Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Beatles Barely Escape from the Philippines

During the Beatles final world tour, they landed in the Philippines in July of 1966. Imelda Marcos, wife of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, invited the Beatles to a luncheon, which Brian Epstein declined on behalf of the Beatles, saying that the Beatles were not in the habit of attending state functions when visiting a country. While technically true, the Beatles had a day off scheduled and held fast to their position that they were not going to give it up for Mrs. Marcos.

Imelda Marcos was enraged, and the Beatles police escorts suddenly disappeared. Epstein and roadie Neil Aspinall had a difficult time finding cars to take the group to the airport since it was becoming obvious that they might be in danger. At the waiting lounge in the airport, the Beatles were shoved from one corner to the next, and roadie Mal Evans was actually punched. Epstein was told to leave the plane, and he was not allowed to board the aircraft until he returned the Beatles' advance earnings for the concert that never took place.

The Beatles Visit Elvis

The Beatles visited Elvis on August 27, 1965 at the King's Bel Air mansion. The Beatles were very excited to meet one of their seminal rock and roll influences, although it is reported in some biographies that Elvis wasn't that enthused to meet the Beatles, who he would later try to ban from the United States.

A little-disputed Beatles fact is that Elvis was playing a Fender bass and watching television when the group arrived. Accounts vary from there. In The Beatles Anthology, there are different recollections as to whether or not the Beatles had an informal jam session with Elvis. It is probable that Lennon did, although Harrison and Starr do not recall taking part.

Presely later spoke with President Richard Nixon, urging that the Beatles be barred from entering the United States because of their anti-war positions and their drug use. (Nixon would later try to have Lennon deported in the 1970s, viewing him as a threat to his 1972 re-election.) It is a sad commentary on Elvis, who was addicted to numerous prescription drugs near the end of his life. Most historians regard it as fact that more than anything else, Elvis was jealous of the Beatles, who had eclipsed his fame.

Lennon's Greatest Faux Pas

It's an acknowledged Beatles fact that John Lennon, after the band returned from their harrowing trip to the Philippines, got the band mired in controversy by saying that "the Beatles are more popular than Jesus." The statement was made in an interview with British reporter Maureen Cleave. In the United States, the statement resulted in a Birmingham radio station calling for the burning of Beatles records. This may or may not have been a joke or off-the-cuff remark, but the trend of burning Beatles' singles and LPs spread throughout the country. In England, the statement didn't cause nearly as much of a stir. Reluctantly, Lennon apoligised for his remarks at a press conferennce in Chicago on August 11, 1966. The apology was typical Lennon, who technically apologised but did so in words that basically said between the lines that he was taken out of context.

In an interview for a Beatles documentary four years ago, author J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series and a major league Beatles fan all her life, said that the remark was blown out of proportion inasmuch as she believed that, at the time, the Beatles certainly did exert more interest in the bands' teen fan-base than did religion. It is a logical conclusion to draw, and if this is indeed the case, it is probable that the statement was indeed taken out of context, and that Lennon was merely making an honest sociological observation.

1966 was a tough year for the Beatles. They had barely escaped with their lives trying to leave the Philippines, John had made his infamous remark about Christianity, and the Beatles were tired of playing out of tune to audiences who weren't listening. A few days after the Chicago press conference, the Beatles gave their last concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park and retreated to the studio.

CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Jonathan Gould

There are hundreds of books about the Beatles, and many are either reptitious or contain glaring factual errors. Many are also mere recitations of chronological events. Jonathan Gould's Can't Buy Me Love is very different, and is highly recommended.

Gould describes the entire history of the Beatles, but this accomplished music critic and writer does so by always putting the events of the Beatles lives, individually and as a group, into the cultural context of what was happening socially and musically in Europe and America. He also examines Beatles history by relying heavily on their music, and the band is largely interpreted by their musical output and content, from which so much else can be extrapolated.

The book has received outstanding reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist.

Martha My Dear

"Martha My Dear" is a McCartney song issued on The White Album. The Beatles facts for this one is that few people at the time of the double LP's release knew that Martha was Paul's sheepdog. It was recorded on October 4 and 5, 1968 at Trident Studios.

McCartney handles the vocal and plays piano. Lennon plays bass, Harrison lead, and Starr drums. Session musicians played strings and brass.

Beatles News: No 2009 Tour for McCartney

Paul McCartney will not be doing any world tours this year so as to spend more time with his daughter Beatrice, whose mother is Heather Mills. He is reportedly happy to do occasional shows, including a headline performance at Coachella in California in April, 2009. McCartney has said that he would be reluctant to take away his present routine as "dad" from Beatrice.

