Friday, June 2, 2017

The Beatles' Endless Summer of Love - Part 2

NOTE:  Unfortunately, links expire.  Please email me to let me know if the particular link you are interested in has expired so I can update it.  I'll try my best to avoid this situation.

Also, this post will be continually updated until early 2018 and will eventually contain The Beatles' activities from April 1967 - February 1968.

25 April 1967 - It was at first, for me, quite an eye opener to learn that 'work' on "Magical Mystery Tour" began this early in the year.  What had happened was that Paul traveled to the United States at the beginning of April where he visited Jane Asher for her 21st birthday in Denver, Colorado as she was touring there with the Old Vic Theatre Company.  It was during this time Paul began to conceive the idea for "Magical Mystery Tour".

While in America, Paul (who had travel companion Mal Evans with him) also visited San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Up to now The Beatles schedule was thus:  The new LP was still being prepared for manufacture, there were plans for a Television documentary of the making of "Sgt. Pepper", a third motion picture was still on the table after that, and now there was Paul's idea for another Television special which would be "Magical Mystery Tour".

On this day after much of the evening was spent in rehearsal, a basic rhythm track which would work as the title to "Magical Mystery Tour" was laid down with two guitars, piano and drums.   Take three was the best and five reduction mixes were completed.

Later, Paul's lead and John & George's backing vocals were recorded with much of it "taped very slow so that it played back very fast," according to Richard Lush. "They really wanted those voices to sound different."

 12 April 1967 - Mal Evans and Paul McCartney arriving back in England from their visit to America.

Paul's sketch diagram which was the nucleus for project "Magical Mystery Tour".

19 April 1967 - The Beatles & Co. is created to control The Beatles' various business interests.  It had been formed upon the suggestion of their tax advisors as an umbrella company.   This company was in essence a new version of Beatles Ltd. and would be collectively owned.  Besides songwriting royalties which would go directly to the songwriters, all other monies earned by the group would go into The Beatles & Co, allowing for a lower corporate tax rate.

This new agreement was set up to bind the group together as one unit, no matter what they may do individually, until 1977.

Time for an 'upgrade'!  Beatles wax figures get the make-over at Madame Tussauds.  Another indication that The Beatles of 1967 were now light years away from their previous incarnation.

*Here's some more information about "Magical Mystery Tour".

3 May 1967 - The brass overdubbing for "Magical Mystery Tour" with musicians David Mason, Elgar [Gary] Howarth, Roy Copestake and John Wilbraham.  A long session that started at 7pm and lasted past midnight as Paul and George Martin worked the arrangement out on piano.  It is said that, in frustration waiting, 'Gary' Howarth came up with an idea to help them along.

(Unrelated, but interesting photo of what looks like John on the far right, at home maybe(?), with possibly Julian in the middle, but the lady doesn't look like Cynthia to me.)

9 May 1967 - An unusual day in Beatles' studio history.  They arrived at 11pm in Studio Two, with George Martin producing and their two engineers, Geoff Emerick and Richard Lush to work through the night jamming away and producing 16 minutes of an instrumental.  According to Mark Lewisohn, "The instruments used - all well out of tune, incidentally - were an electric guitar, another guitar with a vibrato effect, drums and a harmonium."

Mr. Lewisohn went on to remark the music seemed to lack any direction.  It's anyone's guess as to what the motivation was for this session, but perhaps, since they had started work on the title track for "Magical Mystery Tour", maybe they were trying to come up with some incidental music that could be used in the background for this next project?  Just a thought. 

This appears to be a photo shoot for Life magazine and the fellow with them is Henry Grossman, the photographer.

11 May 1967 - For the second time this year, The Beatles make a record outside Abbey Road Studios.  This time it was top independent Olympic Sound Studios in London and the song recorded and mixed in 6 hours was "Baby You're A Rich Man".  Studio manager Keith Grant was the engineer for this session and always keen to "naturally push people along."

"Baby You're A Rich Man" was especially recorded for yet another film project, "Yellow Submarine".    Although it wouldn't be announced until early June,  one month earlier The Beatles agreed to help make a full-length animated motion picture, where they would provide at least 3 new songs to go along with other previously recorded material of theirs which would serve as the soundtrack to the film.  Their list of projects was piling up, and their new LP was still yet to be released!

One unusual instrument played on the track by John was the Clavioline - "an electronic keyboard instrument with its own amplifier which plays just one note at a time and can imitate the tonal qualities of various instruments."

All four Beatles contributed and as Mick Jagger was documented as also being in attendance, there is some speculation he might have sang backing vocals as well.

*More about "Baby You're A Rich Man"

John Lennon's psychedelically painted 1965 Rolls Royce

*More about The Beatles' two new major projects

12 May 1967 - The Beatles on a temporary 'roll' (and maybe eager to fulfill their songwriting requirement for "Yellow Submarine") returned to Abbey Road and knocked off "All Together Now" in less than six hours.  Geoff Emerick was back behind the controls covering for an absent George Martin.  

It was completed and mixed for mono and it is interesting to note that when it was finally released, the only 'mono' version of the "Yellow Submarine" LP available was, for the first time, simply the stereo version 'compressed' to mono.  The actual mono mix of "All Together Now" would not be available to the public until The Beatles' Mono Box set release of 2009.  (There was a true mono EP prepared and ready for issue in mid 1969, but plans for that were eventually dropped.  Its contents are what's included in the Mono Box release.)

*More information concerning "All Together Now"

17 May 1967 - The Beatles return to a more 'leisurely' recording schedule when, on this date, they begin one of their strangest productions, "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)".  In the end, it would be composed of 5 individual parts, each recorded separately.  14 takes were completed of 'Part 1', with little difference in-between those and the rehearsals, which were also taped.  Take 10 was selected as 'best' and was labeled to be edited into the master tape at a later date, revealing they had some kind of a planned structure already in place. 

*This was only the beginning for this track "You Know My Name (Look Up My Number)" which would continue in production through to almost mid June and then forgotten until 1969 when more work could continue on it, and then dropped again until its release in early 1970.

19 May 1967 - The Press Launch for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is held at Brian Epstein's home in London.   The Beatles were photographed inside Brian's home on 24 Chapel Street and also on his doorstep.

Photographer Linda Eastman has been quoted as saying she inspired The Beatles to give the 'thumbs up' for a series of photos taken on this date.

Paul had met Linda Eastman a few days earlier on 15 May 1967 at the nightclub "Bag O' Nails" where Georgie Fame was performing. 

Brian Epstein was impressed with Linda's work as a photographer and invited her to this press launch.

20 May 1967 - The British radio show, "Where It's At" with host Chris Denning airs for 90 minutes playing pop music of the times, including airplay of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" along with only a few minutes of introductions made by John, Paul & Ringo.  (I don't know the whereabouts of George or why he wasn't included.)  These intros were recorded by Kenny Everett.

All songs from the LP were played during the show for the first time, with the exception of "A Day In The Life".  This letter shows that shortly after this broadcast, the song was officially banned by the BBC.

Here is a link to audio of the very few moments The Beatles contributed to the show:  

This is an earlier letter requesting advice on how to proceed with the handling of "A Day In The Life".  (Note:  From another source, the claim is the entire LP was played, including "A Day In The Life" on Radio London, 11 May 1967.)

John Lennon and Paul McCartney would respond.  John:  "The laugh is that Paul and I wrote this song from a headline in a newspaper.  It's about a crash and its victim.  How can anyone read drugs into it is beyond me.  Everyone seems to be falling overboard to see the word drug in the most innocent of phrases."  Paul:  "The BBC have misinterpreted the song.  It has nothing to do with drug taking.  It's only about a dream."

25 May 1967 - Once more, The Beatles record outside of Abbey Road, this time at De Lane Lea Music Recording Studios in London, and again without George Martin.   It was for George Harrison's contribution to the "Yellow Submarine" project and his latest tune was to be "It's All Too Much".  George did have a working title at this stage, calling it simply "Too Much".

The Beatles did plenty of rehearsing in the studio before laying down 4 takes of a rhythm track with organ, lead guitar, bass guitar and drums.

They would return to De Lane Lea at the end of the month, on the 31st, once more without George Martin, work with take 4 to add more percussion, George's lead vocal and John & Paul's backing vocals.

George didn't have a lot to say about "It's All Too Much" so the description above pretty much sums it all up.

Meanwhile, "A Day In The Life" would suffer more unwarranted scrutiny after Brian Epstein sent a copy of the new LP to The Royal Albert Hall council, thinking unwittingly they'd enjoy being mentioned in the lyrics.  They were not.  Below is a letter sent to Brian not only expressing disapproval but giving a directive as to what could be done about it in the form of new lyrics.

It was John Lennon who stepped up with this response.

This was from the website where I found this wonderful nugget of information.  Apparently the council was definitely not satisfied with John's rebuttal.

1 June 1967 - My favorite quote in Mark Lewisohn's "The Beatles:  Recording Sessions" about the release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" comes from Phil McDonald which reads, "There was one thing they always used to say.  'There's no such word as can't.  What to you mean can't?'  The word just wasn't in their vocabulary.  There was always a way around any problem.  If they had an idea -- any idea -- they thought it must be possible to do it.  That's how Sgt. Pepper was recorded."

Also, on this day (while still hanging out at De Lane Lea Music Recording Studios) and in complete contrast to the latest release, The Beatles were in the recording studio but what resulted was only some instrumental jamming featuring bass guitar, an organ, lead guitar with reverb, drums and tambourine.  There is no record of what this might have been for, so again, I contend maybe it was for some sort of instrumental background they might use in one of their upcoming projects.  It's only speculation, however, as nothing ever came to light of it.

Even the LP's inner sleeve was specially designed.

Sgt. Pepper cut outs.

2 June 1967 - George's "It's All Too Much" gets a brass and woodwind overdub with four trumpets and one bass clarinet.  We know David Mason was again in the studio as one of the trumpeters and Paul Harvey was the clarinetist.

I've come across the original version of "It's All Too Much" before it was edited down to its present form.  It is in mono, and is almost identical to the released 6-1/2 minute version with the exception of about 30 seconds that was cut from the middle of it and the longer fade-out bringing it in just over 8 minutes long.  It is of very good quality and you can download a copy of it from this link:  "It's All Too Much" [Longer Version Mono Mix]

Also on this date, and for the second day in a row, The Beatles filled two more tapes with 'rambling, instrumental and impromptu jamming."  Once more, I believe there had to be a purpose and wish to speculate that maybe they thought something useful would come out of these jam sessions that they might be able to use later for one of their Television specials perhaps?  It's difficult for me to believe they never had a purpose.  That nothing did come out of them useful, does seem apparent.

Another stray photo from the May 19, 1967 press launch of "Sgt. Pepper" at the home of Brian Epstein.

7-9 June 1967 - The Beatles returned to their elaborate "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" production.  Although take 10 in May had been considered 'best', they instead took up with take 9 of that day.  Apparently this overdubbing began to take on a life of its own resulting in the day's work on the 7th being renamed "Instrumental-Unidentified" from what was originally takes numbered 20-24 of the new track.  This makes it unclear as to what was actually planned for the song and what was not.  A rough mono mix of take 24 was made which was about 20 minutes in length and it would be interesting to hear what they came up with at this point.

On June 8th they were to continue working on the track dividing it up into sections by adding parts 2-5 on this day in various takes.  Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones happen to show up at EMI Studio two as well on this day, at Paul's invite, and contributed saxophone.   Then, on the 9th of June it was all put together.

As mentioned, they actually settled on take 9 of the first part of the track now retained as 'best' and to that added take 12 of part 2, take 4 of part 3, take 6 of part 4 and the apparent only take 1 of part 5 calling it all master take 30.  As a rhythm track only, it was given a mono mix that was made for acetate cutting purposes (something that would be fun to listen to) and copied down to 1 track of a 4 track tape making room for vocals that wouldn't be added until April of 1969.  It appears that suddenly interest was lost for the time being on "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)"

On top of all of the other Beatles' projects that they were juggling, there was yet another, not mentioned until now, that had its roots back in late February of 1967 when Brian Epstein received a letter from the BBC concerning The Beatles' possible participation in the first Television show ever to link 5 continents by satellite.  The show, originally titled "Round the World in Eighty Minutes" had already become simply, "Our World", and it was requested that The Beatles represent Britain in a portion of it which would 'show man's greatest current achievements in the field of art and entertainment.'  Specifically, they wanted to present The Beatles 'in a recording studio making a disc.'

On May 17th, BBC producer Derek Burrell-Davis met with The Beatles and sent a favorable telegram indicating that the group was reacting with enthusiasm to the project.  Apparently a contract was signed and on May 18th it was announced The Beatles would represent Britain in a 'live television program broadcast worldwide on the evening of Sunday the 25th of June.'

14 June 1967 - Two days after John & Paul contributed their vocals, and possibly some tambourine and maracas, to a Rolling Stones' session for their new single "We Love You", they were back working on their own new record, and once more under pressure to do a 'rush job'.  

It began in Studio One at Olympic Sound Studios where the basic rhythm track and some vocals were added with The Beatles playing instruments 'normally associated with session musicians.'  John was on harpsichord, Paul on double-bass, George with a violin and Ringo holding it all together with this drumming.

Geoff Emerick remembers:  "I don't know if they had prepared any ideas but they left it very late to write the song.  John said, 'Oh God, is it that close?  I suppose we'd better write something...'"

What came from this seemingly nonchalant approach was the amazing 'perfect encapsulation and embodiment of the summer of 1967' said Mark Lewisohn, 'and its anthemic qualities are as real today as the day it was written.'

The song, "All You Need Is Love" also fit perfectly into the request made to The Beatles by the BBC being, keep it simple so that viewers around the world could understand it.  It appears that 33 takes were made on this day with a tape reduction of take 10.  

Then on June 19th, The Beatles would return to Studio Three at Abbey Road to overdub lead and backing vocals onto tracks 3 and 4 of take 10 with drums, piano (by George Martin) and John Lennon on banjo added to track 2.   An acetate was created on June 21 for Derek Burrell-Davis the BBC director and an orchestra was brought in on the 23rd to add their part.  

