Beatles A Day in the Life Blog posts of '1969' 'December'

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 10, 1969

George Harrison had joined a number of dates of the English tour by husband and wife act Delaney & Bonnie. On this date the tour moved on to Copenhagen in Denmark, and Harrison again appeared as part of the band.

Delaney & Bonnie performed for three consecutive nights at the Falkoner Theatre in the Danish capital, and Harrison was there for each. They were the last tour dates he joined them for.

The Beatles had opened their world tour at another Copenhagen venue on 4 June 1964, with Jimmie Nicol standing in for an unwell Ringo Starr.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 9, 1969

UK album release: A Collection Of Beatles Oldies

Since 1966 was to have no new Beatles long-player released for the UK Christmas market, EMI decided to release its first greatest hits compilation.

A Collection Of Beatles Oldies contained eight tracks which had previously appeared on UK albums, and a further eight singles tracks which were issued here on LP for the first time. Just one song, Bad Boy, was previously unreleased. This made the album an essential purchase for 1966 Beatles completists, although it was less value for money for other fans.

The album was issued as Parlophone PMC 7016 (mono) and PCS 7016 (stereo). It entered the UK charts on 10 December 1966, and peaked at number seven. In all it spent 34 weeks on the charts.

A Collection Of Beatles Oldies was the first Beatles album to fail to reach number one. At the time Revolver was still selling strongly, and the top seller that Christmas was the soundtrack to The Sound Of Music.


The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 8, 1969

Ringo made an appearance on a television special celebrating George Martin. It was the last Beatles-related recording session of 1969.

The show, With A Little Help From My Friends, featured a number of artists that had worked with Martin.

Because of Musicians’ Union rules on miming, it was necessary to re-record parts of Octopus’s Garden, which Starr had agreed to mime to in the show. The union had established a ban on lip-syncing on British television, but by re-recording parts of the song in the studio it was possible to make the appearance that the song was a live performance.

Because the Beatles would not agree to reconvene in the studio, Starr attended alongside three session musicians. A mix of Octopus’s Garden excluding all but drums, rhythm guitar, backing vocals and bubble effects had been made by George Martin on 2 December, and during this session new overdubs were added.

The overdubs were recorded while a copy of the 2 December mix was made. It took 10 attempts to get right, and featured new vocals, piano, lead guitar and bass guitar. The names of the session musicians are not known.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 7, 1969

George Harrison was performing on the final night of the UK tour of husband and wife team from the US, Delaney & Bonnie. George was there for five of the tour’s six dates, playing two shows each night. He appeared in Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool and Croydon. He didn’t perform at the Newcastle shows on December 5th, due to his mother being ill.

Several of the shows were also recorded for possible album release – the result was 1970’s Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour With Eric Clapton. Harrison was credited as “Mysterioso”.

Harrison had previously performed at Croydon’s Fairfield Hall with The Beatles on September 7, 1963.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 6, 1969

Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers made a joint appearance on the Frost On Sunday television show on this day for the promotion of their film The Magic Christian.

The show was broadcast later that night, from 11.10pm-midnight, on London Weekend Television. It was filmed in colour in Studio One at Wembley Studios in London. Also appearing on the show was Sellers' fellow Goon Show member Spike Milligan, who also appeared in the film.

The clip begins with Sellers explaining the subject and background of the film. Milligan's scene is then shown, after which he joins Starr and Sellers. A series of silly voices, character parts and visual gags inevitably follows, leaving Frost struggling to get a word in.

Likewise, Starr is effectively sidelined, although he and Sellers do sing a brief version of Octopus's Garden. Another clip is then shown, of the Sotheby's auction scene featuring John Cleese.

The clip survives in audio only; no version with visuals is known to exist.


The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 5, 1969

More sessions after the split......

After the first session on December 2nd, this was the second day of stereo mixing for the US compilation Hey Jude.

It took place from 2.30-5.15pm, and began with two mixes of Hey Jude. Although the song had previously been mixed in stereo, it was evidently felt that these were unsuited to the US market.

Revolution, which had been the b-side of the Hey Jude single in 1968, had never previously been mixed in stereo. It took just one attempt to achieve a satisfactory mix on this day. 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 4, 1969

Meanwhile, while George and Ringo are doing their own thing, the third day of a five-day shoot for the BBC documentary 24 Hours: The World Of John And Yoko began at Tittenhurst Park before moving on to the Apple headquarters in Savile Row, London.

On this day filming began with John Lennon eating in bed and making a telephone call to arrange a visit to Toronto, Canada, where he intended to sign his Bag One lithographs. An exhibition was being planned, although it never took place. The 35-minute documentary was first shown from 10.30pm on BBC 1 on 15 December, and extracts were also used in the 1988 documentary Imagine: John Lennon.

