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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 28, 1967

George Harrison is fined for speeding

George Harrison received a £6 fine on this day for breaking the speed limit in his black Mini Cooper car.

He had been caught speeding in Roehampton Lane, Putney, London. The fine was issued in the city's South Western Court.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 27, 1967

The Beatles taking a break today

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 26, 1967

Studio Two, EMI Studios in London

A 4:00 to 8:00 pm session which saw the overdubbing of a snare drum roll by Ringo for the opening of "All You Need Is Love" followed by final mono mixing. Backed with "Baby, You're a Rich Man", the song was issued as a single in Britain on Friday, July 7, 1967.

Here and elsewhere, it cruised effortlessly to Number One. With the Our World promotion, it could hardly have failed. The release of "All You Need Is Love" occurred just five weeks after the issue of the LP Sgt. Pepper and yet the single did not appear on the album. Nor were any of the album's songs issued as singles. Such a quality and quantity of output was the understandable envy of all the Beatles' contemporaries.

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 25, 1967

The Beatles on Our World: All You Need Is Love

With seemingly unstoppable momentum during the summer of 1967, on May 18th, The Beatles signed a contract to represent the BBC, and Britain, on Our World, the world's first live television satellite link-up to be seen by approximately 400 million people across five continents.

The Beatles' appearance was announced four days later, on May 22nd, John Lennon wrote the song All You Need Is Love especially for the occasion, to the brief given by the BBC: it had to be simple so that viewers around the world would understand it.

"We were big enough to command an audience of that size, and it was for love. It was for love and bloody peace. It was a fabulous time. I even get excited now when I realise that's what it was for: peace and love, people putting flowers in guns." (Ringo Starr)

Our World took place on June 25, 1967. Between the announcement and the broadcast date, The Beatles recorded the rhythm track and some basic vocals.

The satellite link-up was devised by the BBC, which took the idea to the European Broadcasting Union in 1966. The project editor was BBC executive Aubrey Singer. Personalities, including Maria Callas and Pablo Picasso, from 19 nations performed in separate items from their respective countries. The event, which lasted two-and-a-half hours, had the largest television audience to date.

No politicians or heads of state were allowed to take part in the broadcast, and no pre-recorded videotape or film was allowed. Around 10,000 technicians, producers and translators helped make the event happen; each country had its own announcers, with translators narrating where necessary.

For the first time ever, linking five continents and bringing man face to face with mankind, in places as far apart as Canberra and Cape Kennedy, Moscow and Montreal, Samarkand and Söderfors, Takamatsu and Tunis.

National broadcasting companies from 14 countries provided material for the 125-minute programme, which was shown in black-and-white. The organizations involved were: Australia (ABC), Austria (ORF), Canada (CBC), Denmark (DZR), France (ORTF), Italy (RAI), Japan (NHK), Mexico (TS Mexicana), Spain (TVE), Sweden (SRT), Tunisia (RTT), United Kingdom (BBC), USA (NET) and West Germany (ARD), and the programme was also shown - without contributing their own content - in Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland.

In the week before broadcast, seven Eastern bloc countries - led by the Soviet Union - pulled out, apparently in protest to the Western nations' response to the Six Day War.

The Beatles' day began at 2pm with a camera rehearsal in EMI's Studio One. An outside broadcast van was situated in the studio car park, which relayed the signal around the world via the Intelsat I (Early Bird), Intelsat II (Lana Bird) and ATS-1 satellites.

For the live performance, which took place at 9.36pm GMT, The Beatles played along to their pre-recorded backing track. The vocals, bass guitar, guitar solo, drums and 13-piece orchestra were live. To reduce the chances of on-air errors, the event was carefully arranged, although care was taken to make it seem spontaneous.

The televised sequence of events seem a little corny now and studio tapes reveal the considerable rehearsal time which went into the "spontaneous" performance. Using material taped from 5:00 pm up to the actual live sequence, Steve Race introduced the Beatles playing and singing the basic song, the cameras then cut out to the control room where George Martin suggested it was time to bring the orchestra, the musicians filed in, and Mal Evans got into the picture by collecting empty tea cups.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 24, 1967

Now just one day from The Big Event, the Beatles and EMI threw open the usually closed Abbey Road studio doors to more than a hundred journalists and photographers for a press-call that took up most of the late-morning. Between 2:00 and 4:00 pm there was a BBC camera rehearsal for the Beatles and their 13 plus conductor, and then between 5:00 and 8:00 pm everyone settled down to tape overdubs onto the "All You Need Is Love" rhythm track, made especially important by a new decision to swiftly issue "All You Need Is Love" as a single after the worldwide television broadcast.

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 23, 1967

Studio Three, EMI Studios in London

Enter the orchestra for the first time in the "All You Need Is Love" story, recording a number of takes as overdubs onto a reduction of take ten in this 8:00 to 11:00 pm session.

John Lennon walking out of EMI Studios, in London (see below) after the first recording of All You Need Is Love. The song would be globally broadcasted by satellite two days later for Our World, the first live global television link .