The hopes made for a more 'global village' were subverted on June 21, however, when the Soviet Union refused to take part in the show because of Western support for Israeli aggression in the Middle East. Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary and Poland followed with their withdrawal as well.  

It is curious to note that had the Soviet Union agreed to be a part of the program, The Beatles would have been shown in that country for the first time as any product of theirs was still repressed, their records forbidden.


24 June 1967 - One day before the big event and Abbey Road and the Beatles open the doors to Studio One to more than 100 journalists and photographers.  This took up most of the late morning and then from 2-4pm, The Beatles had a rehearsal for the BBC.   Afterwards the orchestra worked with the group to add more to the "All You Need Is Love" rhythm track as it was decided on this day to release the song as The Beatles' next single after the television broadcast.

25 June 1967 - This huge day in Beatles' history, the BBC "Our World" program linking five continents, viewed by 400 million people, tuning in to see a recording session of the Fab Four of which Geoff Emerick recalls, "To attempt to record what we recorded even without the link-up was ridiculous!"

25 June 1967 - Much of the day was spent rehearsing for the BBC cameras and perfecting "All You Need Is Love".   The Beatles would play to their own pre-recorded rhythm track of take 10 with only the vocals, bass guitar, lead guitar solo, drums and orchestra being live onto what would be called take 58, the broadcast version.  This 'live' remix would be fed to the BBC van parked outside and then to the world.

Geoff Emerick remembers:  "We actually went on air about 40 seconds early.  George and I were having a welcome shot of Scotch whisky when we got the word over the intercom. There was a big panic to hide the bottle and the glasses.  We were shoving them under the mixing console!"

Richard Lush, the tape operator whom George Martin addressed on-air to "Run back the tape, please, Richard", recalls "...shaking like a leaf even though we rehearsed that bit over and over on the Saturday and Sunday!"

Special guests attending the on-air event were Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richard, Keith Moon, Eric Clapton, Pattie Harrison, Jane Asher, Mike McCartney, Graham Nash and his wife, Gary Leeds and Hunter Davies, all dressed very colorfully even though the event was not broadcast in color.  (This is one time when colorizing the performance seems like a logical enhancement which it was for "The Beatles Anthology" in 1995.)

The orchestra was conducted by Mike Vickers with four violinists:  Sidney Sax (leader), Patrick Halling, Eric Bowie and John Ronayne; two cellists:  Lionel Ross and Jack Holmes; two tenor saxophonists:  Rex Morris and Don Honeywill; two trombonists:  Evan Watkins and Harry Spain; one accordionist:  Jack Emblow; and two trumpeters:  Stanley Woods (also doubling on flügelhorn) and David Mason, using the same trumpet as he did for "Penny Lane". 

The long fadeout of "All You Need Is Love" contains extracts of Bach's Brandenburg concerto, the introduction from "La Marseillaise", bits of "Greensleeves", Glenn Miller's "In The Mood" and The Beatles' "She Loves You".  In late July publishers KPM won a royalty settlement from EMI for the inclusion of "In The Mood".

It is ironic, given the Soviet Union's boycott of the event, that upon suggestion by that country, a 16mm print of the full "Our World" broadcast was archived with the United Nations for posterity.  Copies were also preserved by participating broadcasting companies and corporations.

[Video archived at my account on Dailymotion]

25 June 1967 - After it was all over and the guests had gone home, the Beatles continued on.  Geoff Emerick recalls, "Later on in the night we overdubbed a snare drum roll by Ringo for the song's intro and John re-did some of his vocal."

26 June 1967 - Nine mono mixes were done for the rush release of "All You Need Is Love".  Remix number four was considered 'best'. 

Here's some more information about the making of "All You Need Is Love".

7 July 1967 - "All You Need Is Love" is released (in the UK) b/w "Baby, You're A Rich Man" which had been 'plucked' away from the "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack to fulfill then need for a 'B' Side on disc.   The pictures below are, of course, from the US release of the single.

The Beatles almost put together a film for the track "Baby, You're A Rich Man" on their Anthology project, but near the beginning, it's interrupted by George telling a story about their summer of 1967. 

I recently found some footage that Paul took while visiting Jane Asher in Colorado for her birthday, and what I did was insert that footage where George is talking to make this 'film' complete, so to speak.  It's the same quality as the other footage, so I felt it fit in okay without too much notice.  Since this all comes from a bootleg source, it's not crystal clear, but I still think it's all right.

I used the 1999 remix of the song as it appears on the "Yellow Submarine Songbook".  You can find a copy of it here:  Baby You're A Rich Man.mp4

John and Julian with their newly painted 'psychedelic' 1965 Rolls Royce.

It is a little unclear to me exactly when this photo session took place.  Some sources I read say it was at the end of June 1967.  In any case, John Lennon invited a reporter and photographer from The Beatles Monthly Book into his home for a look into his personal life there.  In fact it was kind of a neat article because although it said Ringo lives "only a couple of hundred yards down the hill (from John)" and "George's home is several miles away", it was George & Pattie's "bright orange Mini" with Pattie driving, that wound up "in front of our Jag."

"He (George) spotted us behind, asked Pattie to stop the car and when she had done so, popped his head through the sun roof. 'Going to John's' he yelled, we nodded back at him.  'I'll lead you there,' he said and dropped back into his seat.

"After what seemed like a dozen right and left turns through the country lanes, we eventually entered the estate where John and Ringo live.  George left us at the entrance to John's road.  We shouted our thanks at him and Pattie gave a quick smile, slammed the gear lever home and roared off up the road."

There's a part of me that really struggled against posting this photo because in some ways it stabs at the heart knowing the future from this point in history.  Yet, this was some of John's black humor, and I'm choosing to see it that way as it shows how he was not only capable of throwing acid jabs at others, but also himself.

19 July 1967 - This is a particularly interesting period in Beatles' history for me.  It doesn't get a lot of light shed on it, but it was a time when The Beatles were thinking of purchasing and island where they all could create and commune together, uninhibited.  It reminds me of a time when myself and my friends were in our early 30s and we thought of all living together on the West coast of Michigan. It had everything, sand, sun and water, a beautiful sky.  It was a grand idea and just like this one The Beatles had, it was fleeting.

Supposedly on this day the four of them got together to discuss their next project, "Magical Mystery Tour" and along with that, the idea of purchasing this island in Greece.  Enter Alex Mardas, or as he was nicknamed, "Magic Alex".  Mr. Mardas was apparently introduced to The Beatles via work he did for the Indica Gallery and The Rolling Stones.  He had impressed John Lennon, and he was from Greece and had connections through his father who was associated with the police there.  Alex Mardas would be a perfect guide for The Beatles as they navigated their way through Greece to check up on this idea they had, and so he was given quite a lot of trust.

These two quotes from The Beatles Anthology book sums up their thoughts.  

John Lennon:  "We're all going to live there, perhaps forever, just coming home for visits.  Or it might just be six months a year.  It'll be fantastic, all on our own on this island.  There's some little houses which we'll do up and knock together and live communally."

Derek Taylor:  "We were all going to live together now, in a huge estate.  The four Beatles and Brian would have their network at the centre of the compound:  a dome of glass and iron tracery (not unlike the old Crystal Palace) above the mutual creative/play area, from which arbours and avenues would lead off like spokes from a wheel to the four vast and incredibly beautiful separate living units.  

"In the outer grounds, the houses of the inner clique:  Neil, Mal, Terry and Derek, complete with partners, families and friends.  Norfolk, perhaps; there was a lot of empty land there.  What an idea!

"No thought of wind or rain or flood, and as for cold...there would be no more cold when we were through with the world!  We would set up a chain reaction so strong that nothing could stand in our way.  And why the hell not?  

"'They've tried everything else,' said John realistically.  'Wars, nationalism, fascism, communism, capitalism, nastiness, religion - none of it works.  So why not this?'"

20 July 1967 - It was actually George & Ringo with Pattie Harrison & Neil Aspinall who flew to Athens first.  They met with Alex Mardas and his father and stayed at the family home until the rest of the group could arrive. 

(There appears to be some conflicting information about when John Lennon and Paul McCartney added their contributions to The Rolling Stones' record "We Love You".  I've seen the date of June 14th being used, but also I see it being listed as around this time of July 19th.  

Also there are reports that Paul was involved with the recording session of his "Catswalk" tune when The Chris Barber Band worked on their version, calling it "Catcall" on July 20th.  

In any case it did seem that John & Paul were busy and weren't to leave for Greece themselves until the 22nd or 23rd of July.)

22 July 1967 - John and Cynthia Lennon along with son Julian, Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Pattie Harrison's younger sister Paula Boyd, Mal Evans & Alistair Taylor began their journey to Greece.

There was supposed to be a luxury yacht named the MV Arvi, waiting to take them to look at the islands, but it was delayed due to a storm off Crete, so the entourage all continued to remain at the family home of Magic Alex Mardas.   

23-24 July 1967 - While The Beatles awaited their yacht to take them to their island, they took a little sightseeing trip around Athens countryside.  They went along with Neil & Mal and Paula Boyd wth Alistair Taylor traveling by a Mercedes and two taxis.  The taxi with Paul & Jane Asher and Neil overheated forcing them to walk back towards the village where they had earlier eaten lunch.  

As Mal & Neil reported in "The Beatles Monthly" of that year:  "...we made good use of the extra days in Athens before starting the cruise.  On Sunday we all piled into a convoy of cars -- a big Mercedes and a couple of huge old American taxis!  

"For three hours we drove through the countryside in the blistering hot sunshine.  Suddenly the rest of us realised that the taxi carrying Paul, Jane and Neil was missing.  Apparently the extreme heat had been too much for it.  Thick black smoke poured out as the engine all but caught fire.  So Ringo's taxi turned back to look for them--and found the trio walking happily along the dusty road towards the village we'd stopped at for lunch!"

Mal & Neil continue:  "Everyone spent an hour or so looking round the village, admiring the tiny shops, buying beads, Greek antiques and odd bits of clothing.  Then we were taken to lunch at a lovely house high up in the hills, and while we ate, a guitarist and a clarinet player provided colourful accompaniment with their folk music.  We all tried a bit of Greek dancing on the patio to work off some of that mavellous meal!"

Mal & Neil continue:  "We left the village loaded down with presents.  The girls were given Greek dresses with classical patterns. Julian got a foot-high doll (a Greek soldier) and the boys received long slip-on shirts."

Mal & Neil continue:  "Before going any further we decided it was time we bought something to carry all the gear in.  Obviously we were going to do a lot of shopping during the week!  So everybody picked up brightly-patterned hand-woven shoulder bags and started filling them with beads, old Turkish and Greek jewellery." 

Mal & Neil continue:  "We drove for another hot and sticky hour before coming to rest on a beautiful beach where Paul helped Julian to construct one of the finest sandcastles you ever saw."

25 July 1967 - Mal & Neil continue:  "On the Monday, George and Paul decided to have a quiet day.  They stayed behind and played guitars while the rest of the party went into the shopping centre.  John wanted to buy the local equivalent of a guitar.  A huge crowd of fans and sightseeing tourists gathered round the instrument shop we tramped into.  

"To our surprise, the shop was stocked with a wide range of modern electric equipment - Vox amplifiers and the lot! 'It's just like going into Sound City in London', observed John as we looked around.  But he found the instrument we wanted in the store's antique department!

"Ringo devised a cunning way of by-passing the crowds.  He'd wait until John and the rest of us went into one shop, then he'd sneak quietly away into the one next door while the crowds gathered round John.  

"His scheme came unstuck when he spent a bit too long choosing a pair of sandals.  Forty photographers and umpteen Americans descended upon him.  ('Say, isn't this crazy?  We travel all the way from Chicago and find Ringo Starr in a Greek show shop!')"

A note about the three snapshots above:  With all of the talk of The Beatles being bombarded with photographers during this trip, unfortunately I wasn't able to find many pictures of their adventures.  Some of the best is recorded in that short home movie which was used for the soundtrack to "Baby, Your'e A Rich Man" link above.

The three photos above were lifted directly from this site on the internet at this link:  They were taken by the husband of the lady who manages this blog.  His name is Bob and he was around 18 years old when he happened to capture John & Ringo on film here in Athens.   I sincerely hope they don't mind me linking them here, as due especially to the lack of material from this period, they are invaluable!

26 July 1967 - Ringo decides it's time to get home to wife Maureen.  As reported by Mal & Neil in "The Beatles Monthly" of that year:  "Maureen hadn't been able to join us because the baby was nearly due so Ringo didn't want to be away from her too long."  (Neil Aspinall accompanies him home.)

Mal & Neil continue:  "All the time we were in Greece we had wonderful food.  One evening we stopped for dinner in a small village and sat down at tables under the trees in the square.  Paul, Ringo and Jane decided to test the local cooks by asking for an English meal just for a change.  They had one of the best egg and chip meals they'd ever tasted--garnished (like every Greek dish) with tomatoes in olive oil and lashings of cheese.  The rest of us had delicious kebabs--skewered chunks of lamb beautifully cooked.

"All the while quiet Greek music was pouring out of a little loudspeaker in the tree above our tables.  Suddenly they changed the record and put on "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles.  The owner of the cafe stood at the top of the steps beaming brightly and we all had a good laugh before signing some autographs and heading for home!"

Ringo & Maureen and Zak with baby on the way, at home some time after Ringo's return from being with The Beatles in Greece.   [ca. August 1967]

26 July 1967 -  Mal & Neil continue:  "On Tuesday we set sail in the gleaming white motor yacht Arvi.  It had 24 berths and, apart from the captain, a crew of seven including a chef and two stewards.   The captain had purchased a brand new red ensign to fly on his mast to show he had a party of Englishmen on board.  That evening we gathered up on deck to watch the sun setting over the islands.   What a pity Ringo and Neil missed that!  It was a fantastic sight.  Still, the rest of us took many pictures and our movie cameras whirled away like mad.  

"At two o'clock in the morning we anchored under a full moon.  Beside us was a mighty rock with the Temple of Neptune on top of it.  The pillars were outlined in the moonlight--another unforgettable sight.  

"The days that followed were all swimming and laziness and beautiful sunshine."

