Revolver Deep Dive Part 5: Here, There & Everywhere

Revolver

Side One, Track Five

“Here, There And Everywhere”: In Which Paul McCartney “Obliterates Place”[i]

 

by Jude Southerland Kessler and Melissa Davis

 

Through 2023, the Fest for Beatles Fans blog will explore the intricacies of The Beatles’ astounding 1966 LP, Revolver. This month, Melissa Davis will provide our “Fresh New Look” at “Here, There And Everywhere,” the gorgeous song inspired by a particularly happy time in the romance of Paul McCartney and Jane Asher. Melissa was a member of the inaugural class of the world’s first graduate degree program concentrating on the musical and cultural impact of The Beatles, moving to Britain in 2009 and graduating from Liverpool Hope University in 2011. Her dissertation, A Contextual Analysis of the Reception of The Beatles in America, examined the questions: “Why then and why them?” Melissa has co-authored The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide to the Literature (2012) and its 2013 supplement with Michael Brocken, founder of the first Beatles MA program. She is currently at work on the third volume of the bibliography.

Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of The John Lennon Series and a Guest Speaker at the upcoming Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans, August 11-13. She has written the “What’s Standard” and “What’s New” segments of this blog.

 

What’s Standard:

 

Recording Stats:

14 June 1966 – EMI, Studio 2 – 7:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. On this evening, 4 rhythm track takes were recorded, and vocals were superimposed onto take 4.

16 June 1966 – EMI, Studio 2 – 8:30 p.m. – 3:30 a.m.  The decision to start the work over on “Here, There And Everywhere” was made. The boys began anew with take 5. By take 13, John C. Winn tells us “the bass, drums, and electric guitar rhythm track (with a second guitar playing volume pedal ‘swells’ near the end) was perfected.” Winn says Paul was singing a live guide vocal, which may have been redone later. (That Magic Feeling, 25) You can hear that “live guide vocal” on Anthology 2. Backing vocals were added during this session. At the close of this evening, Mark Lewisohn states, “A 14th take was created by reduction, onto which Paul superimposed his live lead vocal…” (The Complete Beatles Chronicle, 226) Womack goes on to say that Paul had varispeed recording applied to his vocal to manipulate the sound. ”Martin and Emerick recorded the track at a slower speed. During playback, varispeed recording [produced] a higher pitch – in this case, with the rendering of McCartney’s vocal at a higher frequency.” (The Beatles Encyclopedia, 386)

17 June 1966 – EMI, Studio 2 – 7:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Paul added a second lead vocal to the final track of the song. He harmonized with himself on the second “love never dies” and “watching her eyes.” George added some lead guitar work. At the conclusion of this session, a rough mono mix was made.

21 June 1966 – further mixing of the song was accomplished.

 

Of Special Note:

Under the category of “What’s Standard,” we must not neglect to comment on The Beatles’ harmony. Paul, of course, is singing the melody line, but directed by George Martin, John and George are singing what Margotin and Guesdon refer to as “sumptuous vocal parts” (All the Songs, 333) Martin himself arranged these harmony lines, and they are performed beautifully. Such harmony may be standard – perhaps even “expected” – for The Beatles (think “This Boy” and “Yes It Is”), but their work is, nevertheless, breathtaking.

 

Tech Team:

Producer: George Martin

Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Second Engineer: Phil MacDonald

 

Instrumentation and Musicians:*

 

Paul McCartney, the composer, sings lead vocal and harmony vocal. He plays his 1962 Epiphone ES-230TD Casino (some sources say “Epiphone Texan”) electric guitar with Selmer Bigsby B7 vibrato and his 1964 Rickenbacker 4001S bass, using his 1963 Fender Bassman 6G6-A amplifier with cabinet.

John Lennon sings backing vocals and adds finger snaps.

George Harrison sings backing vocals, plays lead guitar on his 1965 Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string guitar and adds finger snaps.

Ringo Starr plays his 1964 Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl “Super Classic” drum set, including brushes, and adds finger snaps.

*This information from Hammack’s The Beatles Recording Reference Manual, Vol. 2, 151-152.

