Beatles 50th Blog posts of '2016' 'August'

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 15, 1966

Paul McCartney watches experimental music in London

The Beatles each pursued individual projects and outside interests during the late summer of 1966. On this evening Paul McCartney attended a performance of experimental music at the Royal College of Art in London.

The performers were the group AMM, who at the time were joined by composer Cornelius Cardew. The audience, which numbered fewer than 20 people, was invited to participate, and McCartney made occasional sounds using a radiator and beer mug.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 14, 1966

George and Pattie Harrison travel to India

George Harrison and his wife Pattie flew from London to Bombay (Mumbai) in India on this day.

The purpose of the visit was for George to take sitar lessons with Ravi Shankar, and for the couple to study yoga. The Harrisons stayed at the Taj Mahal hotel in Bombay, under the names Mr and Mrs Sam Wells.

I went to India in September 1966. When I had first come across a record of Ravi Shankar's I had a feeling that, somewhere, I was going to meet him. It happened that I met him in London in June, at the house of Ayana Deva Angadi, founder of the Asian Music Circle. An Indian man had called me up and said that Ravi was going to be there. The press had been trying to put me and him together since I used the sitar on Norwegian Wood. They started thinking: 'A photo opportunity - a Beatle with an Indian.' So they kept trying to put us together, and I said 'no', because I knew I'd meet him under the proper circumstances, which I did. He also came round to my house, and I had a couple of lessons from him on how to sit and hold the sitar.

So in September, after touring and while John was making How I Won the War, I went to India for about six weeks. First I flew to Bombay and hung out there. Again, because of the mania, people soon found out I was there.

I stayed in a Victorian hotel, the Taj Mahal, and was starting to learn the sitar. Ravi would give me lessons, and he'd also have one of his students sit with me. My hips were killing me from sitting on the floor, and so Ravi brought a yoga teacher to start showing me the physical yoga exercises.

It was a fantastic time. I would go out and look at temples and go shopping. We travelled all over and eventually went up to Kashmir and stayed on a houseboat in the middle of the Himalayas. It was incredible. I'd wake up in the morning and a little Kashmiri fellow, Mr Butt, would bring us tea and biscuits and I could hear Ravi in the next room, practising...

It was the first feeling I'd ever had of being liberated from being a Beatle or a number. It comes back to The Prisoner with Patrick McGoohan: 'I am not a number.' In our society we tend, in a subtle way, to number ourselves and each other, and the government does so, too. 'What's your Social Security number?' is one of the first things they ask you in America. To suddenly find yourself in a place where it feels like 5000 BC is wonderful.

I went to the city of Benares, where there was a religious festival going on, called the Ramila. It was out on a site of 300 to 500 acres, and there were thousands of holy men there for a month-long festival. During this festival the Maharajah feeds everybody and there are camps of different people, including the sadhus --renunciates. In England, in Europe or the West, these holy men would be called vagrants and be arrested, but in a place like India they roam around. They don't have a job, they don't have a Social Security number, they don't even have a name other than collectively - they're called sannyasis, and some of them look like Christ. They're really spiritual; and there are also a lot of loonies who look like Allen Ginsberg. That's where he got his whole trip from - with the frizzy hair, and smoking little pipes called chillums, and smoking hashish. The British tried for years to stop Indians smoking hashish, but they'd been smoking it for too long for it to be stopped.

I saw all kinds of groups of people, a lot of them chanting, and it was a mixture of unbelievable things, with the Maharajah coming through the crowd on the back of an elephant, with the dust rising. It gave me a great buzz.

George Harrison

The couple returned to England on October 22, 1966.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 13, 1966

Here’s a happy picture of Ringo and Paul, together with Tom Jones and Dusty Springfield, the winners, ‘with their awards at the Melody Maker Pop Poll luncheon in the GPO Tower restaurant.’ Maybe we can see London behind, through the windows of the Post Office Tower? 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 12, 1966

Beatles Car Crash announcement during Monkees premiere episode Sept 12 1966

There are now a few references on various Message Boards, including NIR, about an announcement during the Monkees premiere episode about a car crash involving one of the Beatles on Sept 12 1966. This announcement apparently took place in the NY/NJ/PA area only and then there was no follow up after the initial newsbreak.  Does anyone remember this?



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 11, 1966

"Paul is dead" is an urban legend and conspiracy theory alleging that Paul McCartney of the English rock band the Beatles died in 1966 and was secretly replaced by a look-alike.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 10, 1966

On Revolver, the Beatles continued the musical evolution that would reach its apex on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Most consider Sgt. Pepper‘s to be the band’s masterpiece, but when asked about his favorite Beatles album, producer George Martin says, “Pepper’s is one of them, but not the favorite. I like Rubber Soul and I love Revolver.”

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 9, 1966

The Beatles were taking a break.............

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 8, 1966

The Beatles were lounging around (except John) after the long US tour.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 7, 1966

The Beatles were taking a break after the US Tour.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 6, 1966

John Lennon begins wearing ‘granny’ glasses

In preparation for his role in Richard Lester's film How I Won The War, John Lennon was given an army-style haircut and a pair of new glasses to wear.

Lennon's haircut took place in the breakfast room of the bar The Inn On The Heath hotel in Celle, near Hanover, West Germany. The short-back-and-sides, performed by 28-year-old German hairdresser Klaus Baruch, made headlines around the world.

Baruch shaved off Lennon's sideburns, swept back his fringe and greased it down. The cut hair was later burnt to prevent it being sold.

Although the hairstyle proved a temporary measure, the old-fashioned round National Health 'granny' glasses quickly became a trademark of his public image. They became soon fashionable, and he retained the look until the end of his life.