27-29 July 1967 - Mal & Neil continue:  "After sunset each night we'd gather together on the top deck and sing until two or three.  George played his ukulele, John got out his Greek quitar and we'd sing strange Hindu chants over and over again for hours on end!"

George Harrison would add to this in "The Beatles Anthology" book:   "It was a great trip.  John and I were on acid all the time, sitting on the front of the ship playing ukuleles.  Greece was on the left; a big island on the right.   The sun was shining and we sang 'Hare Krishna' for hours and hours.  Eventually we landed on a little beach with a village, but as soon as we stepped off the boat it started pouring with rain.  There were storms and lightning, and the only building on the island was a little fisherman's cottage - so we all piled in, 'Scuse us, squire.  You don't mind if we come and shelter in your cottage, do you?'

The island was covered with big pebbles, but Alex (Mardas) said, 'It doesn't matter.  We'll have the military come and lift them all off and carry them away.'"

What I never knew was that apparently, The Beatles really did attempt to purchase that island!   According to The Beatles bought "special export dollars before applying to the Greek government for permission to spend them.  Alistair Taylor eventually got clearance for the purchase of the island(s), but by that time the group had moved on.  The £90,000-worth of dollars was sold back to the government, and the value had risen giving The Beatles a £11,400 profit on the unrealised deal."

"It was the only time The Beatles ever made any money on a business venture," said George adding, " ...we got back on the boat and sailed away, and never thought about the island again."

Paul would also say, "...nothing came of that, because we went out there and thought, we've done it now.  That was it for a couple of weeks.  Great, wasn't it?  Now we don't need it.  Having been out there, I don't think we needed to go back.  Probably the best way to not buy a Greek island is to go out there for a bit.

"It's a good job we didn't do it, because anyone who tried those ideas realised eventually there would always be arguments, there would always be who has to do the washing-up and whose turn it is to clean out the latrines.  I don't think any of us were thinking of that."

30-31 July 1967 - Mal & Neil conclude their "Beatles Monthly" article with, "We came home to London in two relays.  George and Pattie wanted to go a little early--to pack again and leave for California--so Mal flew home with them on the following Sunday.  Then on Monday, Paul, Jane, John, Cyn, Julian, Paula (Boyd) and Alexis (Mardas) headed for London.  Alexis just about had time to pack a fresh set of clothes in time to leave for Los Angeles on the Tuesday with George, Pattie and Neil!"

1 August 1967 - George & Pattie Harrison, Alex Mardas & Neil Aspinall fly into Los Angeles from London for a visit to America.  One reason was to visit Pattie's younger sister, Jenny Boyd, who was thinking of relocating from San Francisco to England.   The Harrisons stayed at a private home they rented in Hollywood which was in Beverly Hills on a street called Blue Jay Way.  While Pattie called her sister Jenny, George got in contact with old friend Derek Taylor.  (Paul had spent time with Derek earlier in the year when he visited the U.S..)

Although George did his best to let Derek know precisely where they were staying, directions were complicated and it took some time for Derek to find his way there.  George was suffering from jet-lag, yet he still did not want to go to sleep until Derek arrived, so in the meantime during his wait he started working on a song, which would be called "Blue Jay Way".

2 August 1967 - Although Jenny Boyd may have been one reason to visit California, George also spent quite a lot of time with Ravi Shankar.  This day they all went off to see Ravi Shankar's Music School (which apparently had just been opened up in May of 1967) and spent time watching him teach a class of "about 50 people", which Neal Aspinall described in that year's "Beatles Monthly" as a "very mixed crowd of people between the ages of about 16 and 30, all keen students of Indian music." 

3 August 1967 - As Pattie Harrison went sightseeing with her sister Jenny, now down from San Francisco, George, Neil & Alex Mardas returned once more to Ravi Shankar's Music School where a press conference was held to promote Ravi's concert that was to be at the Hollywood Bowl the next evening.

Neal Aspinall continues:  "All the local radio and press people knew George was about and, of course, they swooped on him with all sorts of questions ('What do you think of LSD?' ... 'Where are you staying, George?') during the conference.  In the afternoon George and I went to a shop called Sidereal Time.  There and elsewhere we picked up a load of shirts and things plus some moccasin-type boots and groovy posters.  In the evening we heard Ravi give a lecture on the history of Indian music and then went over to a Mamas and Papas recording session with Derek Taylor.  

"One of the session men there had this fantastic new guitar--a first prototype and something quite special.  I daren't tell you what's so special about it because I've just arranged to have a couple of them made (one will be a bass guitar version) for the Beatles and it's all supposed to be very secret!  Anyway, it was now the middle of the night but George couldn't resist having a go on this sshh-you-don't-know-what guitar."

4 August 1967 - George and company attend the Ravi Shankar '4-hour' concert at the Hollywood Bowl.   

Neil Aspinall continues:  "With him were a lot of his finest students, a marvelous night of music.  First we watched Bismillah Khan and party with Bismillah playing an Indian flute called a shehnai.  Whatever he played the rest of the party--students--would try to follow until his music got so advanced that they had to leave it to him!

"Then came a South Indian drummer playing an instrument known as a mridangam, a sort of old classical drum, which you bang at both ends.  

"Then came Ali Akbar Khan and his son Ashish playing modern little drums they call sarods, each almost 'talking' to the other via his drum.

"Finally, before Ravi himself, came the tabla player and teacher Alla Rahka, Ravi's own drummer, who stayed on stage to accompany Ravi's sitar for the final hour of the programme. I hope I've got all my spellings O.K.--I checked them all over with George when I was writing up this diary...."

5 August 1967 -  On this day the entourage went to a recording studio opposite Ravi's school to watch Alla Rahka and a South Indian drummer record a duet "which would fill one whole side of an LP disc."

Neil Aspinall continues:  "A South Indian singer--using his voice just like an instrument--is doing the whole of the second side of the LP.

"Later in the day we saw Derek, his wife and his great bunch of kids.  Went with them all to the downtown area of Los Angeles to visit Alvera Street, a very historic place...complete with some of California's very earliest brick-built houses.  

"Bands were playing and there were lots of little stalls selling souvenirs made in Hong Kong!  We had a Mexican meal in one of the funny little restaurants in Alvera Street and bought a batch of wonderful Mexican pictures, paintings done on velvet.   George left Alex and myself buying colourful waistcoats while he trotted over to Ravi's place to collect a sitar he was buying."

6 August 1967 - Neil Aspinall continues:  "George went off early on his own to see Ashish and talk about the LP sleeve notes (that George was to write for the LP) and everything.  So later on when the rest of us set off for Disneyland, George stayed behind.  We didn't stay at Disneyland all that long but it's a fantastic place.  We visited 'Tomorrowland', 'Fantasyland' and a bit of 'Frontierland'.  In the evening we all went over to Ravi's house."

7 August 1967 - George with Jenny Boyd

7 August 1967 - George with wife, Pattie

7 August 1967 -  Neil Aspinall would explain in "The Beatles Monthly" in 1967:  "Today we went up to San Francisco and walked around Haight-Ashbury.  Derek came with us.  It got a bit bad after a time.  There was this ridiculous procession of people following George as if he was the New Pied Piper.  But he didn't lead them to the river."

Neil would say more years later in "The Beatles Anthology":  "Haight-Ashbury is the meeting of two streets in a part of San Francisco.  We'd heard all the rumours about the hippies and the way people were behaving there, so we just decided to drop in."

George Harrison adds:  "We went up to San Francisco in a Lear jet.   Derek took us to visit a disc jockey, and we went straight from the airport to the radio station in a limo.  The DJ gave us some concoction and then we were off to Haight-Ashbury.  

"I went there expecting it to be a brilliant place, with groovy gypsy people making works of art and paintings and carvings in little workshops.  But it was full of horrible spotty drop-out kids on drugs, and it turned me right off the whole scene.  I could only describe it as being like the Bowery; a lot of bums and drop-outs; many of them very young kids who'd dropped acid and come from all over America to this mecca of LSD."

George continues:  "We walked down the street, and I was being treated like the Messiah.  The Beatles were pretty big, and for one of them to be there was a big event.  I became very afraid, because the concoction that the DJ had given me was having an effect.  

"I could see all the spotty youths, but I was seeing them from a twisted angle.  It was like the manifestation of a scene from an Hieronymus Bosch painting, getting bigger and bigger, fish with heads, faces like vacuum cleaners coming out of shop doorways...  They were handing me things--like a big Indian pipe with feathers on it, and books and incense--and trying to give me drugs. 

"I remember saying to one guy, 'No thanks, I don't want it.' And then I heard his whining voice saying, 'Hey, man--you put me down.'  It was terrible.  We walked quicker and quicker through the park and in the end we jumped in the limo, said, 'Let's get out of here,' and drove back to the airport."

Neil Aspinall from "The Beatles Monthly" [1967]:  "Anyway it was a good day, a good scene to see with things we were glad about and things we were sorry about (such as those beggars sitting in the street conning money out of tourists) and it was the first time we'd really looked at San Francisco as a place although we'd been before for Beatles concerts."

Neil Aspinall from "The Beatles Anthology" [2000]:  "We were walking past bikers and hippies, and there were arguments going on.  We got to the park and sat on the grass.  Someone said, 'That's George Harrison,' and a crowd started to build.  Somebody came to George and handed him a guitar and said, 'Will you play us a tune?' and he played a little bit.  Suddenly there were too many people and we thought, 'Hey we'd better get out of here.'"

Neil Aspinall continues:  "They started to close in, and we realised we had about a mile to go to get back to the limo.  We started off at a slow walk, but soon we looked round and there were a thousand people behind us, saying, 'Give us an autograph,' and patting us on the back.  We walked a bit faster, until in the end we were running for our lives.

"We realised that maybe the drug vibe had lowered our guard, and we'd put ourselves in a situation that we'd always avoided.  We'd always stayed in hotel rooms and had limos and police escorts, and the crowds had been kept back.  Now we'd almost deliberately put ourselves in the middle of a situation where a crowd had developed, and there were just six of us (including two women).  We made it OK.  They were a happy bunch of souls, and there was no harm intended, but when there's a lot of people you can get hurt in the crush."

Derek Taylor:  "Photographs tell the story of this great visit by one of the Fab Pied Pipers, it is one of the best-known moments in The Great Novel.  The crowds that gathered, well-meaning though they were, pressed upon the English visitors and made life difficult and a little dangerous.  George didn't enjoy Haight-Ashbury, yet it was right and inevitable that one of Them should have been there in those times."

George Harrison:  "It certainly showed me what was really happening in the drug culture.  It wasn't what I'd thought--spiritual awakenings and being artistic--it was like alcoholism, like any addiction.

"The kids at Height-Ashbury had left school and dossed out there, and instead of drinking alcohol they were on all kinds of drugs.

"That was the turning-point for me--that's when I went right off the whole drug cult and stopped taking the dreaded lysergic acid.  People were making concoctions that were really wicked -- ten times stronger than LSD.  STP was one; it took its name from the fuel additive used in Indy-car racing.  Mama Cass Elliot phoned us up and said, 'Watch out, there's this new one going round called STP.'  I never took it.  They concocted weird mixtures and the people in Haight-Ashbury got really fucked-up.  It made me realise, 'This is not it.'  And that's when I really went for meditation."

Apparently that wasn't the end of their strange day, for when the entourage boarded their Lear jet to leave San Francisco, at one point something went wrong with the plane and it went into a stall.

Neil Aspinall recalls:  "We went back by Lear jet.  At the time, I was flying in more sense than one, and suddenly I saw all these red lights coming on in the cockpit.  We had taken off like a rocket, and then we started coming down just as fast, with all the warning lights flashing....  It was quite frightening..."

George Harrison:  "I was sitting right behind the pilots... ...we hadn't got very high before we went into a steep turn and the plane made a lurch and dropped.  The whole dashboard lit up saying 'UNSAFE' right across it.  I thought, 'Well, that's it.'  Alex was chanting, 'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,' and I was saying, 'Om, Christ, Om...'

"Somehow it recovered itself, and we flew down to Monterey and stopped there.  We went to the beach and became calm again."

8 August 1967 - Wrapping up their trip in "The Beatles Monthly", Neil concluded:  "Packing and getting ready for tonight's flight home.  Four little fans called at the house but they were O.K. and there wasn't any trouble and George enjoyed seeing them."

They all got safely home by August 9, 1967.

11 August 1967 - A photographic session was held with The Beatles and photographer Robert Avedon in London.  Some of the portraits were adorned with psychedelic effects and sold as posters. 

The Beatles' wives and girlfriend in 1967.  
Pattie Harrison, Cynthia Lennon, Maureen Starkey & Jane Asher

19 August 1967 - Ringo visits Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Hammersmith, London, to check in on his wife, Maureen and the birth of their second son, Jason Starkey.  The photos below were probably taken at a later date.  

22-23 August 1967 - The Beatles return to the studio!  (Above photo unrelated.)  It wasn't Abbey Road, however, it was at Chappell Recording Studios (where Paul had been earlier recording his "Catswalk" with The Chris Barber Band in July) which was an independent studio in central London.  

The engineer at Chappell, John Timperley recalls they couldn't record at Abbey Road because it was booked these evenings adding that "...George Martin had been using our studio for quite a few of his other artistes and I had worked with him at Olympic and at IBC in the (early days)."  

The song the group tackled these two days was Paul's "Your Mother Should Know" which although it was remade later at Abbey Road, this version was the one that was released on record.   They did eight takes on this day and on the 23rd they worked on overdubs and reduction mixes of the track.  

Also, on the 23rd, manager Brian Epstein made a visit to the session and it would be the last time he and his beloved boys would be together.  

Here is some more information about "Your Mother Should Know".  Apparently there was a rough mix done which came from these sessions and an acetate was made, which you can hear by downloading a copy from this link: "Your Mother Should Know" [Rough Acetate Mix]

24 August 1967 - The Beatles meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for the first time.  Ringo was unable to attend as he was still watching over wife Maureen and newborn child Jason.