I'll Follow the Sun

This McCartney ballad on Beatles for Sale (and Beatles '65 in the U.S.) was recorded October 18, 1964 at Abbey Road Studios. Lennon thought it a typical McCartney number but still thought that it was a "nice one."

McCartney sings lead vocal and Lennon harmony. McCartney and Lennon play acoustic guitars, Harriosn lead, and Starr bongos.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Apple Scruffs

A great Beatles fact is that Beatles fans who assembled outside Abbey Road or Saville Row during the latter days of the Beatles career as a group were known as "apple scruffs." Two "scruffs," Lizzie Bravo and Gayleen Pease, actually were used for a version of "Across the Universe" that Lennon detested. "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" is allegedly about a few apple scruffs who climbed into an upstairs window at McCartney's house looking to "score" pair of his pants. After the Beatles broke up, Harrison wrote a song for All Things Must Pass called "Apple Scruffs."

John Lennon's Pseudonyms

When traveling or appearing as a guest artist on someone else's album, the playful Lennon often adopted pseudonyms. His favorites were Dr. Winston O'Boogie, Mel Torment (based on singer Mel Torme), and the Reverend Fred Gherkin.

During his solo career, he also gave his back-up bands such names as

The Plastic Ono Band
The Plastic Ono Band with the Flux Fiddlers
The Plastic U.F.Ono Band
The Plastic Ono Nuclear Band - Little Big Horns and the Philharmonic Orchestrange

Lennon's Lost Weekend

Beginning in May 1973, John and Yoko separated for eighteen months at the suggestion of Yoko. In order to make sure that she could keep an eye on her husband, she also suggested that Lennon take her personal assistant, May Pang, with him. If Lennon was going to womanize, Yoko wanted it to be with someone loyal to herself--and someone she could trust. While Lennon and Pang lived together in Hollywood, Lennon began using drugs more frequently and engaged in public drunken behavior, even disrupting the Smothers Brothers nightclub act one evening. He hung around with a group of other rock celebrities who called themselves the Hollywood Vampires: Harry Nilsson, Mick Jagger, Mickey Dolenz (of the Monkeys), Ringo, and others. This period came to be known as Lennon's Lost Weekend. He reconciled with Yoko at the end the eighteen months.

I'm Only Sleeping

"I'm Only Sleeping" is a Lennon composition issued on Revolver in the UK and on Yesterday and Today in America. It was recorded at Abbey Road on April 27, 1966, with the backwards guitar dubbed in later.

According to George Martin (and a great Beatles fact), the chord sequence for this song was written down and played backwards after the forward sequence was worked out. He claimed that he didn't quite know what the effect would be when the backward sequence was played forward but that it was done a few times, with a hit or miss approach until they found a take that they liked. Several other sources say that the guitar part was simply recorded and played backwards.

Lennon sang lead, with McCartney and Harrison contributing background vocals. Lennon played acoustic guitar, Harrison lead, McCartney bass, and Starr drums.

Lovely Rita

"Lovely Rita" is a McCartney song from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Beatles facts here is that McCartney got the idea to write the song after learning that city emploees in America who check parking meters were called "meter maids." He liked the expression enough to build a song around it. Instead of having the song's narrator dislike the meter maid, McCartney gave the song a twist by having him fall for the rather stern, military-looking meter maid. The song was recorded February 27, 1967 at Abbey Road, with overdubs on February 24 and March 7 and 21, 1967, reflecting how much time the band spent on the album.

McCartney does lead vocal and joins Lennon and Harrison for backing vocals. McCartney plays bass, piano, and kazoo (some say a comb-and-paper type), Lennon acoustic guitar and kazoo, Harrison acoustic guitar and kazoo, Star drums, and George Martin honky tonk piano.

I've Got a Feeling

"I've Got a Feeling" is a 50-50 collaboration by Lennon and McCartney. The pertinent Beatles fact here is that this is only the case because the song splices together two song fragments that Lennon and McCartney were working on. Lennon wrote the middle section of the song ("Everybody had a ..."), which seemed to mesh perfectly with McCartney's "I've Got a Feeling." The song was recorded on January 22, 24, 27, and 28, 1969 and performed live on the rooftop at Saville Row on January 30, 1969. It is performed in Let It Be, and John is seen singing a few brief lines of his middle section while playing an acoustic guitar in Imagine.

Lennon and McCartney share lead vocals because of the song's structure. Lennon plays lead guitar, Harrison rhythm, McCartney bass, Starr drums, and Billy Preston organ.


A great Beatles fact is that "Wait" was recorded on June 17, 1965 during the last recording session for Help! The song wasn't used then, however. At the final session for Rubber Soul, overdubs were made on November 11, 1965 and the track was included on Rubber Soul.

