In honour of John, Paul, George and Ringo, here’s 100 little-known facts and bits of trivia about the ’60s icons, from the Pope’s reaction to their “bigger than Jesus” boast to raucous tales of condoms lit on fire. Ready? Here we go…
Film – Beatles Film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ – Twickenham Studios
In an early interview George Harrison let slip that he liked jelly babies. Consequently, he was pelted with them at gigs for years afterwards. This could be painful, especially in America, where jelly babies weren’t available – so fans threw harder jelly beans instead.
Music – Variety Club Luncheon – Savoy Hotel – 1963
For a while ‘Abbey Road”s working title was ‘Everest’ (after engineer Geoff Emerick’s fave brand of fags), but when it was suggested the disgruntled band go to the Himalayas to shoot the cover they decided they couldn’t be arsed and named it after the street the studio was on.
Music – Beatles Rehearsal for Royal Variety Command Performance
Early on, John and Paul agreed to a joint Lennon/McCartney credit on all Beatles compositions written by either of them or together. Yoko got the hump after the band split when Paul attempted to change the order to McCartney/Lennon on songs he’d written.
Conspiracy theorists cited the ‘Abbey Road’ cover as proof that McCartney died and replaced by a lookalike. It apparently shows a preacher (Lennon), undertaker (Starr), corpse (bare-footed Paul), gravedigger (Harrison); and the car reg indicates the age Paul would have been if alive (28IF).
Music – Royal Variety Command Performance – Rehearsals – Prince of Wales Theatre
Legend has it that the Beatles’ ill-advised, abortive album sleeve for ‘Yesterday And Today’ – which depicted the band in butcher’s overalls, holding raw meat and slain dolls – was a dig at Capitol’s ‘butchering’ of their records.
Music – The Beatles – Around the Beatles Television Show
The band played their last ever live performance on a grey lunchtime, 30 January, 1969, in a 42-minute set atop the Apple HQ, Savile Row, central London. Ringo dourly observed: “London’s garment district finally got to see The Beatles’ last concert.”
Entertainment – The Yellow Submarine Press Preview – Bowater House
Brian Epstein quickly swapped the boys’ leather jacketed biker boy look for pink mohair suits, made by his tailor Beno Dorn in Birkenhead. He apparently persuaded them this was a good thing by taking them to see a be-suited Shadows show.