Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

John Paul Nerk Twins

John Paul Nerk Twins

April 23 & 24, 1960 
John Paul Nerk Twins
From a Daily Mail article. “Rookie rockers: Paul McCartney and John Lennon in 1960, soon after their not-so-successful gig at the Fox and Hounds”

Les Paul and Mary Ford, “The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise”

John Paul Nerk Twins

Names

The Beatles went through several name and personnel changes before they became that group with that name that arrived on our US shores in 1964.

According to the “I Am the Beatles” site, here is the sequence of names:

  • The Black Jacks
  • The Quarry Men
  • Johnny and the Moondogs
  • The Nerk Twins
  • The Beatals
  • The Silver Beetles
  • The Silver Beats
  • The Beatles
  • The Silver Beatles
  • The Beatles
John Paul Nerk Twins

Any gig will do

Today  I’ll briefly explore those two nights in April 1960 that John and Paul were the Nerk Twins.

It is always good to keep in mind that the boys were simply young struggling musicians who found gigs however they could.

John Paul Nerk Twins

Fox and Hounds 

Betty Robbins was Paul’s cousin. Betty’s husband, Mike, and she ran the Fox and Hounds in Caversham on the outskirts of Reading, Berkshire.

John and Paul hitchhiked from Liverpool to the tavern and worked behind the bar  for a week. Mike Robbins, aware that they were musicians recommended that they play on Saturday and Sunday nights.

John Paul Nerk Twins

A Nerk

They made posters and the Nerk Twins were born. According to Bill Heckle, owner of The Cavern Club in Liverpool, “In Liverpool, a nerk is a derogatory term for somebody completely without street cred.” Knowing John’s sense of humor, perhaps it was his self-deprecating idea.

John Paul Nerk Twins

Professional advice

Mike Robbins had been an entertainments manager hosting talent contests and asked them what song they’d start with? Paul said “Be Bop A Lula.” Mike asked them if they could do anything more upbeat. Upbeat was the best way to start a show. According to Paul, they took that advice to heart and used it for arranging future shows.

So they decided to play a cover of Les Paul and Mary Ford’s “The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise.” It’s the Les Paul and Mary Ford version from 1953 that you hear at the top of today’s entry.

John Paul Nerk Twins

No relics

No one recorded the Nerk Twins. And the few patrons who heard them those April nights cared. According to Mike Robbins, one of the locals said, “They were a load of bloody rubbish but they brought a bit of life into the pub.”

What about those handmade posters? No one has ever found one and I suspect that if someone does it’ll be worth a few bob.

John Paul Nerk Twins
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John Paul Record Ballad

John Paul Record Ballad

John and Cynthia

John Lennon met Cynthia Powell wen they were students at Liverpool Art College in 1957. In 1962, she became pregnant. John apparently said “There’s only one thing for it Cyn – we’ll have to get married” and on  August 23 that’s exactly what they did.  

On the verge of succeeding as a band particularly with many female teenagers, manager Brian Epstein kept the marriage low key.

On April 8, 1963 Julian Lennon was born.

John Paul Record Ballad

John meets Yoko

On November 7, 1966, John  visited the Indica Gallery in London. He met Yoko Ono displaying her art.

Ballad of John and Yoko
poster for Yoko’s exhibition

Of that meeting, John later reflected, The old gang of mine was over the moment I met her. I didn’t consciously know it at the time, but that’s what was going on. As soon as I met her, that was the end of the boys, but it so happened that the boys were well known and weren’t just the local guys at the bar.” (from All We Are Saying, by David Sheff)

On November 8, 1968 Cynthia Lennon and John divorced.  Cynthia had filed for divorce in August 1968 no longer able to ignore John and Yoko’s relationship.

Miscarriage/Marriage

On November 21, 1968,  Yoko suffered a miscarriage.

On March 20, 1969 John and Yoko married in Gibraltar.

John Paul Record Ballad

Ballad of John and Yoko

On April 14, 1969, John Lennon and Paul McCartney recorded “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” John had written the song in the days following his and Yoko’s marriage. Work on the Let It Be album had often been contentious among the then less-than-Fab Four.