Lennon and McCartney share lead vocals. Lennon plays lead guitar, McCartney bass, Lennon tambourine, and Starr drums.

Lennon's Dylan Period

Lennon acknowledged that he went through what he called "a Dylan period" in 1965, when his words and music were inspired by Bob Dylan. Although Lennon's band the Quarrymen started off playing folksongs, Lennon later said that he wasn't much of a fan of folk music. After listening to Dylan's album Freewheelin', however, Lennon obviously had a change of heart. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" exhibits the most obvious influence. "Yes It Is" is also strongly influenced by Dylan, although the influence is harder to detect unless one listens to the Anthology version, on which Lennon slurs the lyrics a bit while playing acoustic guitar. The most peculiar Beatles fact here is that Lennon said that "Norwegian Wood" was also part of his Dylan period. The song (about an affair Lennon was having) is more associated with eastern influence because of the addition of George's sitar to the track, but if one listens closely to the lyrics and acoustic work (especially on the Anthology version), one can hear strains of Dylan.

Beatles News: Julian Lennon Denies Performance Rumor

On his MySpace blog, Julian Lennon denied Fox News' story that he and Sean Lennon would perform together for a charitable event at the UN General Assembly Hall on February 8, 2009. Julian said on his MySpace page that "The news came directly out of [reporter] Roger Friedman's ass!" and wondered if Fox ever got anything correct. He also cited that he hadn't done a live performance in over eight years. The rift between the Lennon family and the Ono family continues.

Beatles History: 40th Anniversary of Rooftop Concert

Today, January 30, 2009, marks the 40th anniversary of the Beatles last public performance. On January 30, 1969, the Beatles performed the following songs on the top of 3 Saville Row in London, which was headquarters for Apple Corps, Ltd.

Don't Let Me Down
Get Back
I've Got a Feeling
I Dig a Pony
One After 909

The concert was done to provide an ending for the film Let It Be. The group had originally planned for the Let It Be project to be a rehearsal for a live concert, but individual band memebers could not agree on a venue. By the end of filming, the rift among the Beatles had grown wider, and the group simply wanted to get the project over with.

The impromptu concert cuased a stir on London streets, with hundreds of pedestrians on the streets below (and adjoining rooftops) stopping to listen and watch the performance. The London police made efforts to stop the performance, which continued nevertheless. In Anthology, the Beatles said that being hauled away by the police would have made an even better ending to the film.

Beatles History: "Please Please Me" Released by Vee-Jay in U.S.

On January 30, 1964, "Please Please Me" was released by Vee-Jay records in the United States. The B side was "From Me to You." The Beatles fact worth noting here is that these songs had already been hits in the UK for many months, but Capital Records did not think they would sell in the U.S. With the Sullivan appearance looming and the escalation of Beatlemania in Europe, Vee-Jay obviously made a wise move, helping to pave the way for the Beatles' first American tour in the process.

Beatles History: All Things Must Pass and My Sweet Lord Hit # 1 in UK

On January 30, 1971, George Harrison's single "My Sweet Lord" and his double LP All Things Must Pass reached the number one spot on British music charts. "My Sweet Lord" was featured on All Things Must Pass. The pertinent Beatles fact was that the double album signified that Harrison was an accomplished songwriter who had stood in the shadow of the Lennon-McCartney franchise for so many years. Before his death, George stated in many interviews that he had been accumulating a backlog of songs in the latter days of the Beatles. In the post-Beatles era, his talent blossomed even more.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Your Mother Should Know

"Your Mother Should Know," a McCartney composition, was recorded at Chappell Recording Studios in London on August 22 and 23, 1967. A different (and quite informal) version is featured on Anthology. The song was included on the Magical Mystery Tour LP and performed in the film of the same name in the finale, when the Beatles descend a staircase, all four wearing white tuxedos. The Beatles fact here is that Paul wore a black caranation because they ran out of white ones, but this would later become another "clue" in the "Paul is dead" rumors.

McCartney sang lead vocal, with Lennon and Harrison providing backing vocals. McCartney plays bass and piano, Lennon organ, Harrison tambourine, and Starr drums.

All I've Got to Do

The pertinent Beatles fact for "All I've Got to Do" is that this is a Lennon composition in which he once again confesses to imitating Smokey Robinson in songwriting style. The song was recorded September 11, 1963 at Abbey Road and was included on With the Beatles by Parlophone and Meet the Beatles by Capital.

Lennon sings lead, and McCartney sings harmony. Lennon plays rhythm, Harrison lead, McCartney bass, and Starr drums.