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 22, 1967

The New Yorker, June 24, 1967 P. 22 - By Lillian Ross

Talk story about the Beatles' thirteenth and latest (June, 1967) record album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which has sold 1,200,000 copies to date, with 95,000 more in back orders. John, Paul, George, and Ringo appear in old-timey band costumes amongst the faces of many other artists on the cover. On this record, the Beatles (with Paul singing most of the solos) create the effect of a live show. Mentions songs on the new album and lists previous Beatles' albums. There was a slump in the Beatles' popularity about a year ago. Now "Sgt. Pepper" is out and it's a big success. WMCA disc jockey Joe O'Brien was the first to play it on the air. O'Brien said listeners are unprepared because this album is not a teen-age album, but a terribly intellectural one. The college students are now the hard-core Beatles fans. This album is really a cantata. Teen-agers don't want that. Murray-the-K said the album is positive proof of the Beatles' musical maturity. The reporter spoke to people buying the album at Sam Goody's and at the Colony Record Center. There Lawrence LeFevre lectured about the album: In musical substance, "Sgt. Pepper" is a bigger step forward, from a musical point of view, than "Revolver." New and interesting musical structures appear in combinations of rhythms, chord progressions, instrumentations, and maintaining the flow of melody. This album is a whole, little world created by the Beatles. The Beatles, like Duke Ellington, are unclassifiable musicians.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 21, 1967

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

From 4:30-5:00 pm, in Room 53, without the Beatles in attendence, "All You Need Is Love" was mixed into mono. Between 7:00 and 11:30 pm, the job was done again, this time with the Beatles on hand. An acetate pressing of this latter mix was given to Derek Burrell-Davis, director of the BBC outside broadcast team for June 25th.

Note: A studio two session booked for the evening of June 22nd did not take place.

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicles - Mark Lewisohn

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 20, 1967

Paul McCartney admits taking LSD (Interview from June 19, 1967)

Paul McCartney was the first British pop star to publicly admit using LSD, in chatting with a reporter who had enquired about it. Paul's LSD quote appeared in Queen, a UK-based magazine at the time. The quote was also then reprinted by Life magazine in their June 16th 1967 feature, 'The New Far-Out Beatles: They're grown men now and creating extraordinary musical sounds' by Thomas Thompson.

In both articles, Paul McCartney was quoted as saying, "After I took it (LSD), it opened my eyes. We only use one-tenth of our brain. Just think what we could accomplish if we could only tap that hidden part. It would mean a whole new world."

ITV seized the opportunity to interview Paul about this public admission. The controversy would become a springboard for discussing the responsibilities of celebrities and journalists.

The following interview was filmed by ITV on June 19th 1967, in Paul's backyard garden on Cavendish Avenue, and would be telecast in Britain later that evening.

Paul had just celebrated his 25th birthday the previous day. The Beatles' latest LP 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' was number one on the album charts -- released less than three weeks prior on June 1st.

Q: "Paul, how often have you taken LSD?"

PAUL: (pause) "About four times."

Q: "And where did you get it from?"

PAUL: "Well, you know, if I was to say where I got it from, you know, I mean... it's illegal and everything... it's silly to say that, you know. So I'd rather not say that."

Q: "Don't you believe that this is a matter which you should have kept private?"

PAUL: "Mmm, but the thing is -- I was asked a question by a newspaper, and the decision was whether to tell a lie or tell him the truth. I decided to tell him the truth... but I really didn't want to say anything, you know, because if I had my way I wouldn't have told anyone. I'm not trying to spread the word about this. But the man from the newspaper is the man from the mass medium. I'll keep it a personal thing if he does too you know... if he keeps it quiet. But he wanted to spread it so it's his responsibility, you know, for spreading it not mine."

Q: "But you're a public figure and you said it in the first place and you must have known it would make the newspaper."

PAUL: "Yeah, but to say it is only to tell the truth. I'm telling the truth, you know. I don't know what everyone's so angry about."

Q: "Do you think that you have now encouraged your fans to take drugs?"

PAUL: (clearly and calmly) "I don't think it'll make any difference. I don't think my fans are going to take drugs just because I did, you know. But the thing is -- that's not the point anyway. I was asked whether I had or not. And from then on, the whole bit about how far it's gonna go and how many people it's going to encourage is up to the newspapers, and up to you on television. I mean, you're spreading this now, at this moment. This is going into all the homes in Britain. And I'd rather it didn't. But you're asking me the question -- You want me to be honest -- I'll be honest."

Q: "But as a public figure, surely you've got the responsibility to..."

PAUL: "...No, it's you who've got the responsibility. You've got the responsibility not to spread this NOW. You know, I'm quite prepared to keep it as a very personal thing if you will too. If you'll shut up about it, I will."

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 19, 1967

Studio Three, EMI Studios in London

A 7:00 pm to 1:45 am session in which the Beatles overdubbed lead and backing vocals, drums, piano and banjo onto a newly made copy of the "All You Need is Love" take ten.

Note: A studio two session booked for the evening of June 20th did not take place.

 

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicles - Mark Lewisohn