Lennon and Yoko Ono were also filmed viewing a print of The Beatles performing Some Other Guy in October 1962, which had been chosen for inclusion in the ATV programme Man Of The Decade.

In the afternoon the Plastic Ono Band held a recording session at EMI Studios, Abbey Road. This was also filmed, and some of the footage was included in the 24 Hours documentary.

Later, at Apple, Lennon and Ono are captured signing documents and giving interviews, one of which was with Alan Smith of the New Musical Express. The couple also gave an interview to Japanese radio, for which they offered to donate a selection of Plastic Ono Band records. Another interview was for radio presenter Stuart Henry, and involved word association games.

The longest Apple interview from this day was with New York Times reporter Gloria Emerson. This confrontational encounter saw Emerson challenge Lennon and Ono on their peace initiatives, calling them self-promotional stunts. Lennon countered the accusation by describing them as preferable to "manifestos written by a lot of half-witted intellectuals" that were ineffective and went unread.

Lennon points out that Give Peace A Chance had been sung by hundreds of protesters at a recent anti-war moratorium in Washington, DC. This fails to sway Emerson, however, and she eventually walks out, interrupting Ono with the words: "Mrs Lennon, we're boring each other, so I'll go away. Happily."

More footage from this day was issued online by Ono in 2007. It began with a 43-second segment featuring Lennon playing Blue Suede Shoes, the first track from Live Peace In Toronto 1969 on the office turntable. A second clip involved Lennon telling a journalist that he and Ono didn't object to being criticised for having long hair or appearing nude if it helped reduce the attacks on their peace campaigning.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 3, 1969

Yes, the Beatles are no longer........the Beatles.

George Harrison's enjoyed his second night on tour with Delaney & Bonnie, following his opening shows in the night before in Bristol.

Harrison performed on five of the tour's six dates, playing two shows each night. He appeared in Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool and Croydon. He didn't perform at the Newcastle shows on December 5th, instead briefly leaving the tour to visit his unwell mother.

Several of the shows were also recorded for possible album release – the result was 1970's Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour With Eric Clapton. Harrison was credited as "Mysterioso".

Harrison had previously performed at Birmingham's Town Hall way back on June 4, 1963, during The Beatles' tour with Roy Orbison.


The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 2, 1969

Today stereo mixes of Hey Jude were worked on in preparation for the release of the US compilatio.

The songs were Lady Madonna and Rain, which had previously only been mixed in mono. Each was mixed just once in this 2.30-5.30pm session.

A new stereo mix of Octopus's Garden was also made, but for a different purpose. Ringo Starr had agreed to take part in an hour-long television special about George Martin, With A Little Help From My Friends, which was shown in the UK on 24 and 26 December 1969.

The mix of Octopus's Garden omitted The Beatles' bass guitar, lead guitar and piano, plus most of the vocals. These were re-recorded – with Starr and three session musicians – on 8 December at EMI Studios. The reason for this was a Musicians' Union ban on miming to records; because the new parts were different from those on Abbey Road, it was enough to fool the union into thinking the show contained a live take.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: December 1, 1969

Ringo Starr was interviewed on this date by BBC's host, Tony Bilbow. The footage began with Starr, wearing a fur coat and a badge saying "Sink the Magic Christian", descending the steps of Apple Corps at 3 Savile Row, London, where he signed an autograph before getting into the back of his silver Mercedes-Benz limousine.

Starr was interviewed in the car and on a rowing boat, rowed by Bilbow and Starr down the Thames. The conversation was not broadcast in sequence, and jumped between the two locations several times.

The subjects of the interview included the new business regime at Apple, under the auspices of Allen Klein. "What we're really doing now is paying for when we opened it and played about," Starr said. "Because we used to keep everybody on forever, you know, just because they were like a mate or a pal. They never did the jobs, but we used to keep them on... It's not a playground anymore."

Perhaps keen to prove that his thoughts weren't dominated by business matters, Starr then turned to matters astronomical. He first claimed that there were 50 billion planets in the solar system, before revising the number downwards to just five. He then stated that there must be intelligent life beyond Earth, and that someone in America was building a "time spaceship" to allow interplanetary travel.

Starr explained that he was tired of commuting to London, and planned to move into the city. He then said how his son Zak assumed Beatles fans who visited the Starkey household were there to see him, and that the child didn't quite understand his father's fame.

Finally, he said how the experience of acting in Candy had paved the way for bigger roles, and how The Magic Christian was a suitable follow-up (both were based on novels by Terry Southern). Starr said how he liked simple Hollywood storytelling, and how as a child he had yearned to be a cowboy or pirate after seeing them in films.