 

Sources: Lewisohn, The Complete Beatles Chronicle, 225-226, Lewisohn, The Recording Sessions, 83, Harry, The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia, 304-305, Womack, Long and Winding Roads, 140, Margotin and Guesdon, All the Songs, 332-333, Winn, That Magic Feeling, 25, Hammack, The Beatles Recording Reference Manual, Vol. 2, 151-152, Riley, Tell Me Why, 186-187, Turner, A Hard Day’s Write, 108, Spizer, The Beatles for Sale on Parlophone Records, 214, MacDonald, Revolution in the Head, 168, Davies, The Beatles Lyrics, 158-161, Mellers, Twilight of the Gods: The Music of The Beatles, 74-75, Everett, The Beatles as Musicians, Revolver Through The Anthology, 60, Womack, The Beatles Encyclopedia, 386, Sheff, The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 152, and McCartney, Paul McCartney: The Lyrics, 272-273.

 

What’s Changed:

 

  1. A New McCartney “Personal Fav” – Paul states that of all the songs he’s composed “Here, There And Everywhere” is his all-time favorite, “with ‘Yesterday’ a close second.” (McCartney, The Lyrics, 273 and MacDonald, 168) Although MacDonald disagrees with this choice, stating that the sentimental lyrics render the song “chintzy and rather cloying,” McCartney would probably just shrug and respond, “You’d think that people would’ve had enough of silly love songs, but I look around me and I see it isn’t so…” Indeed, John Lennon said of “Here, There And Everywhere”: “That’s Paul’s song completely, I believe. And one of my favorite songs of The Beatles.”

 

  1. An “Overture”…or as Tim Riley phrases it, the tune’s “disarmingly simple four-bar introduction” (Tell Me Why, 186) – Many sources indicate that this is the “first time” that The Beatles have opened a song with an introductory melody and lyrics that will not be repeated again within the body of the song. However, that’s not quite true since John Lennon’s composition (performed by George Harrison) “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” opens with a brief overture: “You’ll never know how much I really love you/You’ll never know how much I really care.”

 

As Hammack points out in The Beatles Recording Reference Manual, Vol. 2, this technique is a throw-back to the classic songs that populated The Beatles’ youth, songs such as Harold Arlen’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” (p. 151) Indeed, Disney’s “I’m Wishing” (from Snow White) and Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” were familiar “chestnuts” to the lads as well. Both featured preambles. But employed on a 1966 LP by the world’s most famous rock band, the renaissance of the “overture” stands as yet another innovation that makes Revolver so unique.

 

In Paul McCartney: The Lyrics, Paul reminisces that he was trying to imitate Cole Porter in “Anything Goes.” He explains, “…we were trying to emulate some of our favourite old songs that had a completely rambling preamble.” (p. 272-273) Hammack observes, “John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s ‘Here, There And Everywhere’ served notice that the duo could master any form they chose to explore.” (p. 151)

 

  1. Poetically Interlocking Lyrics – In The Beatles Lyrics, Hunter Davies extols the ingenuity of Paul’s manipulation of the words “here,” “there,” and “everywhere.” Davies says, “It’s easy to miss how clever the lyrics are. [McCartney takes] the three adverbs in the title, one by one, structuring the verses around Here, then There, and then Everywhere. He finishes the first line on ‘here’ and then begins the next line with the same word, and then repeats the same trick for the fourth and fifth lines with ‘there.’” (p. 158)

 

One might more accurately substitute the term “verse” for “line” in Davies’s quote, but whatever terminology one employs, Davies is correct. And in his 1980 interview with David Sheff, John Lennon admiringly noted Paul’s poetic technique. McCartney is consciously and poetically interlinking all space (“I need my love to be here,” “Nobody can deny that there’s something there,” and “I want her everywhere,”) and time (”hoping I’m always there”) into the ideal realm in which he wants his love to exist.

 

Tim Riley in Tell Me Why points out that when Paul steps into the “everywhere” segment, “the bridge leaps to a new harmonic ground.” (p. 187) This musical shift emphasizes the far-reaching implications of that highest, all-encompassing plane. Indeed, the shift from mere “here” and “there” to “everywhere” evokes a major chord – perhaps indicating that when his love is “everywhere,” all will be resolved.