A break-up was imminent, but Paul McCartney later reflected, “John was in an impatient mood so I was happy to help. It’s quite a good song; it has always surprised me how with just the two of us on it, it ended up sounding like The Beatles.” (from Many Years From Now by Barry Miles)

They recorded the song at Abbey Road’s Studio Three in a session beginning at 2:30 pm and ending at 9 pm.

It was then mixed for stereo, and was finished and ready for release by 11 pm. According to George Martin, Yoko Ono was present in the studio, although she appears to have played no part in the recording.

John Paul Record Ballad

George Martin

George Martin later said in Anthology, “I enjoyed working with John and Yoko on The Ballad Of John And Yoko. It was just the two of them with Paul. When you think about it, in a funny kind of way it was the beginning of their own label, and their own way of recording. It was hardly a Beatle track. It was a kind of thin end of the wedge, as far as they were concerned. John had already mentally left the group anyway, and I think that was just the beginning of it all.” 

In 1966, John comments regarding the Beatles and Christianity had gotten no reaction in the UK but blew up in the American press. Some radio stations refused to play Beatle music.

Aware that the Ballad line “Christ you know it ain’t easy” could re-ignite that controversy, the song was kept “secret” until its release.

Apple released it on May 30 in the UK and on June 4 in the US. True to expectations, some top-40 US stations refused to play it and some played a version with the word “Christ” reversed in an attempt to avoid criticism.

Ironically, the Spanish government had no issue with the word Christ, but did have a problem with the line “you can get married in Gibraltar near Spain” as Spain considered Gibraltar part of Spain not the UK.

Ballad of John and Yoko
cover of John and Yoko’s wedding album

 

The lyrics tell the story:

Standing in the dock at Southampton
Trying to get to Holland or France
The man in the mac said
You’ve got to go back
You know they didn’t even give us a chance(chorus) Christ you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify meFinally made the plane into Paris
Honeymooning down by the Seine
Peter Brown call to say
You can make it O.K.
You can get married in Gibraltar near Spain(chorus)Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton
Talking in our beds for a week
The newspapers said Say what’re you doing in bed
I said we’re only trying to get us some peace(chorus)Saving up your money for a rainy day
Giving all your clothes to charity
Last night the wife said
Oh boy when you’re dead
You don’t take nothing with you but your soul, thinkMade a lightning trip to Vienna
Eating chocolate cake in a bag
The newspapers said
She’s gone to his head
They look just like two gurus in drag(chorus)Caught the early plane back to London
Fifty acorns tied in a sack
The men from the press
Said we wish you success
It’s good to have the both of you back(chorus)

John Paul Record Ballad

John Paul Record Ballad
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November 29 Beatles Singles

November 29 Beatles singles

November 29 Beatles Singles
Beatles 1963

The way most fans first heard the Beatles was by way of their singles, those little records with the big holes. By late 1963, the Beatles were exploding in the UK and the Ed Sullivan fuse was lighted for early 1964.

They recorded “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on October 17, 1963 and Parlophone released it in the UK on November 29, 1963, more than two months before that famous Sullivan Show appearance. There were more than one million advance orders. With such numbers, it must have hit #1 immediately, yes?

November 29 Beatles Singles

No

Their hit “She Loves You” blocked “I Want to Hold Your Hand” for two weeks before it finally reached #1 on the British charts. Once there, it stayed for five weeks and remained in the UK top fifty for twenty-one weeks in total.

Capital records released “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the US on December 26. With great backing by Capital (unlike their previous US releases). It became the Billboard #1 single on February 1, where it stayed for seven weeks to be replaced by, you guessed it, “She Loves You.”

November 29 Beatles Singles

Exactly six years later…

A lot of troubled water had passed under the Beatle bridge between the UK release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and the double-A sided “Come Together/Something” hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 exactly six years later on November 29, 1969.

John Lennon wrote “Come Together” though writing credits showed the traditional Lennon/McCartney authorship.

Beatles singles
Come Together/Something

According to Lennon, “The thing was created in the studio. It’s gobbledygook; Come Together was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t come up with one. But I came up with this, Come Together, which would’ve been no good to him – you couldn’t have a campaign song like that, right?”

For a more contemporary view of the song and Lennon, see >>> Imagining John Lennon, In a Time Of Anguish

November 29 Beatles Singles
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