Beatles News: Julian and Sean Lennon to Perform Together

Julian Lennon and Sean Lennon will perform together at a charitable event on February 26, 2009 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall. The event is the UN Millenium Goal Awards, sponsored by humanitarian Sacha Stone. Also appearing will be Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi.

The almost unbelievable Beatles fact here is that this joint performance marks a bridge between two distant households--the Ono family and the Lennons of London. As late as 2007, Julian was claiming that Yoko had still not treated him fairly from a monetary standpoint. Also, at the opening of Cirque du Soleil's Love in Las vegas, it was noted by many that Yoko kept her distance from Julian and his mother Cynthia. In her biography John, Cynthia had some very pointed things to say about Yoko and John and their life at the Dakota.

Perhaps the children of the musical legend can demonstrate a maturity that their father would have been proud of. The venue is also more than appropriate.

Little Child

This was a straightforward "50-50" collaboration between Lennon and McCartney, recorded at Abbey Road on September 11 and 12 and October 3 of 1963. It was released on With the Beatles by Parlophone and Meet the Beatles by Capital.

Lennon sings lead vocal, and McCartney does harmony vocal. Lennon plays rhythm guitar, Harrison lead, McCartney bass and piano, and Starr drums.

When I Get Home

"When I Get Home" is a Lennon composition recorded at Abbey Road on June 2, 1964 and was featured on Parlophone's A Hard Day's Night LP. Capital used the track on Something New. Lennon said he was aiming for a Motown sound (as he often did--an important Beatles fact) when writing the song.

Lennon sings the lead vocal, and McCartney provides the harmony. Lennon plays rhythm guitar, Harrison lead, and McCartney bass. Starr plays drums.

This Boy

A very interesting Beatles fact is that "This Boy" was released on November 29, 1963 in the UK as the B side to "I Want to Hold Your Hand." In the U.S., no single was released, with Capital releasing the song on Meet the Beatles. It was recorded on October 17, 1963.

The song is distinctive for its three-part harmony, with Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison singing the song, except for the middle eight, which is all Lennon, who wrote the song. Harrison said that this song was Lennon's attempt to do a Smokey Robinson-like number.

An orchestral version is featured in A Hard Day's Night and on the United Artists Soundtrack LP for the film. The group performed the song on tours in 1963 and 1964, and also sang it on their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Lennon does lead vocal, with McCartney and Harrison handling significant harmony vocals. McCartney plays bass, Lennon acoustic, Harrison lead (although he uses chords for much of the song, as does Lennon), Starr drums.

Beatles Facts - Home Page

Welcome to, featuring Beatles facts, news, history, and trivia about the band's music, lives, and solo careers. Beatles Facts - also provides group and solo discography, detailed info on Beatles songs and albums, Beatles timelines, songs the Beatles covered, and links to websites for "the Beatles," individual band members, and those who were (and still are) in the Beatles inner circle.

The Beatles was the greatest rock and roll band in history, and the group's legacy gets stronger with each passing year and each new generation. Since the release of The Beatles Anthology, more and more people of all ages are discovering (or rediscovering) the phenomenal music, history, and musical legacy of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr. The Beatles' music continues to influence new artists, and the original tracks have taken on new life with performances by surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as the CD Love, a creative mix of Beatles tracks by George and Giles Martin for Cirque du Soleil. New projects are continually in the works, and Paul and Ringo continue to record and tour.

Our archives expand every day with new Beatles facts! Thanks for visiting.

Beatles History: The Magic Christian Premiers

A tangential Beatles fact for January 29, 1970 is that this is the day that The Magic Christian premiered in Los Angeles, California. Ringo Starr co-starred in the film with Peter Sellers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Don't Let Me Down

This Lennon composition was recorded on January 28, 1968 at Apple Sudios.. It was released April 11, 1969 ns May 5, 1969 in the UK and U.S. respectively. It was the B side of "Get Back."

Lennon plays lead guitar and sings lead vocal; McCartney plays bass and sings harmony vocal; Harrison plays rhythm guitar; Starr plays drums; Billy Preston plays organ.

Beatlemania and "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"

A disputed Beatles fact is where did the Beatles get their proclivity for shouting "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" or "Oooo!" as they shook their long hair after stepping closer to the microphone during live performances.

The "Yeah, yeah, yeah" seems to have originated from the lyrics of "She Loves You." Lennon claimed that the "whooooo!" was a move and sound borrowed from the Isley Brothers, and it's hard to dispute the claim of one of the Beatles. On the other hand, Little Richard (Richard Penniman) has been quoted as saying that the Beatles, who met him in their Hamburg days, got the sound from his own songs. It seems that the two sources may not be mutually exclusive, for the "whoooo" was a trademark for Little Richard, who the Beatles admired greatly.