 

  1. Special Effects – There are many brief but elegant “extras” in this song. Just before Paul sings, “but to love her is to need her everywhere,” listeners are treated to a guitar line that sounds very much like a mandolin. MacDonald notes that this was achieved “through the Leslie cabinet.” (Revolution in the Head, 168) And as the song plays out, Riley points out that “a descending French horn figure is added in the right channel.” (Tell Me Why, p. 187) This is achieved, MacDonald explains, “by use of the volume pedal.” (168) The song, of course, would have succeeded without these lagniappe flourishes, but empowered to experiment and embellish, The Beatles were lavish – pulling out all the stops.

 

  1. A Nod to Marianne Faithful – Some sources tell us that Paul worked to model his vocals after Marianne Faithfull’s soulful 1964 rendition of “As Tears Go By.” Listen and decide for yourself: https://tinyurl.com/bdy6ju6b

 

A Fresh New Look:

 

Jude Southerland Kessler: Although Paul was inspired by several other well-known artists in the creation of this song’s introduction and melody (to be discussed in the next few questions), the “love” to whom Paul writes is his girl, Jane Asher. Throughout 1964 and 1965, his songs for Jane had indicated trouble in paradise. In “You Won’t See Me,” “I’m Looking Through You,” and even “We Can Work It Out,” (“Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight”), we got the clear message that the two were at odds. Here, Paul’s message seems gentler and more hopeful. Was there a biographical reason for this change of heart

 

Melissa Davis: Well, that sort of tells the tale right there, doesn’t it? As with all relationships over time, you fight, you make up, you break up, you get back together. The infatuation stage fades, and you begin to fully appreciate what the relationship and the other person bring to your life. Some couples get married. To each other. Some don’t. It’s a maturing process both individually and within the relationship.

 

Paul moved into the London home of Jane’s parents six months after they met in April 1963 when she had just turned 17, and he was not quite 21. While John was already married and a father, George and Ringo shared a bachelor apartment, spending much of their free time enjoying Swinging London. The Asher home was better suited to McCartney in that it offered a combination of the family atmosphere he craved, music (Mrs. Asher had taught George Martin at the Guildhall School of Music) and an introduction to the sophisticated world of London’s theater, art and music scenes.

 

But despite having a home base, McCartney was still very much a working Beatle contractually committed to writing and recording singles, albums and movie scores, filming a new movie a year, making television appearances, and, of course, touring with his mates – hardly conducive to a steady romantic relationship. Just as in any relationship, especially that of young people still living at home, Jane and Paul would have their ups and downs. Complicating matters was Jane’s desire to pursue her acting career and the added fact that Paul McCartney just happened to be the most eligible bachelor in the world.

 

The songs noted in the question reflect the spats, fights, break-ups and make-ups that all couples face, but Paul had the gift of being able to use them as inspiration for lyrics to express his emotions almost in real time.

 

When “Here, There And Everywhere” was written in mid-June 1966, Paul was in the process of rehabbing the home he had purchased at 7 Cavendish Avenue in St. John’s Wood. According to Peter Brown in The Love You Make (2002), “Instead of turning the decoration over to professionals, they decided to furnish it themselves. They took pleasure in shopping for each piece individually, sometimes buying used furniture at secondhand shops…”

 

So, we can guess that the time around the composing and recording of  “Here, There And Everywhere” might have been a particularly happy time for the couple, looking forward to moving out of Mom and Dad’s and into a home of their own!

 

Kessler: By 1966, the Beach Boys and The Beatles had supposedly entered into a symbiotic-creative relationship. How did that inspirational association affect “Here, There And Everywhere”?

 

Davis: As an original generation fan, I experienced the Beach Boys and The Beatles contemporaneously. I was a kid, but my college-aged brother had a band that was headquartered at our house and rehearsed in our living room, and I benefitted from exposure to all kinds of great music that most of my friends didn’t have in their home.

 

The retrospective narrative (with a liberal dose of revisionist history thrown in for good measure) has had the Beach Boys moving from cars, girls, and surfboards to innovation in the studio combined with deep and mature lyrics that not only put them on an equal basis with The Beatles, but inspired Revolver and, according to some, made Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band possible. The reality in 1966 might not have matched such generous re-appraisal.

 

Yes, yes, I know. I’m familiar with Paul McCartney singing the praises of Brian Wilson and Pet Sounds. I also know he has a tendency to sometimes remember things as he wishes they had been rather than as they were or altogether misremembering them, e.g. the origin of the name Eleanor Rigby. But I am sure he feels genuine respect for Brian Wilson’s genius.

