Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 20, 1967

The Chris Barber Band records Catcall

Chappell Recording Studios, London
Producers: Chris Barber, Giorgio Gomelsky, Reggie Kind

During the Quarry Men days Paul McCartney had written a jazz-style instrumental titled Catswalk, which was never properly recorded by The Beatles. A rehearsal from late 1962 at the Cavern Club had been recorded, however.

McCartney knew band leader Chris Barber, who played trombone with his trad jazz group, The Chris Barber Band, and decided to offer him the song. The band recorded a version at London's Marquee Club in July 1967, but McCartney felt it could be done better.

The session took place on this day at Chappell Recording Studios at 52 Maddox Street, London. The retitled track was recorded as Catcall. The tune was given an over-the-top arrangement complete with a chorus of catcalls: McCartney and Jane Asher were among the people taking part in what was evidently a fun session.

McCartney can also be heard calling "Please play it slower" before the half-speed coda, and singing the chorus of "For he's a jolly good fellow". He is likely to have also played organ on the recording.

Catcall was released as a single in the UK on 20 October 1967, with McCartney given a composer credit. Despite its impeccable pedigree, it failed to chart.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 19, 1967

The Beatles discuss purchasing a Greek island

All four members of The Beatles met in London on this day to discuss the Magical Mystery Tour film project, and their plans to purchase an island hideaway in Greece.

The Greek island idea was John Lennon's. He had decided that the group and their friends and family should live on the same island, in four separate villas with a recording studio and entertainment complex in the middle. There should, he said, also be housing for staff and visitors.

We're all going to live there, perhaps forever, just coming home for visits. Or it might just be six months a year. It'll be fantastic, all on our own on this island. There some little houses which we'll do up and knock together and live communally. (John Lennon - Anthology)

Alexix Mardis, a Greek friend of Lennon's known as Magic Alex, arranged for The Beatles to look for properties in the country. Mardas flew to Greece and found an island, often cited as Leslo, although such an island appears not to exist. The island is said to have had around 80 acres surrounded by four habitable islands, a small fishing village, beaches, 16 acres of olive groves, and was priced at £90,000.

We were all going to live together now, in a huge estate. The four Beatles and Brian would have their network at the centre of the compound: a dome of glass and iron tracery (not unlike the old Crystal Palace) above the mutual creative/play area, from which arbours and avenues would lead off like spokes from a wheel to the four vast and incredibly beautiful separate living units. In the outer grounds, the houses of the inner clique: Neil, Mal, Terry and Derek, complete with partners, families and friends. Norfolk, perhaps, there was a lot of empty land there. What an idea! No thought of wind or rain or flood, and as for cold... there would be no more cold when we were through with the world. We would set up a chain reaction so strong that nothing could stand in our way. And why the hell not? 'They've tried everything else,' said John realistically. 'Wars, nationalism, fascism, communism, capitalism, nastiness, religion - none of it works. So why not this?' (Derek Taylor, Anthology)

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 18, 1967

The Beatles enjoying a summer break

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 17, 1967

US single release: All You Need Is Love

The Beatles' All You Need Is Love was issued in the USA 10 days after it was released in the United Kingdom.

As with the UK version, the b-side was Baby You're A Rich Man, which had originally been intended for the Yellow Submarine film.

All You Need Is Love entered the charts on 29 July, spent a week at number one, and stayed in the charts for nine weeks. Its catalogue number was Capitol 5964.

The song also appeared on the LP version of Magical Mystery Tour, which was released in the USA on 27 November.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 16, 1967

The Beatles enjoying their summer break

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 15, 1967

The Beatles enjoying their summer break

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 14, 1967

The Beatles enjoying their summer break

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 13, 1967

The Beatles enjoying a summer break

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 12, 1967

The Beatles taking a break.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 11, 1967

The Beatles enjoying their summer break.