Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 17, 1968


In November 1968, George Harrison stopped by during a taping of the CBS-TV program 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,' for an impromptu cameo appearance. In this brief chat which would air on November 17th, George joked with Tommy and Dick about the on-going network censorship of their show.

In previous weeks, the Smothers Brothers had exclusive Amercian-TV rights for airing the promotional films for 'Hey Jude' and 'Revolution,' the Beatles latest no. 1 single.

Tommy Smothers would later remember: "Beatle George Harrison was on this show. He makes a surprise appearance and surprised everybody." Dick Smothers added: "Back then in that year, The Beatles were the biggest thing in the entire universe. And to have George Harrison just stop on by to wish us luck and say 'Go on, keep doing it,' it was a real coup."

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was a cutting edge program featuring top-name musical guests and politcal satire. The program was often censored for politcal reasons which baffled Tom Smothers, who contractually had creative control over the scripts. The show would be cancelled in 1969 because of tensions with the network - tensions stemming from the fact that the show's political views did not agree with those of the CBS network president at the time. The Smothers Brothers would sue CBS on the grounds that the network did not have proper grounds to terminate their mutual contract. In the end, the Smothers Brothers did prevail in that court case.

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour ran from February 1967 until it was cancelled in April 1969. Staff writers on the show included Rob Reiner and a young up-and-coming Steve Martin.

DICK SMOTHERS: "Tommy has a special guest and he'd like to introduce him right now."

TOMMY SMOTHERS: "That's right. I have a Beatle!"

(sudden surprised screams from the girls in the audience)

DICK: "Yea, but it's not the kind of 'beetle' you would expect it to be."

(audience moans with disappointment)

TOMMY: "It's the kind of Beatle that I think you hoped it would be! Ladies and gentlemen, Mister George Harrison!"

(girls scream as George runs out, audience roars, excited ovation continues until George quiets them)

TOMMY: "Several weeks ago we had on... Your people did Hey Jude."

GEORGE: (sings) "Heey Juuude!"

TOMMY: "And Revolution."

(audience applauds and cheers)

DICK: "Beautiful. We thought... Tommy and I both thought that Hey Jude was the best presentation we've ever seen of The Beatles. And we're glad it was on our show."

GEORGE: "Yea. So are we!"


GEORGE: (jokingly to Tom) "Have you met my brother Dick?"

GEORGE: (introducing them to each other) "Let me introduce you... this is Tommy, and this is my brother Dick."

(laughter as they shake hands)

TOMMY: (to Dick) "I've enjoyed your work."

DICK: (to Tom) "You look different in person."

GEORGE: "It's all the makeup. Too much makeup."

TOMMY: (to George) "You have something important?"

GEORGE: "Something very important to say on American television."

TOMMY: "You know, a lot of times we don't have opportunity to say anything important... BECAUSE it's American television."


TOMMY: "Everytime you try to say something important they uhh..." (makes gesture of pushing a censor button)

DICK: (makes gesture of cutting across throat)


GEORGE: "Well, whether you can say it or not, keep TRYING to say it!"

TOMMY: "That's what's important?"

GEORGE: "You got that? Yea. It's very important."

(someone off-screen hurries them to finish)

GEORGE: (to the person off-screen) "Cue, cue, cue... Aye, just a minute! Just a minute!"

TOMMY: (to the stage crew) "Wait a second..."

GEORGE: "OK... Cue the clap NOW!!"

(audience applauds on cue)

GEORGE: (bangs hands together fast) "Yay!!"

TOMMY: "Ladies and gentlemen, Mister George Harrison."

Source: Transcribed by from video copy of the television program

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 16, 1968


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 15, 1968

George Harrisson was a guest on The Smothers Brother CBS variety show on tis date filmed at CBS-TV Studio in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Harrison's appearance on the show took place in front of a live audience. The other guests were The Committee, Dion, Jennifer Warnes and Donovan. Harrison wore a leather jacket, frilly yellow shirt and green striped trousers.

The show was broadcast two days later, on Sunday, November 17th.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 14, 1968

Hey Jude - Still Number One!

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 13, 1968

Hey Jude - Still Number One!

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 12, 1968

Electronic Sound by George Harrison

Today George was introduced to synthesizer Bernie Krause the day before while producing sessions for Jackie Lomax's album, "Is This What You Want".

Harrison was very interested and after the session ended asked Jackie to demonstrated its range of sounds. Krause duly remained in the studio with Harrison into the early hours of November 12th.

Krause's demonstration was recorded, and was later edited down to a 25-minute piece featuring two tracks of Moog sounds. The recording was subsequently released by Harrison as No Time Or Space on his second solo album Electronic Sound.

Krause later launched legal action against Harrison, claiming that the recording was made without his knowledge or consent, and was issued without due acknowledgement. Krause's name had originally featured on the cover of Electronic Sound, but was painted over at Harrison's assistance. The album did, however, carry the words "Assisted by Bernie Krause".

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 11, 1968

Hey Jude - Number One!

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 10, 1968

Hey Jude - Number One!

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 9, 1968

“Hey Jude” is the #1 single in the US for the seventh week in a row.

At the Same time George Harrison produced Is This What You Want? at Sound Recorders Studio for Jackie Lomax's debut album.

It was released by Apple in March 1969. During this day's session musician Paul Beaver added synthesizer to the song I Fall Inside Your Eyes. Harrison didn't perform on the song.

The core set of musicians on the album were Harrison on rhythm guitar, Joe Osborne on bass guitar, Larry Knechtel on piano, electric piano and organ, and Hal Blaine on drums. They were joined on this day by Paul Beaver on synthesizer, and together recorded the songs Baby You're A Lover and How Can You Say Goodbye.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: November 8, 1968

Sad Day - John and Cynthia are divorced

Cynthia Lennon was granted a divorce in the London Divorce Court, ending her marriage to John Lennon.

The reason given for the action was Lennon's adultery with Yoko Ono. Cynthia was also granted permission to retain custody of Julian, her son with John.

Here is what Cynthia said: "Our decree nisi was granted on November 8, 1968. I was summoned to the divorce court and went alone, driven their by loyal Les Anthony who, although he was now working solely for John, was still a good friend to me. Walking into court beside my lawyer was terrifying. The place was packed with the press and I had to swear in front of them under oath that my marriage had broken down irretrievably, that my husband had publicly admitted adultery and that Yoko was pregnant by him.

Throughout this awful, surreal experience I felt humiliated and painfully aware that I was alone.

Afterward I fled home and collapsed, sick with apprehension about the future. I had no idea how I would cope and still found it hard to believe that, after ten years together, I had been severed from John's life with a few brief words from a judge in a public court. I should have hated John for what he had put me through. I was certainly angry with him and bitterly hurt. But I couldn't hate him. Despite everything, I loved him still."

During the case John Lennon submitted assets worth £750,000, although this was likely to have been an low estimate. From this he offered Cynthia £100,000, raised from an initial offer of £75,000.

Of the £100,000, £25,000 was to be allocated to a house for Cynthia and Julian, and the remainder was to support the pair until Julian turned 21. A further £100,000 was put into a trust fund for Julian.

Cynthia was permitted to make withdrawals from the fund for school fees, subject to approval from Lennon and Ono. It was also agreed that, should John have more children, the fund would be shared equally among them.