Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

September 1, 1967

Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

Beatles in Limbo

Their Candlestick Park, San Francisco concert on August 29,  1966 was the last Beatles concert. Yes they would play unannounced on the roof  of the Apple building in 1969, but in 1966 they had decided that they preferred the studio to the road.

Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

Busy nonetheless

The Beatles remained busy over the next twelve months:

  • John Lennon starred in the movie How I Won The War
  • Paul McCartney wrote a soundtrack fro the movie The Family Way
  • John Lennon met Yoko Ono
  • They recorded and released the Sgt Peppers album. Their masterpiece.
  • The idea of the Magical Mystery Tour movie hatched.
  • “Penny Lane” became a #1 song
  • Paul announced that the Beatles had used acid.
  • Paul helped get Jimi Hendrix into the Monterey Pop Festival
  • The Beatles participated in the Our World worldwide show.
  • The Beatles included their names in a list of people stating that “the law against marijuana is immoral in principal and unworkable in practice.”
  • “All You Need Is Love” became a #1 song
  • they went to Bangor, UK to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
  • two days after they left for Bangor, Brian Epstein died

Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

September 1, 1967

Following Epstein’s death on August 27, Paul McCartney and the others realized how huge a loss Epstein’s absence would be. On this date, Paul strongly recommended that the four pick up the pace on recording the music for and filming the movie Magical Mystery Tour.

Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

Tony Barrow

Paul did this at a meeting with the other three, but beforehand he met with Tony Barrow, their press officer and the person credited with the moniker “the Fab Four.”

Barrow wrote in his John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Me book, “Paul made it clear to me that his aim was to make a feature-length film for full-scale theatrical release and he felt that a successful screen ‘tour’ would go a long way towards plugging the gaping hole left by the axing of the Fab Four’s concert trips. Indeed, if Paul had managed to produce one successful theatrically released feature film with The Beatles each year, a far bigger potential audience would have seen the group than did in the touring years, and the profit margin for the boys would have been enormous.”

Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

Project accepted

According to Barrow McCartney did a good job of laying out the concept and emphasizing its importance to them as a group.

They finished filming on November 3, 1967. On November 7 they finished recording and mixing the music.

Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

 

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1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

The narrator above refers to August 30, but it was…

August 28, 1964

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

She Loves You

The Beatles initial successes were great pop songs that many youth fell in love with at the same time they themselves were looking to fall in love. She Loves You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Please Please Me, I Feel Fine, She’s a Woman, and We Can Work It Out are all loves songs. Some happier than others.

Someone once told me, if it’s a happy Beatle song, Paul wrote it; a sad one, John. While a generalization, it’s more often true than not.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

Maggie’s Farm

When I first heard Bob Dylan’s “I Ain’t Gonna’ Work on Maggie’s Farm No More” I was only a touch less confused about its lyrics than “Gates of Eden,” a song I had no idea what was happening other than Dylan was trying to harmonize with songs the lonesome sparrow sang.

Maggie’s Farm? Well there’s a guy obviously praying for rain, getting terribly underpaid, and whose boss is putting out his cigar on the guy’s face. I’d quit too.

Of course, that’s not what Dylan was saying. He was saying he wasn’t going to be the acoustic-folk-protest song-singer too many expected him to permanently be. Quitting. He was going  electric. And on July 25, 1965 he did just that at the Newport Folk Festival.

Many were displeased.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

August 28, 1964

The Beatles had begun their first full American tour on August 18 at the San Francisco Cow Palace. Ten days later they played for 16,000 fans at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York City. They would do the same the next night.

It was what happened in between that changed history.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

Al Aronowitz

Al Aronowitz was a writer who knew Bob Dylan and arranged for him to meet the Beatles at their hotel the night after that first concert.

Aronowitz later wrote: “The Beatles’ magic was in their sound,…Bob’s magic was in his words. After they met, the Beatles’ words got grittier, and Bob invented folk-rock.”

Cannabis may have been the source of all that musical cross pollination at that meeting. Beatles supposed unfamiliarity with the herb apparently surprised the already familiar Mr Dylan. [The four had tried it in Germany, but it did not impress them.]