Maharishi was having a lecture at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, London.  It all came about as a natural progression with George and Pattie first becoming interested in Eastern philosophy during their stay in India at the end of 1966.  Pattie Harrison had already attended a lecture on Transcendental Meditation and it most likely didn't take much for George to be persuaded to see the Maharishi's lecture on this day.

Another story, as told by George in the Beatles Anthology book, says he'd been talking to his friend David Wynne about yogis and it was through him that George learned of the Maharishi's lecture.

As mentioned earlier, George had an awakening of sorts when he saw the road that taking drugs was leading so many while he was in San Francisco.  He was looking for a new direction and the others, Paul, John & Ringo were eager to follow along with him.

Paul recalls in The Beatles Anthology:  "We'd seen Maharishi up North when we were kids.  He was on the telly every few years on Granada's People and Places programme, the local current-affairs show.  We'd all say, 'Hey, did you see that crazy guy last night?'  So we knew all about him; he was the giggly little guy going round the globe seven times to heal the world (and this was his third spin)."

John: "We thought, 'What a nice man,' and we were looking for that.  I mean, everyone's looking for it, but we were all looking for it that day.  We met him and saw a good thing and went along with it.  Nice trip, thank you very much."

Ringo:  "I came home and put on the answerphone, and there was a message from John; 'Oh man, we've seen this guy, and we're all going to Whales.  You've got to come."  The next message was from George, saying, 'Wow, man--we've seen him.  Maharishi's great!  We're all going to Wales on Saturday, and you've got to come.'"

Apparently there was a 10 day seminar being sponsored by Maharishi within the next couple of days up in Bangor, Wales and The Beatles jumped on the opportunity.  Evidence of this hasty twist in the schedule is found on the books of De Lane Lea London studios as they had booked a recording session for August the 25th.  EMI picked up the £45 cancellation fee.

25 August 1967 - In the rush to get to the train station, Cynthia Lennon gets left behind, barred by huge policeman, with John yelling from the train, "Tell him you're with us!  Tell him to let you on!"

The entourage of all four Beatles, Cynthia Lennon, Pattie Harrison, Jenny Boyd, Alexis Mardas along with Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull took the hastily scheduled trip to Bangor, Wales on this day for their 10 day conference on Transcendental Meditation.

Pattie, George and Ringo were coming up in John and Cynthia's car and were running late.  As they got there John ran ahead with the others leaving Cynthia behind with the luggage.

Although Cynthia tried her best as she tells it, "It was too late.  The train was already pulling away from the platform and I was left standing with our bags, tears pouring down my cheeks.  It was horribly embarrassing. Reporters were crowding around me, flashbulbs were popping and I felt like a complete fool."

Peter Brown and Neil Aspinall were with her and Neil was happy to have access to a car and didn't want to take the train along with them.  He'd planned on spending time with friends in north Wales and offered to drive Cynthia to Bangor.

Although Peter and Neil did their best to console Cynthia, as she stated, "...what neither he nor anyone else knew was that my tears were not simply about the missed train.  I was crying because the incident seemed symbolic of what was happening to my marriage.  John was on the train, speeding into the future, and I was left behind."

George Harrison:  "Nobody I know in the Christian religions seems to have a deep enough understanding of the science of God to be able to translate it into human terms.  Church leaders are purveying a kind of nonsense because they don't really understand it themselves.  So they blind you with ignorance, like a government does, as if the power of the Church has become reason enough for you not to question anything it says.  It's like 'You don't know anything about Christ and God because we're the ones who own the franchise.'"

Ringo Starr remembers:  "I was really impressed with the Maharishi.  I was impressed because he was laughing all the time.  That really struck home the first time I saw him; this man is really happy and he's having a great time in life.  So we listened to his lectures, we started meditating and we were given our mantras.  It was another point of view.  For the first time, we were getting into Eastern philosophies - and that was another breakthrough."

Due to the enormous public interest in what The Beatles were doing with the Maharishi, it was suggested that a press conference be held.  I've come across photographs that suggest this happened more than once.  The photo shown above must have occurred upon their arrival in Bangor on the 25th of August.

George Harrison:  "We go through life being pulled by our senses and our ego, seeking new experiences, because without experience we can't get knowledge, and without knowledge we can't gain liberation.  But along the way we become entwined with ignorance and darkness because of our ego and our association with material energy.  So, although we are made of God, we can't reflect God because of all the pollution that's gathering along the way; and it's such an epic battle to get all of that out of your system."

26 August 1967 - Breaking their fast in Bangor.

John Lennon remembers:  "What he says about life and the universe is the same message that Jesus, Buddha and Krishna and all the big boys were putting over.  If you ask Maharishi for a few laws for living by, they'd be the same a Christianity.  Christianity is the answer as well; it's the same thing.  All the religions are all the same, it's just a matter of people opening their minds up.  Buddha was a groove, Jesus was all right (but Maharishi doesn't do miracles for a kick-off.)  I don't know how divine or how superhuman he is.  He was born quite ordinary, but he's working at it."

John Lennon:  "On any trips - whether they're chemical or anything - things that you discover are self-awareness; all the things that you've already known.  Nobody's telling you anything new.  A scientist doesn't discover anything new, he just tells you what's already there.  Nobody can tell you nothing.  Even somebody like a Dylan or a Sartre or somebody like that.  They tell you something that is like a revelation - but it always is something that you know inside that they've just affirmed for you."

26 August 1967 - Sources say there was a press conference on this day and a seminar.

George Harrison recalls:  "I couldn't really speak for the others and their experiences, but, inasmuch as we'd collectively come through from Liverpool and gone through everything together, there was a collective consciousness within The Beatles.  I assumed that whatever one of us felt, the others would not be far out of line with.  So I handed over all the books about yogis to John, Paul and Ringo.  And when we came to meet Maharishi, I got tickets for them all to go but I never really asked them what they thought or were experiencing.

"In Bangor we had a press conference saying that we'd given up drugs.  It wasn't really because of Maharishi.  It came out of my desire to further the experience of meditation.  I was doing yoga exercises anyway in order to learn how to play the sitar.  I got a little bit down the line, and then Maharishi came along at the time I wanted to try meditation."

27 August 1967

This is the same photo as above, but a little larger, although cropped tighter.

John Lennon recalls:  "If we'd met Maharishi before we had taken LSD, we wouldn't have needed to take it.  We'd dropped drugs before the meditation thing.  George mentioned he was dropping out of it, and I said, 'Well, it's not doing me any harm.  I'll carry on.'  But I suddenly thought; 'I've seen all that scene.  There's no point, and [what] if it does do anything to your chemistry or brains?'   Then someone wrote to me and said that whether you like it or not, whether you have no ill effects, something happens up there.  So I decided that if I ever did meet someone who could tell me the answer, I'd have nothing left to do it with.

"We don't regret having taken LSD.  It was a stepping-stone.  But now we should be able to experience things at first hand, instead of artificially with a wrong stepping-stone like drugs."

George Harrison remembers:  "To get really high, you have to do it straight.  I want to get high, and you can't get high on LSD.  You can take it and take it as many times as you like, but you get to a point what you can't get any further unless you stop taking it."


Paul McCartney upon learning of the death of Brian Epstein:  "I can't find words to pay tribute to him.  It is just that he was lovable, and it is those lovable things we think about now.

"This is a terrible shock.  I am terribly upset."

27 August 1967 - The news of Brian Epstein's death reaches The Beatles.  Paul was the first to leave and head back to London, but John, George & Ringo stayed behind and spoke briefly to the press about their manager's passing.

Ringo:  "We loved Brian.  He was such a generous man.  We owe so much to him.  We have come a long way with Brian along the same road."

George:  "He dedicated so much of his life to The Beatles.  We liked and loved him.  He was one of us.  There is no such thing as death.  It is a comfort to us all to know that he is OK."

Ringo:  "Our friend is gone.  It was more 'our friend' than anything else.  Brian was a friend of ours, and we were left behind.  After we arrived there with hope and flowers - now this.  And then we all left -- real slow."

Paul:  "We were all gutted about him dying.  I recall John being as shocked as all of us.  Just gutted.  It was sheer shock because he was one of the people we'd known longest; he was a huge confidant of ours and we knew him very well.  When anyone dies like that there is a huge shock of them being wrenched out of the picture, when you think, 'I'm not going to see him any more.'  I loved the guy."

John:  "We loved him and he was one of us.  We all feel very sad, but it's controlled grief and controlled emotion.  As soon as I find myself feeling depressed, I think of something nice about him. But you can't hide the hurt -- I went to the phone book and saw his name and it hit me a few minutes ago.

"It hurts when someone close dies, and Brian was very close.  We've all been through that feeling of wanting a good cry.  But it wouldn't get us anywhere, would it?

"Well,  Brian is just passing into the next phase.  His spirit is still around, and will always be.  It's a physical memory we have of him, and as men we will build on that memory.  It's a loss of genius, but other geniuses' bodies have died as well, and the world still gains from their spirits."

Paul:  "Brian would be really happy to hear how much we loved him."

John:  "Brian had died only in body, and his spirit will always be working with us.  He power and force were everything, and his power and his force will linger on.  When we were on the right track he knew it, and when we were on the wrong track he told us so -- and he was usually right.   But anyway, he isn't really dead."

One of the drugs we know Brian was taking was sleeping pills.  Even today there are warnings about how taking these pills can cause an accumulation of poison within the human system which can eventually lead to death.  Brian's death was an unfortunate accident, but a public reminder of how easy a gamble it can become when taking something which your belief system soon tells you is okay and is there to help you when it is not.

31 August 1967 - Maharishi comes to London to spend time with The Beatles and possibly try to comfort them during their time of loss.

5 September 1967 - At the beginning of the month The Beatles re-grouped at Paul's home to discuss their future.  For the time being, it was decided that going back to work would be the best remedy and it must have been quite a happy challenge for them to tackle John's next piece of music, "I Am The Walrus".

One of the things that helped contribute to the far-out approach to "I Am The Walrus" was John learning that Beatles' songs were being analyzed by students of the Quarry Bank School.   With this knowledge, an amused John became motivated to write in such a way as to really confuse his listeners.  He also felt that, "Dylan got away with murder at times and he'd decided 'I can write this crap too.'"

Here is more information about "I Am The Walrus" (taken from Steve Turner's "A Hard Day's Write")

George Martin called "I Am The Walrus" organised chaos, of which in this case he would be proud of.  Of the 16 takes made of the track on this day, five were complete.  The first three were lost as the tape was re-wound and re-used until apparently take four.   The rhythm track included bass guitar, lead guitar, electric piano and drums, and an overdub of mellotron.

The next evening saw a reduction copy made of the track to which Paul and Ringo added more bass guitar and drums along with John's vocal. This was then subjected to rough mono mixes, the only complete mix being the fourth and from that acetate discs were cut.

The Beatles Anthology 2 CD set has a copy of what is called take 16 of "I Am The Walrus" in stereo on it.  You can find the slightly different sounding (with alternative overdubs) mono mix (with a longer fade-out) of the acetate disc at this link.  In addition to that, I've added the complete take 9 (with a few other incomplete takes) of the rhythm track recording.  The sound of these is not perfect, but still enjoyable for 'Walrus' fans:  "I Am The Walrus" [Take 7-9, 17 Acetate]

6 September 1967 - A full evening's work was devoted to "I Am The Walrus", but Paul found time to put down a two-track demo of his next contribution, "The Fool On The Hill".   You can find that demo on The Beatles Anthology 2 CD set.

From "A Hard Day's Write" by Steve Turner, a very cool story relating to "The Fool On The Hill".

7 September 1967 - The previous evening also saw take one of the rhythm track for George's "Blue Jay Way" laid down which included the Hammond organ.  This night that take went through a couple of tape reduction mixes for more overdubbing.  As Mark Lewisohn would state in his "The Beatles: Recording Sessions" anyone interested in listening to what recording techniques could be achieved in 1967 will find this track fascinating.  "The song manages to capture the feel of the fog very well, with its swirling organ parts and extensive use of ADT - at its very widest use - to create a phasing effect of almost two voices."

I've come across an early mix of "Blue Jay Way" which sounds very much like the finished product, but for enthusiasts that might find it interesting.  It is missing the cello parts in particular.  You can find this mono track at this link:   "Blue Jay Way" [Early Mono Mix]

More information about "Blue Jay Way" above.

8 September 1967 - As mentioned earlier, it was known The Beatles would want to have some kind of instrumental, or incidental, music for the soundtrack to their Television Special, "Magical Mystery Tour", and I've wondered if some of their earlier recording sessions that didn't really produce anything of use, were attempts to this end.  

In any case, "Flying" or as it was also known for the longest time, "Aerial Tour Instrumental" was the recording that not only made it in the film, but the only piece of its kind to make it on record.  It was also the only Beatles' instrumental they ever officially released and being credited to all four of them.

There was the 'Harrison/Lennon' composition, "Cry For A Shadow" which goes back to 1961 for the sessions in which they backed up Tony Sheridan.  That was released without their approval long ago through a West Germany record label.  

They also did "12-Bar Original" during the Rubber Soul sessions in 1965, but that remained unreleased until The Beatles Anthology 2 CD set in 1996.  

Today six takes were done of "Flying", a reduction mix and some overdubs onto take 8 which was mixed down to mono in four tries.  It was on the sixth take in which three different organs were recorded and played backwards along with the basic rhythm track of drums, guitar and another organ.  Later a mellotron by John was added along with 'voice' contributions from all four Beatles.

As Mark Lewisohn would mention in his book, "The Beatles: Recording Sessions" this version of the track differs from the finished product in that there are more strange sounds included along with "a jazzy, saxophone recording at the end...seemingly copied straight from an unidentifiable modern jazz record!"

Along with that, some time ago I came across another version of "Flying" which sounded much closer to the what was released on record, however with a longer fade out.  In addition to that I found  four separate pieces of music that all sound like they come from the same session, each one fading in and fading out to silence.  My guess is it comes from a later recording session on September 28, 1967, when they did more work on "Flying", and as Mark Lewisohn points out the end product became over 9-1/2 minutes long.  (I recognize some of it used as background music in the film.)