 

No one loves to sing along in the car with “I Get Around” at top volume more than I do, but with all due respect… I have a confession to make: I don’t buy the hyperbole.

 

The Beach Boys were AM radio; The Beatles were singles, albums, and movies. The Beatles were men; the Beach Boys were… well, boys. Brian Wilson may have been born a mere two days after Paul McCartney in June 1942, but he was still a ‘boy’ in a band with his younger brothers.

 

1964 was the year of The Beatles. The year of Beatlemania. They came to America, launched The British Invasion, and popular music shifted in a matter of weeks. Billboard’s 1963 Year End Top 100 featured a healthy contingent of R&B and Motown, but otherwise consisted of a mélange of folk, light pop, country (Johnny Cash), crooners (Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Al Martino, Steve Lawrence, and Tony Bennett all had records in the top 100 that year), Henry Mancini instrumentals, foreign language (“Sukiyaki,” and “Dominique” by the Singing Nun) and even novelty (“Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah”). Surf was only a sliver with five records in the Billboard Top 100 for the entire year of 1963; the Beach Boys hadn’t had a #1 at that point, despite releasing singles since 1961.

 

To say The Beatles dominated the charts in 1964 is an understatement. Much has been made of the fact that by first week of April, The Beatles held the top five singles on the U.S. charts. This overlooks the additional seven Beatle singles in the Top 100 that week; two more records were songs about The Beatles. They also had the top two albums. They replaced themselves at the top of the charts. Three times.

 

The Beatles set fashion trends around the world and not just with teenagers; the Beach Boys wore dorky clothes and had unfashionably short hair.

 

The Beatles made movies that premiered with royalty in attendance. They had been recognized by the Queen. Most Americans mistook the MBEs for knighthoods, but it was still a step beyond anything accorded other groups.

 

Reporters queried The Beatles about the Warren Commission Report and the war in Vietnam. The Beatles forced desegregation at their concerts in the South. No one cared what other groups thought about much of anything.

 

In the summer of 1964, The Beatles starred in their first movie, garnering unexpected rave critical reviews (and that opening chord in “A Hard Day’s Night!”). Then, they toured internationally (Australia!).

 

Brian Wilson suffered a nervous breakdown at Christmas 1964, less than ten days after Beatles ’65 was released in the U.S. (Beatles For Sale in the U.K.). I’m not saying the two events are exactly related, but… there is much anecdotal comment from their contemporaries, professional musicians who felt the overwhelming pressure of competing with The Beatles, especially when it came from record label executives or a demanding manager.

 

The Beach Boys Today! was released in March of 1965, with the singles “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Dance, Dance, Dance,” “Do You Want To Dance?” and “When I Grow Up To Be A Man.” The Beach Boys were singing adolescent lyrics about dancing and growing up like “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older…”

 

Beatles For Sale/Beatles ’65 featured “I Feel Fine” andShe’s A Woman,” “No Reply,” “I’ll Be Back,” “I’m A Loser,” and “I’ll Follow The Sun.” All about slightly more mature relationship issues.

 

The Beatles taped “Yesterday” for The Ed Sullivan Show the day before their August 15, 1965 Shea Stadium appearance. In a genre-shattering 2 minutes and 3 seconds, it blew down the limits of what popular music could be.

 

The Beach Boys Party! album came out three months later at the end of 1965. It was largely a compilation of covers (“Alley Oop,” “Papa Oom Mow Mow,” “Hully Gully”) and included three Lennon/McCartney compositions: “I Should Have Known Better,” “Tell Me Why,” and “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.”)

 

Rubber Soul was released at the same time for the holiday season: “Norwegian Wood,” “Girl,” “In My Life,” and “Nowhere Man.”

 

Influence at the time seemed to be flowing east to west across the Atlantic.

 

By 1966, Brian Wilson was writing on pot; three of the four Beatles had taken LSD. In fact, when The Beatles were in Los Angeles during a break in their tour, the Byrds were invited over for music and acid. When David Crosby was spotted crouching behind a stage curtain during a press conference, John Lennon identified him to the press as, “our mate, Dave.” It was around that time that The Beatles publicly proclaimed the Byrds as their favorite group.