Evidently, Ringo was unfamiliar with the not-Bogarting-that-joint protocol and kept things to himself. John, Paul, and George soon learned the etiquette.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1965

  • March 27,  Dylan released Bringing It All Back Home on which “Maggie’s Farm” appears.
  • The Byrds’ covering of Dylan, particularly “Mr Tambourine Man” opened the door for folk-rock.
  • July 25, 1965 Dylan played Newport Folk Festival. Many in audience booed his performance for playing electric set with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
  • August 30, 1965,  Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited. More electric.
  • August 28, 1965 Dylan played at NYC’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. More boos during his electric set.
  • December 3, 1965 the Beatles released Rubber Soul. The course of pop music changed.
1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles
1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles
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Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968

Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968

Released August 26, 1968

Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968

The Smile Orchestra playing ukulele, melodika (pianica), piano and e-bass.
Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968

Iconic notes

Some song’s first notes are so embedded in our lives that hearing them immediately transport us to a place, a time, a person, an era.

For me, the Beatles “Hey Jude” is one of those songs. It is late August 1968, just before going away to college for the first time and leaving behind the tanned friendship-ringed beautiful girlfriend whose September letters will only made me make more homesick. “Don’t make it bad.”

Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968

John and Cynthia on the verge

Just a year before in August 1967 the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had enchanted the Beatles. On their group trip to see him, John had left behind Cynthia struggling with luggage to keep up at the station. She missed the train and  had to get a car ride to the site.

John Lennon had met Yoko Ono in November 1966 and they began a friendship that blossomed into a close relationship when the two recorded Two Virgins on May 19, 1968 while Cynthia was away on a vacation.

Cynthia Lennon had discovered the two of them together after coming home early from that vacation.  They separated that month and John sued for divorce accusing Cynthia of adultery, an accusation she denied.

On August 22, 1968, Cynthia counter-sued. Lennon did not contest the divorce. It became official on November 8, 1968.

Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968

Hey Jules

In June Paul McCartney  visited Cynthia and Julian Lennon. Though she was now separated, Paul and she had been friends since 1957 when Paul joined the Quarrymen and she was already John’s girlfriend.  Paul thought of Julian and in the car on his way out wrote the lines, “Hey Jules [Julian], don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better.”

Paul would later change the name to Jude.

A month later, on July 26, Paul played it for the first time to John. John loved it from the beginning.

Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968

Hey Jude

The Beatles recorded the song over four days: July 29 – 31 July and 1 August.

According to the Beatles Bible site the personnel were:

  • Paul McCartney: vocals, piano, bass
  • John Lennon: backing vocals, acoustic guitar
  • George Harrison: backing vocals, electric guitar
  • Ringo Starr: backing vocals, drums, tambourine
  • Uncredited: 10 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, 2 double basses, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 contrabassoon, 4 trumpets, 2 horns, 4 trombones, 1 percussion
Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968

August 26, 1968

Apple released “Hey Jude” August  26 in the US [Aug 20 in the UK].  “Revolution” was the B-side.

It reached number one on September 28 and stayed there for nine weeks, the longest time a Beatles single was at number one. It was also the longest-playing single to reach number one.

“Hey Jude” was the 16th number-one hit for Beatles in America, They would eventually have 20, the most of any group.

Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968

4 September 1968

The Beatles asked Michael Lindsay-Hogg to film a promotion for the song. He had done the same for “Paperback Writer” in 1966. The idea was to film it in front of a live audience, albeit, a selected one.

David Frost played the part of an MC and introduced the band as ““the greatest tea-room orchestra in the world”.” The audience is not seen at first and the two-tiered  orchestra, seen during the playful introductions during which the Beatles also briefly play Elvis’s “It’s Now or Never.”  Frost plays it straight and doesn’t crack a smile.

After the last chorus, the cameras pan back and suddenly the Beatles are surrounded by that unheard audience. Now, though, they clap along and sing the famous “Naa naa naa na na na naaa….”

They settled on the idea of filming with a live, albeit controlled audience. In the film, the Beatles are first seen by themselves, performing the initial chorus and verses, and then are joined by the audience who appear as the last chorus concludes and coda begins; the audience sings and claps along with the Beatles through the song’s conclusion. Hogg shot the film at Twickenham Film Studios on 4 September 1968,

Paul McCartney Julian Hey Jude 1968
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