftop project. Later it was confirmed that Lindsay-Hogg revealed that he was only son of cinema giant Orson Welles.

The Breakup:

The group broke up in 1969 while recording the “Let It Be” album. George left first. He became tired of being dominated by John and Paul and wanted to write his own songs and express his own voice. But he was convinced by the others to return a week later to help them finish recording the album. The group had been very close personally and professionally and their recording sessions were sacred. And they were intense. But John started bring Yoko Ono to the recording studio and she had the temerity one day to sit on a speaker. That was the last straw ….

When the band broke up Paul took it very badly and developed a drinking problem. He missed John very much. When John and Yoko briefly separated it was Paul who got them back together. Paula’s partner at the time, Linda Eastman, Paul’s soon to be wife, encouraged him to form a new band and so Wings were born.

Paul missed John very much and finally convinced him to once more write a song together in the late 1970’s. But it never eventuated because John was assassinated on December 8, 1980. Actually Paul had, in 1979, signed a $10 million contact with CBS for The Beatles to record together again. And they had agreed. But when John died it never eventuated.

According to Yoko Ono, the Beatles “divorced” because they were becoming very independent. She said Paul was the only one trying to hold the Beatles together, but the other Beatles thought Paul was trying to make it into his band, which they didn’t like. Paul McCartney argued that Yoko Ono “did not break the group up” because the Beatles were already breaking up. The death of Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, marked the beginning of the group’s dissolution, according to John Lennon.

The Songs:

John and Paul had an unusual agreement where they would both get songwriting credits for tunes that only one of them had written.

“Because” - According to Lennon, the song's close musical resemblance to the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata was no coincidence: "Yoko was playing Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' on the piano. I said, 'Can you play those chords backwards?', and wrote 'Because' around them.

“Come Together” was apparently plagiarised. Influential rock musician Chuck Berry sued John Lennon in 1973 under the premise that the Beatles’ hit “Come Together” borrowed both lines and melodies from Berry’s song “You Can’t Catch Me.”

“Yesterday” was written in a dream. Paul took it to John and many others and they told him they had never heard the melody. Simple. The group’s original title for this song was actually “Scrambled Eggs. Yesterday is he most recorded song in history and has been covered by people such as Elvis and Frank Sinatra.

“A Day In A Life” (by John Lennon and Paul McCartney) was inspired by two news articles by the UK Daily Express that talked about this man who was killed in a car accident and another article that talked about how there was this group that had to count 4,000 holes, in order to figure out how to fill them. At the end of the song John envisaged a cacophony of sound where the orchestra would build with each instrument playing separate notes. When John put this to the conductor he laughed and said orchestral players only play from musical sheets, and don’t do improvise. So George Martin wrote each individual song sheet. The song finished on a singular note, E major.

“A Hard Day’s Night” – There has long been speculation about the opening chord, which is quite unique. It has been described as the most interesting chord of all time. With George on a 12 string guitar, and lots of additions and electronic manipulation. John plays the same note as George but adds an extra one. George Martin plays the piano (one chord).

 

Miscellaneous:

Geoff Mooney.