What I did was overlap the various pieces so the fades would all be taken out and I believe I have a nice continuous track which still clocks in at almost 8-1/2 minutes.  To me it seems more interesting without the breaks.  You can judge for yourself in downloading both (mono) recordings from this link:  "Flying / Aerial Tour Instrumental" [Two Versions]

Since this was a Friday, The Beatles had a weekend to enjoy before filming would begin next Monday on their new Television special.

11-15 September 1967 -  The first of two 'intensive' weeks of shooting for "Magical Mystery Tour".  With Paul's home nearby, the coach was set to pick him and the 33 extras (or non-crew passengers made of up relatives and friends of relatives) up at Allsop Place in central London.  This was a familiar start for Paul as the 'Pop package tours' of the early 60s would usually begin at this location.  This trip was heading somewhere out in 'the West Country'.

The coach itself was still being decorated so it was 2 hours late.  They eventually arrived at Virginia Water, Surrey, to pick up John, George and Ringo.   Lunch was at the Pied Piper restaurant in Winchester Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire.   The evening was spent at the Royal Hotel in The Den, Teignmouth, Devon, 183 miles from London.   (Apparently some 'ad-lib' scenes were shot on this day, but it's not clear to me which ones or if they were actually used in the film.)

The coach gets 'stuck' on a bridge!

The boys doing their best to appease the photographers.

12 September 1967 - The next morning they headed for the Dartmoor village of Widecombe in the Moor because an annual fair was being held and it was thought some good footage could be picked up there.  In taking an alternative route to avoid traffic problems, however, driver Alf Manders found he couldn't maneuver a narrow bridge on a sharp bend.  The halted coach had to back up a half-mile before it was able to turn around causing headaches for themselves and their fellow drivers.

Abandoning the idea of going to the fair, the entourage headed for Plymouth and the Grand Hotel for lunch, after which the group posed for photos while sitting on the Hoe.

Then it was on to the Cornish resort of Newquay with a first stop in Liskeard (but no filming was done here) and then onto Bodmin where filming commenced first outside West End Dairy in Higher Bore Street (but that sequence was deleted) and then in Paull Road.  This was where Jolly Jimmy Johnson, The Courier welcomes everyone aboard the bus.

In Newquay they stayed at the Atlantic Hotel in Dane Road where they decided to make a base for themselves and stayed there the next three nights.

13 September 1967 - At Watergate Bay, actors Jessie Robbins and Ivor Cutler finally get things moving with a tender sequence that was filmed of the two of them on the beach.  Strangely enough, this was cut from the initial broadcast of "Magical Mystery Tour" and wouldn't be seen until a 1979 repeat.

John directing a sequence with Nat Jackley first at the Atlantic Hotel and then up on the cliffs of Holywell.

13 September 1967 - Late morning the coach with The Beatles and some of the actors set out for nearby Watergate Bay.   John, Paul, George and Ringo are filmed looking through a telescope (not used in the final film.)  Aunt Jessie (Jessie Robbins) and Mr. Buster Bloodvessel (Ivor Cutler) are filmed on Tregurrian Beach.  (Apparently that sequence was cut for the initial showing of the film on BBC Television.  It wasn't until 1979 when the BBC showed the film again was it restored.)

Returning to the Atlantic Hotel, The Beatles and cameramen split into two groups with John and George first staying at the hotel.  John directed a sequence (not used) with Happy Nat The Rubber Man (Nat Jackley) chasing young women around the hotel pool.  Then John went on to film in Holywell (south of Newquay).

George remained at the Atlantic Hotel during the afternoon and was interviewed by Miranda Ward  for the radio show "Scene And Heard".  The recordings were split into two parts and broadcast by the BBC on September 30 & October 7, 1967.

Paul and Ringo took the coach and most of the passengers back to Watergate Bay, stopping to film in Porth.  En route to Porth Aunt Jessie and Ringo were filmed having a mock argument.  In Porth, Paul was filmed on the beach with Little George The Photographer (George Claydon).

14 September 1967 - Interviewer Miranda Ward would stay on this day managing to get some time with Ringo, but not much of that was broadcast on "Scene and Heard".   

The Beatles and passengers would find a private field not far from Newquay where they would shoot a sequence with George, wearing an oversized blue jacket meditating in a corn field (which was not included in the finished film) and another sequence with everyone entering a tiny tent (which would lead to a small theatre in the film through editing 'magic').

A late lunch was held at the Atlantic Hotel with the cast seated at a huge T-shaped table and it was filmed but not used.  

Although this sequence was not used in the film, it was not only mentioned in the comic strip section of the EP/LP soundtrack package, a photograph was included as well.

From the "Magical Mystery Tour" EP/LP comic strip synopsis of the film:  14.  In no time at all everybody is ready for lunch and the bus draws up beside a small cafe.  Jolly Jimmy leads the way and all the people follow eagerly because they're HUNGRY!  'WHAT A MARVELLOUS LUNCH!" says everyone.  AND IT IS!

From the "Magical Mystery Tour" EP/LP comic strip synopsis of the film:  15.  There is Chicken Soup followed by Roast Beef and Carrots with Thick Brown Gravy to go over the Potatoes!  A small band plays Jolly Tunes in the corner of the room.   Nobody is enjoying himself more than HAPPY NAT.

From the "Magical Mystery Tour" EP/LP comic strip synopsis of the film:  16.  "If I eat any more" says HAPPY NAT "I SHALL FALL ASLEEP!"  "Then you'll MISS ALL THE MAGIC!" warns Little Nicola.  While the waiters scurry away to get the pudding, the band plays a very exciting Spanish Dance.

From the "Magical Mystery Tour" EP/LP comic strip synopsis of the film:  17.  "I'm no Spanish Dancer but I certainly know my onions!" laughs HAPPY NAT.  Up he gets from the table and becomes a FAMOUS SPANISH BULLFIGHTER.  After all that eating and all that dancing no wonder Happy Nat nods off!

From the "Magical Mystery Tour" EP/LP comic strip synopsis of the film:  18.  So while the others tuck into Strawberry Ice Cream of Aunt Mary's Apple Pie, HAPPY NAT has a HAPPY DREAM . . . all about his adventures with a bunch of pretty girls beside the seaside!

NOTE:  The sequence with Happy Nat and the pretty girls was filmed the previous day by John Lennon.  Perhaps since John would also direct Aunt Jessie's dream later it was decided one dream sequence in the film was enough.  (Then again, this entire dining room sequence was not used.)

From the "Magical Mystery Tour" EP/LP comic strip synopsis of the film: 19. The sound of AUNTIE JESSIE PLAYING THE DRUMS brings Happy Nat's delicious dream to an abrupt end!  Yes, there she is SITTING WITH THE BAND--banging away and singing at the top of her voice!!

20.  "I suppose it runs in the family" suggests Happy Nat.  "I never knew she had it in her" replies Ringo.  Soon the bus is on its way again and everyone congratulates Auntie Jessie because THEY didn't know she had it in her!

Later in the evening, Paul, Ringo, Neil Aspinall and others wound up at a pub in the nearby town of Perranporth meeting up with friend Spencer Davis (of the Spencer Davis Group).  Paul would lead a late night sing-song around the pub piano until 2am in the morning.  (What a shame cameras weren't rolling then!)

15 September 1967 - After breakfast at the Atlantic Hotel, the cast filmed a brief scene with all of them in front of the coach and hotel cheering and waving at the camera. Then it was back to London with filming along the way.

15 September 1967 - The first stop was at lunchtime at the James and Amy Smedley chip shop in Roman Road, Taunton, Somerset where The Beatles and passengers were filmed behind the counter ready to be served and other shots within the shop, all of which was not used in the film.  

Other footage shot but not used this day took place in a country pub (location not known)  and with accordionist Shirley Evans on board the bus (some of which was used) with the 'beer-swilling' travellers having a sing-a-long.  

That evening John, George and Ringo got off the coach in Virginia Water and Paul stayed on until it reached Allsop Place in central London, completing the first full week of production on "Magical Mystery Tour". 

16 September 1967 - Ken Scott took over for Geoff Emerick on this day a balance engineer for a Beatles session.  Ken remembers:  "By this time the Beatles had taken over things so much that I was more their right-hand-man than George Martin's.  They half knew what they wanted and half didn't know, not until they tried everything.  The only specific thought they seemed to have in their mind was to be different, but how a song might reach that point was down to their own interpretation and by throwing in as many ideas as possible, some of which would work and some wouldn't."

Today was a return to the recording Studio Three at Abbey Road to re-make "Your Mother Should Know".  Eleven takes were made this day called Takes 20-30 with a more 'heavy' sound with Ringo on snare drum, cymbals along with bongos, a harmonium and jangle piano.  Eventually none of this would be heard until "The Beatles Anthology 2" CD set in 1996 as The Beatles would decide to go back to the original recording for this 1967 release.  

An early demo mono mix was made of "Blue Jay Way" as well, and that, along with "I Am The Walrus", was taken away by Gavrik Losey, assistant to "Magical Mystery Tour" producer Denis O' Dell, to be used for miming purposes in the film. 

18 September 1967 - A special day of filming for "Magical Mystery Tour" as it was entirely devoted to location work at the Soho striptease club Raymond Revuebar, Walker's Court, London.  The Beatles and other male passengers played audience to Jan Carson going topless to the music of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band performing "Death Cab For Cutie". 

The Beatles (and roadie Mal Evans) are revealed as magicians 'pulling the strings' behind this "Magical Mystery Tour".

19 - 24 September 1967 - Six days were set aside for filming at the West Malling Air Station, Maidstone, Kent as no other stage was available at such short notice.  This area was used as a US Air Force base during WWII which accounts for the (32) concrete walls which were built to absorb the enemy bombs impact protecting the US planes.  The Beatles began production at 9am each day staying overnight in a nearby hotel.  

Here they filmed the "magicians' laboratory" sequence, "Aunt Jessie's Dream" sequence and George's "Blue Jay Way" performance.

Having come up with a more ambitious dream sequence for Aunt Jessie than he did for Happy Nat, John Lennon produces this contribution to "Magical Mystery Tour".

Accordionist Shirley Evans, who helped raise spirits on the Magical Mystery coach, lends a hand to John Lennon's dream sequence for Aunt Jessie.

Faithful friend, Mal Evans, willing to go at any lengths to please his boys.

George 'performs' "Blue Jay Way".

I was always curious as to what exactly was coming up behind George.  I should have known, it's just the bus arrived to pick him up!

22 September 1967 - High Street, West Malling, Maidstone, Kent - Ringo is filmed entering a shop called Town Newsagency at 90 Hight St. and buying tickets from John for the Mystery Tour.

Also during this time, actor Victor Spinetti jumps in to help The Beatles along with their film and winds up in a field yelling orders to a papier-mâché cow!

The marathon sequence was filmed during these days with all the winners (everyone was a winner) being photographed by George Claydon.

The magnificent sequence for "I Am The Walrus" was also filmed during this week.

24 September 1967 -  Time for the 'big production' number for "Your Mother Should Know" on this day, when a huge ballroom set was erected in the hangar for the finale.  160 members of Peggy Spencer's formation-dancing team supported the 4 Beatles in a sequence that included 24 cadets from the West Malling-based Women's Royal Air Force, along with the rest of the cast.  

After rehearsals, The Beatles performed this routine in white suits and shoes, and for the ending they would put on their magicians costumes and rush forward and past the cameras with the entire crew.

Also on this 'final' day of filming, Ivor Cutler was recorded at a white organ playing the tune "I'm Going In A Field".   This scene was not used in the final film.

Perhaps through Spencer Davis, which Paul and some of the others had met the week before in a pub during shooting of the film, Steve Winwood was encouraged to have himself and his band "Traffic" filmed to their musical tune "Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush".

In the end, however, this footage along with Ivor Cutter's number was not used in the final film.  Besides some music assisting a sing-a-long played by Shirley Evans and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's performance,  there would eventually be no guest stars performing in "Magical Mystery Tour's" final cut.

25 September 1967 - Another big day for The Beatles as, with the bulk of the filming completed, comes the editing process.  A typical day would now start at Norman's Film Productions, Old Compton St., London around 10am - 6pm, where editor Ray Benson would take the roughly 10 hours of footage and eventually edit it down to a 52 minute presentation with supervision by any and all of The Beatles, Paul taking the most interest.

Then in the evenings after 7pm, The Beatles would finish up the soundtrack for the film.  Today "The Fool On The Hill" would receive a proper session with 3 basic rhythm track takes, including harmonicas played by John and George, then a reduction mix so Paul's lead vocal and Ringo's drums could be added.

25 September 1967 - Also on this day, Japan came knocking as their old friend Rumiko Hoshika and Koh Hasebe visited the group while they were rehearsing "The Fool On The Hill".  The pair were even able to get The Beatles to pose for a photo wearing matching checkered sweaters.

25 September 1967 - One more visit this day was made by Yoko Ono, some claiming this to be her first, to a Beatles session.  At least this seems to be the earliest photo of her and John in the studio, anyway.

26 September 1967 - So much work needed to be done yet on "The Fool On The Hill" that it became a virtual re-make.  Today piano was added, along with acoustic guitar, more drums, more acoustic guitar and bass guitar, and a fresh lead vocal.  (Producer George Martin was not available, so engineer Ken Scott took on the added duties.)

Another point of interest on this day was the approval of the complete filming schedule for the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" TV special, as if "Magical Mystery Tour" wasn't enough! Peacock Productions Ltd, which put the schedule together, detailed a £34,000 budget, with principal photography to take place between October 21st -- November 21st, and a final running length of 52 minutes, just like "Magical Mystery Tour".  Over 19 minutes of that would be devoted to "A Day In The Life".   It was to be shot in color, with a screenplay written by Ian Dallas, directed by Keith Green, co-produced by Vic Singh and Tommy Weber, employing two cameramen (including Aubrey Dewar who shot "Magical Mystery Tour") and employ 115 extras (including 24 children, 24 office workers, 12 'rockers' on motor-bikes, 12 'Model Rita Maids', 8 morris dancers, 1 milkman, 1 meditator, 1 'loon' and 1 Arab sheik) all at a cost of £2200.

27 September 1967 - Today a return to "I Am The Walrus" with much overdubbing onto the original rhythm track first completed at the beginning of the month.  With George Martin back in the producer's chair, 16 additional instruments were added with the following line-up.  Violins:  Sidney Sax (leader), Jack Rothstein, Ralph Elman, Andrew McGee, Jack Greene, Louis Stevens, John Jezzard and Jack Richards.  Cellos:  Lionel Ross, Eldon Fox, Bram Martin and Terry Weil.  Contra Bass Clarinet:  Gordon Lewin.  Horns:  Neil Sanders, Tony Tunstall, Mo (Morris) Miller.

Along with the instruments, professional singers were hired to add voices.  16 vocalists from the Mike Sammes Singers, known for session and television work in addition to making records themselves, provided the background chorus.  They were:  Peggie Allen, Wendy Horan, Pat Whitmore, Jill Utting, June Day, Sylvia King, Irene King, G. Mallen, Fred Lucas, Mike Redway, John O'Neill, F. Dachtler, Allan Grant, D. Griffiths, J. Smith and J. Fraser.

More work on "I Am The Walrus" along with "Flying" (still being called "Aerial Tour Instrumental") would be done on September 28th (with John and Ringo adding tape loops and effects from a new overdub which, when mixed onto "Flying", extended its length to 9 minutes, 36 seconds).

On September 29th during the many mono mixes of "I Am The Walrus", remix 22 would be completed with a live feed from a radio, which would pick up parts of Act IV Scene VI of the BBC Third Programme 190 minute production of Shakespeare's "The Tragedy Of King Lear".   The actors, Mark Dignam (Gloucester), Philip Guard (Edgar) and John Bryning (Oswald) were performing that night and it is unknown if they ever discovered themselves eventually appearing on a Beatles record.

Also on the 29th of September, Paul & John decided to scrap the remake of "Your Mother Should Know" and go back to the original August recording and finish that off overdubbing organ (John) and bass guitar (Paul).

29 September 1967 - Earlier in the morning on this day, David Frost taped an interview with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at London Airport before he flew out of the country.  Before John Lennon & George Harrison would join Paul and Ringo in the recording studio that evening, they were also taped before an audience for David's "The Frost Programme" which would broadcast that late evening, discussing Transcendental Meditation.  This would be only the first of two such broadcasts, as John and George would return the following Wednesday, October 4th, to talk more about T.M. this time with additional commentary from audience members.

You can hear the first part of this 2-part show interviewing George and John by David Frost at this YouTube link above.  (September 29, 1967)

I also took the audio and 'tweaked' the audio a bit to make it sound better and you can download a copy of that from this link:  The Frost Programme [Part 1] w/John & George - 29 Sept 1967

The second part of George and John talking about Transcendental Meditation with David Frost (recorded October 4, 1967) and the audience can be heard by downloading this mp3 file from this link:  The Frost Programme [Part 2] w/John & George - 4 Oct 1967

(I don't believe you will find Part 2 anywhere else!)

2 October 1967 - Evidence for the need of a brand new Beatles single to coincide with the "Magical Mystery Tour" project is in that the next track they would work on, at this point titled "Hello Hello", would not be used either in the film (except for the final chorus which played as the credits rolled) or released on the upcoming record soundtrack to the film.

Today, the rhythm track for what would become "Hello, Goodbye" was begun with 14 takes including drums, piano, organ and many percussion instruments, bongos, maracas, conga drums and tambourine.  Remix mono #25 was considered 'best' and you can hear what I believe is at least one of these early mixes by downloading a copy from this link:  "Hello Hello" (Hello Goodbye) Rhythm Track - 2 Oct. 1967

6 October 1967 - Today "Blue Jay Way" was finished off with the addition of a tambourine and cello overdub on the one vacant track left.  According to the cellist was Peter Willison.

12 October 1967 - Shirley Evans would appear playing her accordion on the coach during the sing-a-long sequence of "Magical Mystery Tour" and I believe you can see her in Aunt Jesse's dream sequence (above), but she was to have a more prominent role in the film.  Today a track written specifically for her by John and Paul was recorded at Abbey Road in Studio Three, with John Lennon officially taking the role of producer.

As Mark Lewisohn points out in his book, "The Beatles: Recording Sessions", Ringo would tap out a light beat and Paul added maraca, but this really wasn't a Beatles session.  Along with Shirley Evans was her percussionist partner Reg Wale.  To translate John and Paul's ideas for Shirley, the arranger Mark Leander (who worked with Paul on "She's Leaving Home") assisted in music notation.

Three mono mixes were made from three different takes of "Shirley's Wild Accordion" but nothing was ever officially released on record.  I've managed to come by a short track which is in stereo, and also a mono copy of some of what was recorded today that was used as background for one of the video extras from the digital release of "Magical Mystery Tour".  You can download both copies from this link:  "Shirley's Wild Accordion" (Stereo and Mono takes) 12 Oct. 1967

I found these photos online and, I can not entirely confirm this but, I'm told they come from a visit to the Maharishi by Paul and George in Sweden, 14 October 1967.  There is not much more I can add to this, except since they were such good photos I felt obliged to include them here. 

17 October 1967 - A special memorial is held on this day in the memory of Brian Epstein, which offered an opportunity for The Beatles to come and pay their respects.  It was held at the New London Synagogue.  

18 October 1967 - The Beatles attend the premiere at the London Pavilion of the Richard Lester film "How I Won The War" which had John Lennon in it (who had contributed his part the previous year) as a supporting actor.  

Back into the recording studio with more guitar parts, vocals and backing vocals (John & George) added to "Hello, Goodbye" (still known as "Hello Hello" at this point) on 19 October 1967.  

Three flautists were brought in on the 20th of October to add the final touches to "The Fool On The Hill".  They were brothers Christopher and Richard Taylor with Jack Ellory.  

Also on the 20th two viola players, Ken Essex and Leo Birnbaum added their contributions to "Hello, Goodbye".  More bass guitar would be added on the 25th of October and on the 2nd of November.   

29 October 1967 - As the editing for "Magical Mystery Tour" entered into its sixth week, it became apparent that additional footage would be needed to be shot in order to 'tie' some of the scenes together.  On this day, Ringo and Aunt Jessie were filmed in the morning on Acanthus Road turning right into Lavender Hill in the Battersea district of south London.  They are greeted by Jolly Jimmy Johnson the Courier and Miss Wendy Winters the Hostess.  

30-31 October 1967 - Beatles music for the film "Magical Mystery Tour" had been pretty much represented, all except "The Fool On The Hill".   To rectify the situation, Paul (without the other Beatles) flew to Nice, France with cameraman Aubrey Dewar to film scenes that would be presented as another dream sequence.  

3 November 1967 - The filming of "Magical Mystery Tour" was completed on this day when it was decided to add more scenes to George's "Blue Jay Way" sequence.  This was done at Ringo's home in Weybridge, 19 miles southwest of London.  Some of the filming took place in Ringo's garden and inside his home Mal Evans was filmed with earlier filmed images being projected on his chest as John sat on a child's rocking-horse toy (presumably belonging to Ringo's son Zak).   Various effects were created by using camera filters and lenses that Ringo owned as a part of his own personal photographic equipment.

6 November 1967 - When "I Am The Walrus" mono mixes were being created at the end of September, 17 attempts had been made with only two of those attempts complete.  A master mix was put together from those two attempts, mono mix #10, up to the lyric "Sitting in an english garden," followed by mono mix #22, which was done with a live feed from the radio being recorded simultaneously into the master mix.  This meant these added sounds were married to this version of "I Am The Walrus" which caused a problem when a stereo mix was attempted.  The stereo portion could only be made up of the first half, with the rest of the track, at best, being mixed into that duophonic 'mock-stereo' process with the treble being filtered out of one channel and the bass filtered out of the other.  

It wouldn't be until 2006, when The Beatles "Love" soundtrack was released, that through the technical advances of the day the complete track of "I Am The Walrus" could be mixed and heard in stereo.

More work would be done on the "Magical Mystery Tour" soundtrack until on the 7th of November, stereo and mono copies of all the tracks (including a stereo mix of "Strawberry Fields Forever") were taken away by Voyle Gilmore, the USA representative for Capitol Records, back to the States for the American release.

10 November 1967 - If filming "Magical Mystery Tour" wasn't enough, it was decided that promotional material needed to be put together for the new single, "Hello, Goodbye" which would reclaim the Beatles' #1 spot on the charts for Christmas once again, as was what had happened before in 1965, 1964 & 1963.

This time Paul took the role of director and the group set themselves up on the stage at the Saville Theatre was was still being leased by Brian Epstein's company, NEMS Enterprises.  With no audience three promotional 35mm films were produced.

Whatever one may say about "Hello, Goodbye" as being the "A" side of the next hit single, I don't think one can argue it was one of those things Paul was capable of doing, as Mark Lewisohn puts it, "...apparently simple but cunningly complex and impossibly infectious."  One may say it has all the makings of a guilty pleasure.  While "I Am The Walrus" takes us to new heights by way of John Lennon, I can suppose commercially it had to have been considered a much bigger gamble than "Hello, Goodbye" so it wasn't promoted as an "A" side.  Besides, it also was included in the "Magical Mystery Tour" film and I believe they wanted the single to be considered a separate entity from that project, as they had done in the past with almost all of their singles, save for "Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine" which was a single taken from the "Revolver" LP.

One thing, "Hello, Goodbye" afforded us was the chance to see The Beatles perform in their "Sgt. Pepper" outfits, which was done completely for the first promo filmed on this day.

In contrast, The Beatles also appeared in their 1963 collarless outfits.  Even then they were looking back at an era that seemed to have taken place so long ago.

The second promotional film had the 1967 Beatles in their normal clothes of the day along with a different background and drum kit for Ringo.

The local dancing girls dressed up Hawaiian style helped with the finale of each promotional clip.

A third promotional film was put together with many 'outtakes' from the previous two, along with some shots from a third session, another background and yet another version of Ringo's drum kit, without The Beatles logo showing.

There was actually a fourth version, according to Mark Lewisohn, that was put together by "Magical Mystery Tour" film editor Roy Benson, made up of unused footage from that project.  It has never been used.  

On November 17, 1967, Neil Aspinall would fly to America with copies of all three films and on the 26th, Ed Sullivan would broadcast the first film on his show.  

15 November 1967 - Perhaps, not thinking fully ahead, The Beatles were presented with quite a problem.  Since June of 1966, the Musician's Union in Britain had instigated a miming ban on all television appearances made by singers and musicians.  All three promotional films showed The Beatles miming to their next single.  

To try and remedy the problem, on this day a new mix was made of "Hello, Goodbye" without the violas.  That mix was used on the film given to the BBC, but it was to no avail.  Even though the viola players weren't in the film, it didn't hide the fact The Beatles were still obviously miming.  

The Beatles and their film editor, Roy Benson

21 November 1967 - A 2nd attempt is made to help circumvent the Musicians' Union ban on miming, and hence The Beatles' new promotional film for "Hello, Goodbye".  Here the BBC was permitted to film them at work with Roy Benson in the "Magical Mystery Tour" cutting-room as they continued through their 9th week of editing.   The idea was that the BBC could use this footage to somehow cover up some of the most obvious miming portions of the "Hello, Goodbye" promo.  In addition to that, NEMS supplied the BBC with some of the latest stills of The Beatles to also add where they see fit.  

Once more it was a failed attempt as the BBC eventually claimed it had not enough time to work out the details before they transmitted on the 23rd of November.  When they did, "Hello, Goodbye" simply played over 1964 footage of "A Hard Days Night".   They did use the material supplied by The Beatles with the stills, but nothing of the promotional film itself, on December 7th for "Top Of The Pops", and subsequent showings of "Hello, Goodbye".  It was The Beatles' first big disappointment of the year to come at the end of 1967.

NOTE:  Also on this day mono tape copies were made of the latest Beatles recordings that were made for inclusion in the "Yellow Submarine" film that was in production at the time.  The next couple of days would see more Beatles' tracks copied for this same purpose including, interestingly enough, a copy of "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" still existing as a rhythm track only.  Not all tracks copied, including this one, were eventually used in the film soundtrack.

24 November 1967 - "Hello, Goodbye" b/w "I Am The Walrus" is released in the UK as a single.  (The photo shows the US version released a few days later.)  Reaching #1 on both continents, it was the success that helped show (along with "All You Need Is Love") that the #2 UK single "Strawberry Fields Forever" was not a foreshadowing of The Beatles' future on the singles chart.

25 November 1967 - "Where It's At" is broadcast, co-hosted by Kenny Everett and Chris Denning which not only promoted the upcoming "Magical Mystery Tour" soundtrack, but included a piano/vocal 'jingle' recorded by Paul and an interview provided by John.  This was in the tradition of the previous effort Mr. Everett did for promotion of "Sgt. Pepper" and it was just as strange.  All six tracks from the upcoming TV special were broadcast, although "I Am The Walrus" would be quietly 'blocked' from further exposure by the BBC because of the lyric "you let your knickers down".  Another song by The Beatles banned, along with "A Day In The Life". 

There seems to be an edited radio broadcast version of this event and another copy of the unedited, but lesser quality, original interview which Kenny Everett conducted with John Lennon.  I've found a copy of that posted on YouTube, but I've also edited the two together to get the best sound and uploaded that as an mp3 file at this link:  "Where It's At" - Magical Mystery Tour Promo

27 November 1967 - An LP version of "Magical Mystery Tour" is released in the U.S.A. along with the "Hello, Goodbye"/"I Am The Walrus" single.  This time Capitol Records, known for chopping up the original Beatles' UK LP releases, came up with a hit idea.  Being an EP release in the U.K., the tracks from that were combined with all of the singles released in 1967 to actually pad a release, instead of taking away, and this 11 track presentation was born.  It became such a hit and in demand that this US version was heavily imported into the UK.  

The only problem with it was three of the tracks hadn't been mixed in stereo as of yet.  "All You Need Is Love" would eventually be mixed for stereo on October 29, 1968 for the "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack release.  When a demand for this configuration was met for West Germany, "Penny Lane" would be mixed for stereo for the first time on September 30, 1971 and "Baby You're A Rich Man" on October 22, 1971.  Even though a stereo mix of "Strawberry Fields Forever" had already been done and was included on the original version of the LP, it too was mixed again for this new re-issue in 1971.  Strangely enough, because of demand in the UK, the LP was finally officially released there in 1976, but the old US 1967 version was used, which included the mono mixes of the three songs in the US 'duophonic' mock-stereo process which filtered the bass out of one channel and the treble out of the other.

Note:  The photo above is not precisely what my original mono copy cover looks like.  Underneath the title there was also the description:  "Includes 24-page full color picture book" and after that "© 1967, NEMS ENTERPRISES LTD."

In the 1980s when the compact disc collection of Beatles music was being compiled, it was decided the US LP version of "Magical Mystery Tour" would be the preferred format.  I believe they used the West German copy for the CD release because that included the unique stereo version of "I Am The Walrus" beginning with 6 mellotron bars, instead of the usual 4 due to the various stereo versions that were mixed for that track.

The back cover of the 1971 West Germany version of the "Magical Mystery Tour" LP may not have been the most eye-catching, but this release was the only way fans could hear "Penny Lane" and "Baby You're A Rich Man" in stereo for many years.  ("All You Need Is Love" would be released in stereo in 1969 on the "Yellow Submarine" LP.)

Note the upper right hand side introduction of the "Apple" presents logo.

The LP/EP itself was designed as a 24 page booklet inside, well, booklet for the EP maybe, but quite blown up for the LP size.

The booklet contained a comic-strip synopsis of the film.

The photo above is from a scene that was cut from the final film.

The synopsis also describes scenes that did not wind up in the final film.

The centerfold.

28 November 1967 - For the final time collectively The Beatles would come together to record their annual Fan Club Christmas Record.  (Subsequently, Christmas messages would be put together from items that would be taped from each of them individually to create future records.)  On this day, however, The Beatles even dedicated a song especially for their purpose, of which the disc was named after, "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)" and it was credited all all four of them.  

As with how they produced the previous year's record, this one had a script which included basically a 'send-up of radio and television programs' with short extracts of their new 'song' (which exists in its entirety at 6 minutes, 37 seconds) with Ringo on drums, George on acoustic guitar, John on timpani and Paul on piano.  Assisting the group with double-tracked vocals were George Martin and visiting actor friend, Victor Spinetti.  Victor and Ringo also contributed a tap dancing duet, Mal Evans lent some words, along with skits, jokes, more send-ups, all which according to Mark Lewisohn seemed to add up to The Beatles having a wonderful time "spoiling takes with their own laughter and throwing in hilarious cuss words which had to be edited out later."

You can find a copy of the track "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)" which was used as the background for the new Beatles 1967 Christmas record by downloading it from this link:  "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)"

28 November 1967 - Also on this day, John stayed behind after the Christmas record session to make tapes for the National Theatre production of a play he had written, being directed by Victor Spinetti called "The Lennon Play:  In His Own Write" based on his previous two books.

In addition to John using EMI for a solo project was George Harrison, who had been asked to create a musical soundtrack for a film called "Wonderwall".  

George recalls:  "Joe Massot, the director, asked me would I do the music for his film and I said, 'I don't know how to do music for films,' and he said, 'Anything you do I will have in the film, ' and those were the terms on which I agreed to do the work."

So far, George had begun to produce two tracks, "India" and "Swordfencing", which employed two flautists (Richard Adeney and Jack Ellory) and one tabla player (unknown).  He would also continue to work with two oboists (J Crackston and G Morgan), a trumpeter (D Clift), two more flautists (Jack Ellory with N Knight on one session and Clifford Seville on another.)  Along with work at EMI, George was also recording at De Lane Lea in Kingsway.

George:  "I decided to do it as a mini-anthology of Indian music because I wanted to help turn the public on to Indian music."  Joe Massot showed him a rough uncut version of the film in Twickenham Film Studios and from that George composed the overall soundtrack.  George, himself, did not play on any of the "Wonderwall" sessions.   

5 December 1967 - What is Apple?  That question was first brought up in the September 1967 issue of "The Beatles Monthly Book" and at the time it was said the answer was impossible to give "because it may develop into many things.  The Beatles DO have a direct interest in it.  Apple has taken over a large building in Baker Street (of Sherlock Holmes Fame) and very shortly it will start operating as The Apple music publishing house."

So Apple had its beginnings while Brian Epstein was still alive, but I'm not certain how much interest he had it in.  "Apple Presents" would make its debut for the film "Magical Mystery Tour" on the record sleeve for the soundtrack of the TV special, and on this early December day the Apple Boutique would be christened and then opened to the public on December 7th.

With editing for "Magical Mystery Tour" finally winding down in its 11th week, Paul would find it was time to return to his property in Scotland for a 17 day holiday and Ringo would embark on a trip to Rome, Italy to film a cameo appearance in the upcoming adaptation of the successful Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg novel "Candy".  This left John and George behind to make an appearance at The Beatles new shop.   I suppose in a way it made some sense, after all The Beatles were at the forefront of youth attire because not only did their hair-styles seem to be almost as important as their music, but their clothing did as well.  The latest promo films for "Hello, Goodbye" featured The Beatles in not only their Sgt. Pepper suits, but the collarless jackets they wore in 1963, along with what they were currently wearing in 1967.  

Friends and celebrities came to Apple this evening to 'socialize, drink apple juice and toast to the future of the Beatles as retailers.'

Jenny Boyd, Pattie's sister, checking out the boutique.


8 December 1967 - The soundtrack to "Magical Mystery Tour" is finally released in the UK on a double-EP package in both mono and stereo formats.  The tracks are arranged such that two songs can appear on one side of each EP and one song on the other of each.

Also during the month of December, fans of The Official Beatles Fan Club received their yearly Christmas message from The 'Original' Beatles!

3-16 December 1967:  Ringo dips his toe into the makings of a solo act!  As mentioned above, Ringo became involved in the making of the motion picture "Candy" starring Ewa Aulin (above).  His role, however, was more of a cameo appearance playing a Mexican gardener who works for Candy's father.  

Flying out to Rome from London on December 3rd, Ringo's hair was dyed black and 'he was coached in the Mexican dialect'.  No filming of Ringo would begin until the 7th & 9th, however, with his scenes completed on the 11th through to the 16th.  

It seemed to make sense that, given Ringo's contribution to the Beatles' two previous films (and even "Magical Mystery Tour" somewhat surrounds the adventures of Ringo and his Auntie Jessie) that acting would be the best way for him to branch out, and so Ringo asked NEMS to look out for potential characters he could play in film. 

Although "Candy" had an all-star cast with Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, John Houston, James Coburn, Walter Matthau, John Astin, Charles Aznavour, Elsa Martinelli and Sugar Ray Robinson, at 2 hours it was a bit long for the 'sex romp' that it proved to be and critics would not be kind.  

17 December 1967 - Ringo and Maureen returning home from their adventure of Ringo appearing in the film "Candy".

27 December 1967 - "Magical Mystery Tour", for me, is a strange period in Beatles history.  Not because of anything to do with The Beatles, as when going through the months preceding it, in the end it seems like a natural progression for them to make.  Instead of trying to top "Sgt. Pepper", typical of their nature, they went out and did something different and fresh.  After all they'd not tried making films together and by themselves before.

Yet, much like "Strawberry Fields Forever", the world didn't seem to be ready for their next move.  Strangely, they couldn't get their promotional films for their new single "Hello, Goodbye" to be shown in their own country, and when "Magical Mystery Tour" was critically panned, it wouldn't be shown in America.   

Although filmed in color, "Magical Mystery Tour" was first broadcast on December 26, 1967 (Boxing Day) in black & white, as BBC1 didn't broadcast in color as of yet.  It would be shown in color January 5, 1968 on BBC2 but by then it was too little, too late.  There weren't as many people equipped to see it in color as there were for the black & white transmission, and the negative criticism  and reaction had already taken hold.  

On this day, Paul appeared on The Frost Programme speaking of the film to David Frost and his audience.  Unfortunately I can't find any audio of this broadcast, but here are some of the best quotes from it:

Paul - "I think a lot of people were looking for a plot, and there wasn't one.  We thought we could just do a thing...  See, we've been waiting for a couple of years now to make another feature film.  And we've been asking people to write stories and write plots.  But nobody's come up with one, you know.    So we though, 'We'll do something which isn't like that,' which isn't like a real film in as much as it's got a story and a beginning, and we'll just do a selection of, you know...  We'd put together a lot of things that we like the look of, and see what happens.  I liked it."

David - "Did you have a point in mind when you, I mean, some point to get across at all when you did this?"

Paul - "No.  See, that's the trouble, seriously.  You gotta do everything with a point of an aim, but we tried this one without anything, with no point and no aim.  It's like, you know, we make a record album and all the songs don't necessarily have to fit in with each other... They're just a selection of songs.  We thought that doing a mystery's all happening on a bus to this group of people - would be enough of a thread... like a firm advertises a magical mystery tour, and you go on it, and it really is magic - then anything might happen, and it wouldn't have a thread if it was magic.

"The trouble is...if you watch it a second time it does grow on you.  ...when you make a record, a lot of people listen to our records and say, 'Well, I don't like that one,' ...but the second time 'round they say, 'Not bad.'  And after a few plays they say... Yeah!"

For me, the best description of "Magical Mystery Tour" comes from actor Victor Spinetti.  I have it on a cassette tape at the moment which I am unable to play so I'll go from memory.  (One day I'll get it exactly.)  

Victor Spinetti:  "That film is a teaching film.  What it teaches! to glad that you are alive.  Each day we must be happy just to be alive.  We're all on a Mystery Trip!  We don't know who we are or where we are going, except for one thing and that is to find out how much love we can give."

"Magical Mystery Tour" wouldn't be shown in America except for a limited theatrical release in 1974.  This was strange because we had the soundtrack for the film on record and except for the comic strip synopsis, which wasn't an entirely accurate representation of the finished product, we couldn't see the film itself to know what it was about!  

It finally came out (and in not so good a shape) on video tape in the late 1970s and withdrawn because of lawsuits.  I first saw this 'bootleg' version probably in the mid 1980s.  An 'official' home video release was finally made in 1988 and a restoration in High Definition Video was released in 2012 with Paul McCartney adding his commentary as an additional track to the presentation.

7-13 January 1968:  Continuing on with the making of the soundtrack for the "Wonderwall" film, George flew to India on the 7th where he could more easily employ local musicians at EMI's Bombay studio (which, as I understand it, only had a 2 track tape machine!)  

Sessions began on the 9th with all the recording for the soundtrack pretty much completed on the 12th.  Of the musicians who performed on "Wonderwall" there were Ashish Khan (sarod), Mahapurush Misra (tabla and pakavaj), Sharad Jadev and Hanuman Jadev (shanhais), Shambu-Das, Indril Bhattacharya and Shankar Ghosh (sitars), Chandra Shakher (sur-bahar), Shiv Kumar Sharmar (santorr), S R Kenkare and Hari Prasad Chaurasia (flutes), Vinayak Vohra (taar shehnai) and Rijram Desad (dholak, harmonium and tabla-tarang).  

With studio time left on the 13th of January, George also produced a number of ragas (traditional Hindu musical pieces) as pointed out by Mark Lewisohn, for possible use on Beatles records.  One melody recorded today (without vocals) would become "The Inner Light" which The Beatles would indeed release on their next single.  

You can listen to some of the making of this track along with an alternative take for "The Inner Light"  by downloading a copy from this link:  "The Inner Light" alternate instrumental take

Before leaving for India, George had produced another session at Abbey Road's studio two on the 5th of January, and after his return from India, he would produce more sessions completing the soundtrack on January 30, 1968.

George with Shambu-Das, I presume, in India.

19 January 1968 - Meanwhile, Apple Music was beginning to take off.  The company itself began with Clive Epstein (Brian's brother), Alistair Taylor and Geoffrey Ellis (a solicitor and accountant) as the original directors and it was to be made up of a string of shops.  Clive Epstein was involved in the financial administration side of NEMS (New End Music Stores) which was Brian's company and so it seemed a natural fit.  

From an idea of selling greeting cards to retail clothing, a perhaps better and more creative outlet came from the creation of Apple Music Ltd and one of the first artists to sign up to be supported by Apple was a group christened "Grapefruit" named by John Lennon after the book by the same name given to him by Yoko Ono two months earlier.  

John and Paul had attended a Grapefruit recording session at IBC Studios on November 24, 1967 and signed them up on December 11th.  Grapefruit were made up of John Perry, Geoff Swettenham, Pete Swettenham and Alexander Young.

The first Apple office was located above the boutique which had opened in early December on Baker Street.  On January 22nd, 1968 it would move to 95 Wigmore Street and Peter Asher (Paul's fiancee Jane Asher's brother) would be appointed A&R man.  

Apple Corps Ltd (formerly Apple Music Ltd, formerly The Beatles Ltd which was created in June of 1963) became official in January of 1968 and it controlled new companies:  Apple Records Ltd, Apple Films Ltd, Apple Music Publishing Ltd, Apple Electronics Ltd, Apple Wholesale Ltd, Apple Retail Ltd, Apple Television Ltd, Apple Publicity Ltd, Apple School Ltd, and even more(!)

25 January 1968 - To complete the illusion that The Beatles had been closely involved with the production of the "Yellow Submarine" film, a brief cameo appearance was filmed of them to be included at the end of the movie, even though it was primarily an animated feature.

The shooting of this sequence was done at Twickenham Studios, and although The Beatles may have been less than enthusiastic about the entire project, they would come to like the film and even wish they had been more involved with it.  Today, they managed to pull of some convincing energy and seemed to be really enjoying themselves. 

1-2 February 1968:  Ringo Starr attends daytime rehearsals at the Television Rehearsal Rooms, North Action, London, for a guest appearance he'll be making on the live TV show Cilla, with Cilla Black to be broadcast on the evening of February 6th.

3 February 1968 - The Beatles were now ready to make good on their promise to fly to India and study under the guidance of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in mid February.  As they were planning on being away until late-April, it was thought they could have a new single released in March during their absence.  The next week would prove more fruitful than anticipated.  

The first track begun today was "Lady Madonna".  A new year, a new sound, this track was unlike any previous Beatles song.  Today's basic rhythm track had Paul on piano, Ringo on drums (with brushes instead of sticks) and then in the evening overdubs were made with Paul's bass, John and George on fuzzed guitars (with both instruments played through the same amplifier) and more drums by Ringo.  Paul added his lead vocal, with John and George contributing backing while munching Marmite flavored crisps(!) which were removed during the remix.  

4 February 1967 - "Across The Universe".  If I were forced to choose a favorite Beatles' song, this would be it.  I love all of the many different versions of this song that were eventually released, and a few that were not officially released.  All of those versions, save one, came from the same recording, so you can imagine my happy surprise to find a 'new' recording of the song I'd never heard before (take 2) released on "The Beatles Anthology 2" in 1996.  

Today it was begun with a total of six takes, numbered 1 through 7.  There was no take 3.  There would be two recording sessions on this date, the first from 2:30-5:30pm.  The rhythm track was produced with John on acoustic guitar, Ringo on tomtoms, George on tamboura and all of their instruments were fed through a revolving Leslie organ speaker and 'subjected to flanging'.  

It was take 2 which brought in the sitar introduction by George, more flanging, another acoustic guitar and a John Lennon vocal, all contributing to what Mark Lewisohn called "a gorgeous recording (of) a beautifully wistful, philosophical number." 

John seemed to settle on take 7 as the best produced rhythm track.  When the evening session began at 8pm, they were ready for more vocal overdubs onto this take 7, but after John added his contribution (recorded with the machine running slow to play back fast) he and Paul realized it could use something that only female voices could produce, falsetto harmonies.  

This would be a first on a Beatles' record.  It being a Sunday night, and without prior arrangement, finding two female singers at such short notice would have been impossible for any other group in the world, but not the Beatles.  All they had to do was step outside and invite any two of the fans that were most assuredly hanging near the front door of the studio at any time of the day or night, rain or shine.  

They found two girls, Lizzie Bravo, 16 years old and visiting from Brazil, and Gayleen Pease, a 17 year old Londoner.  

Technical engineer, Martin Benge, who had temporarily replace Ken Scott who'd fell ill that afternoon recalls:  "There was a whole crowd of girls outside and Paul went out to find a couple of suitable ones.  They were so excited.  They couldn't believe they'd actually been invited by Paul not just inside the building but into the studio itself, to sing with the Beatles."

After Lizzie and Gayleen taped their "nothing's gonna change our world" high harmonies, they were thanked, ushered out of the studio, and The Beatles went on to add more overdubs consisting of backwards bass and drums.  

They also taped three experimental sound effects to be added to the track.  The first was subtitled "Hums Wild" a 15 second take of pure humming, recorded and then overdubbed three more times which sounded much like the humming that was to be used for "A Day In The Life".  There were also effects made from a guitar and a harp-like sound, both which were to be played backwards.  

None of the sound effects, or bass and drums overdubs of this evening would be used in the 'final' version of the song.  Some did survive long enough for John Lennon to make a 7-1/2 ips tape copy for him to take home.

Photo from "The Complete Beatles Chronicle" by Mark Lewisohn and a caption that reads:  "Gottle of geer..."  Ringo with Archie Andrews and Peter Brough, long-established stars of British radio, TV and music-hall, backstage at the BBC for "Cilla".

5-6 February 1968:  Ringo attends camera rehearsals for the upcoming BBC TV special "Cilla" with Cilla Black on the 5th, and then, while performing in the show on the 6th, John, Paul & George are in Studio One at EMI Studios to continue work on the latest Beatles recordings.

The afternoon session began with copying the original two-track tape of "The Inner Light" recorded in Bombay to four-track where George added vocals.  

Juan Mascaró, a Sanskrit teacher at Cambridge University who had been in the audience when George and John were interviewed by David Frost on "The Frost Programme" about transcendental meditation, had sent to George a copy of a book that he had edited called "Lamps of Fire".  In that book there were verses from the "Tao Te Ching" and, in particular, a poem called "The Inner Light" which George took from almost directly as lyrics for this new song.  

Tape operator Jerry Boys recalls:  "George had this big thing about not wanting to sing it because he didn't feel confident that he could do the song justice.  I remember Paul saying, 'You must have a go, don't worry about it, it's good'."

George's voice, of course, was perfect for such an endeavor.   After a brief additional overdub by John and Paul at the end of the track on February 8th, the best mono mix would be completed.

Ringo's appearance on "Cilla" was broadcast live at 8-9pm from BBC Television Theatre in Shepherd's Bush, London.  Coincidentally, there is a break documented at EMI Studios where John, Paul & George were from 8-9pm suggesting that they wouldn't miss watching the show themselves!  

As Mark Lewisohn would point out in his book "The Complete Beatles Chronicles" Ringo "showed a multi-faceted talent as an all-round show business entertainer."  The show "Cilla" had been arranged by Brian Epstein before his death it also showcased how far Cilla Black had come from her days at the Cavern Club "and St. John's Hall, Tuebrook."

Another note of interest about this show "Cilla" was the inclusion of her "signature tune" "Step Inside Love" which had been specifically written for her by Paul McCartney.  


Returning to the studio at 8pm and staying until 2am in the morning, Paul added a second lead vocal to "Lady Madonna", a second piano piece, handclaps, backing vocals by John, Paul & George and that "charming middle eight vocalised brass imitation achieved by the three Beatles cupping their hands around their mouths."

Geoff Emerick recalls:  "We spent a lot of time getting the right piano sound for 'Lady Madonna'.  We ended up using a cheaper type of microphone and heavy compression and limiting."

Paul, however, wanted more, and he found it in four saxophones.  The question was, how to make it all come together on such short notice?  Laurie Gold was a session "fixer" for EMI and she was called into action to find their musicians.  First she got Harry Klein, a baritone sax player, right out of his bathtub to come to the studio.  He suggested  they get a hold of Ronnie Scott to play tenor sax, and along with him they procured Bill Jackman (another baritone sax player) and Bill Povey (another tenor sax).  

Bill Jackman recalls:  "Had there been music (written) we could have been in and out in about ten minutes.  As it was it took most of the evening, recording it in A-major pitch with the rhythm track playing in our headphones."

Bill Povey remembers:  "There was not only no prepared music for us to follow but when Paul called  out some chords at us our first reaction was to look at each other and say 'Well, who plays what?"

Bill Jackman:  "Paul went through the song on the piano and we were given a scrap of manuscript paper and a pencil to write out some notes." 

Harry Klein:   "There was no written music but we played around with a few riffs until Paul liked what he heard.  And then we recorded it - 101 times!"

8 February 1968 - I recall John Lennon himself complaining that he wasn't getting the support he needed to make the recording of "Across The Universe" the way he wanted it.  It's possible he may have been thinking of the latter Beatles sessions, which eventually became the backbone for "Get Back", when the song was revisited, yet only briefly.  At that time it appears that even John himself wasn't in the mood to tackle the song with any real enthusiasm, let alone the rest of the group.

On this day, however, Geoff Emerick recalls a different viewpoint:  "'Across The Universe' was such a superb performance from John.  He put so much feeling into the song, and his vocal was just incredible."

The records show that John, however, was still uncertain as to what this new track needed.  George Martin would provide organ on one take with John adding mellotron, but those efforts would be wiped off the tape and replaced by a tone pedal guitar, played by John, maracas by George and piano by Paul.   

The backwards guitar and drum track from the 4th of February was wiped and replaced by what Mark Lewisohn describes as "lovely harmonised backing vocals by John, Paul and George."  

The studio time was from 2:30pm-9pm (which included some work on "The Inner Light") and then again from 10pm-12:15am.  "Across The Universe" would be mixed in mono and remix two would be considered the best one, however, in the end, according to Mark Lewisohn in his book "The Beatles:  Recording Sessions", when The Beatles sat down to decide which songs were to be released on the next single, "John preferred 'Across The Universe' to remain on the shelf" making way for Georges first appearance on a Beatles single, even though it was a B-side, with "The Inner Light", which all agreed was a very lovely song.  

Mark Lewisohn would later write that Spike Milligan, who was a guest of George Martin on this day, requested permission to include "Across The Universe" on a charity album which was was going to be put together for the World Wildlife Fund, a project he had created in December of 1967.  The LP, however, wouldn't be released until December of 1969(!)

There is a little bit of a mystery as to exactly when the effects of birds tweeting and flying and children playing were added to "Across The Universe" for this special LP, which would be titled "No One's Gonna Change Our World".  Since the song was eventually released in late 1969 when mono recordings were finally taking a backseat to stereo as far as their popularity goes, a stereo mix was made including these effects specifically for its relationship to that LP.  This occurred in October of 1969.  

Yet, there also is a mono mix of the song which is claimed to be included as a bonus track for a "Yellow Submarine" EP that was never released, but does exist, from March of 1968, which also includes these effects.   In addition to all of that, the song itself is speeded up which, as Mark Lewisohn states, makes it sound fast. "Perhaps too fast."  

When Phil Spector got a hold of the song for "Let It Be", before he added the orchestral background he made sure the song was slowed back down again.  For whatever reservations fans might have had to the "Spectorization" of Beatles' tunes, for John at least when he heard the finished product he could say, "I didn't puke."

Before Phil Spector, however, and in spite of the World Wildlife Fund charity LP, their was yet another stripped down version of "Across The Universe" (again all from these same recording sessions) which was to appear on the impending "Get Back" album release for possibly the end of 1969.  That version was mixed and the LP was prepared but never saw the light of day.  

Nonetheless, when Paul McCartney oversaw "Let It Be...Naked" in 2003, he recalls that version and produced yet another lovely presentation of "Across The Universe" for this CD keeping in mind the simple beauty of the original stripped down idea.  

It is possible that John Lennon never saw the recording of "Across The Universe" as he envisioned.  Perhaps in his mind, it wasn't possible.  He even tried it again himself in 1975 with David Bowie in a rendition for his LP, "Young Americans".  In any case, there are plenty of variations of John's vision out there for this wonderful tune, and I for one, love them all.

11 February 1968 - The Beatles were coming along so productively that they cancelled their February 10th scheduled session for Studio Two, but returned on Sunday the 11th to be filmed while working in Studio Three to create a promotional film for "Lady Madonna".  

They needn't worry about being accused of miming to the new single, because instead today they recorded another brand new track for the "Yellow Submarine" project called "Hey Bulldog".  The cameras, therefore, actually caught The Beatles as they recorded 10 rhythm track takes of that tune, all direct to four track tape without any reduction mixes. 

As John asked George Martin at the beginning of the session:  "Just tell us when we get a good one..." the group performed with piano, drums, tambourine, lead guitar and bass guitar.  Take ten was considered 'best' and onto that they overdubbed a fuzz bass, some deliberately off-beat drums, a 'rasping' middle eight guitar solo, double-tracked vocals by John and a single-tracked backing vocal by Paul.  

The ad-libbing at the end of the recording (not an unusual occurrence for The Beatles) was so much within the mood of this "really fun song" as recalled by Geoff Emerick, that much of it was kept in during the mono mixing of the tune.  

Tony Bramwell oversaw the shooting of the 35mm film and produced two color clips (both were similar but with some shot-by-shot differences.)  One of the two was screened in the UK in mid March and early April but in black and white.  The first US broadcast in color of one of the clips was on March 30th.

There would be one more edit of this material years later in 1999 when it was decided to use the footage to illustrate the true nature of the event, the recording of "Hey Bulldog", creating for that song it's own film.  

Although the song itself was intended for "Yellow Submarine" strangely enough it was cut from the prints initially shown in the US.  

15 March 1968 - Shortly after The Beatles completed work on material for their next single, John's promised "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack replacement for "Baby, You're A Rich Man" which became "Hey Bulldog" in addition to another burst of creativity being "Across The Universe", they were finally ready and available to travel to India, be with the Maharishi and explore each individual's "Inner Light".  In their absence, they left the world this wonderful present.  

For me, given The Beatles were always evolving, and doing so at such a fast rate, I have a vision instead of a single, a fantasized Beatles EP which included "Across The Universe" and "Hey Bulldog" because they both seem to capture this moment, bringing it into even more focus than "Lady Madonna" and "The Inner Light" can do alone.  

If this were the case, I imagine it would have been released in mono.  I imagine hearing that early mono mix of "Across The Universe", which had John not brought a copy home on February 4th, would have been lost forever on February 5th with new overdubs.  Also, "Hey Bulldog" was mixed for mono but that version was not officially released until 2009 with "The Beatles Mono Masters" box set.  (The "Yellow Submarine" LP's mono version was a 'fold-down' copy of the stereo LP.)

There is the obvious reason too, for my fantasy EP to exist, and that is "Across The Universe" never seemed to have a better representation, for when it was officially released the time in which it was heard was far removed from early 1968, and the same goes for "Hey Bulldog".

"Lady Madonna" and "Across The Universe" would be mixed in stereo late 1969, "The Inner Light" was mixed for stereo in early 1970.  "Hey Bulldog" would, of course, be mixed for stereo to be released on the "Yellow Submarine" LP at the beginning of 1969.  

One of the promotional films made for "Lady Madonna" was released with "The Beatles 1 - Video Collection" in 2015, along with the 'restored' version of that film made for "Hey Bulldog".  The closest one could get to the imagery of "The Inner Light" might be the special video also included in this collection that was made for the "Tomorrow Never Knows/Within You Without You" mix that came from the "Love" soundtrack of 2006.  


The Beatles 'almost' made a video, if you will, of "Across The Universe" [take 2, which was released on the "Anthology 2" CD] in their "Beatles Anthology" video [disc 7] for home release in 1996.  I say 'almost' because near the end of the track, the film used for it from their time in India cuts away for the story's narrative.  Fortunately during that whole segment there is enough footage of The Beatles in India that I made my own presentation of that 'film' which presents "Across The Universe" in its entirety.  You can find a copy of my efforts by downloading the mp4 file from this link:  

I can't think of a better way to end this portion of The Beatles' Story which began during that very long hot Summer of Love so many years ago.  

"Jai Guru Deva, OM."  ...Indeed!

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