 

Despite the growth the Beach Boys were experiencing as Brian Wilson’s severe anxiety took him off tours and put him almost exclusively in the studio when he was able, The Beatles were featuring the sitar on a second song and constructing electronic tape loops for the finale to Revolver. They were grousing about British tax policy, musing about the loneliness of an old woman, and knowing what it’s like to be dead.

 

The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds (recorded over a period of nine months from July 12, 1965 through April 13, 1966) was released on May 16, 1966. During that time, they released four singles: “The Little Girl I Once Knew,” “Barbara Ann,” “Sloop John B,” and “California Girls,” the last undoubtedly the one that influenced The Beatles’ “Back In The USSR” in late 1968.

 

Revolver was recorded from April 6 to June 21, 1966 (11 weeks) and released on August 5 of that year. In addition toHere There And Everywhere,” Revolver gave us “Taxman,” “Good Day Sunshine,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Got To Get You Into My Life,” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.” It is simply in a class by itself.

 

Because the Beach Boys could not create the musical sounds Brian Wilson heard in his head, over 40 session musicians (including 25 members of the Wrecking Crew) and a 10-piece string section are credited with virtually all instrumentation on Pet Sounds. Revolver was recorded by the four Beatles playing their own instruments with the contribution of brass from Sounds Incorporated, an Indian tabla player on “Love You To” and a string octet on “Eleanor Rigby.”

 

Pet Sounds marked a departure for the Beach Boys from their own style and genre and opened their musical future to new possibilities; Revolver changed music for everyone and forever. The album was considered groundbreaking at the time it was released and influenced the groups and music that followed.

 

The year 1966 saw an explosion of new and immensely talented groups, many inspired by The Beatles. These groups were releasing innovative and exciting music featuring lyrics of depth, introspection and, in some cases, inexplicable meaning, which were intriguing and engrossing.

 

It’s important to remember contextually that the year of Pet Sounds was also the year of Simon and Garfunkel’s “I Am A Rock” and “Homeward Bound.” Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman.” Dylan’s “I Want You” and “Rainy Day Woman #12 and #35.” And if it was harmonies you wanted, one could feast on more Simon and Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas, The Hollies, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The 5th Dimension, and of course, the Byrds whose “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Eight Miles High” were massive hits in both the U.S. and the U.K.

 

The Beatles’ shared love of harmony since their days listening to the Everly Brothers had resulted in years of singing, composing, performing and recording close, three-part harmonies, something The Beach Boys’ gorgeous vocals no doubt reinforced. After all, The Beatles were a group that loved covering girl groups, disregarding any awkwardness in four guys singing about boys with McCartney once saying the fun of it was “singing Bop-shoo-op-um-bop-bop-shoo-op with your mates.”

 

The Beatles were competitive among themselves, always trying to do better than their last record. That spirit, which Paul has long acknowledged, even vis-á-vis his songwriting partner, John Lennon, would have kicked in when they heard songs and albums they liked or they felt challenged them. So, yes… The Beatles listened intently to what was being recorded by other groups, and Pet Sounds must have been a spur for them, but not on Revolver. And it’s hard to see how Pet Sounds influenced “Strawberry Fields Forever” orPenny Lane,” their first songs after Revolver, released while Pepper was in the works.

 

Pet Sounds did not do well commercially upon its release in the U.S. in May 1966; three singles gave it exposure (“Caroline No,” a Brian Wilson solo release that made it to #32; “Sloop John B” at #3, and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” at #8, with “God Only Knows” originally on the B-side).

 

As for “God Only Knows,” I’ve no doubt Paul loves it. I’m sure Paul does wish he had written the song. Who wouldn’t?

 

It’s a beautiful song. Its message is as romantic as “Here, There And Everywhere,” and McCartney is a romantic,Helter Skelter” notwithstanding.

 

The song is critically acclaimed and universally loved. Bono says the song is proof of the existence of angels. Pete Townsend says it ‘still sounds perfect.’ Barry Gibb loves it. Jimmy Webb, who knows a little something about songwriting, calls it his favorite song. Even the critics love it.

 

Artists as diverse as Andy Williams, David Bowie, Glen Campbell, Elvis Costello and the London Symphony Orchestra have covered it. Most recently, someone (or someones) called Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem recorded it. Versions in Spanish, Dutch, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic are available.

 

But the hyperbole, much of it stemming from McCartney’s well-publicized and genuine admiration of Brian Wilson and reverence for Pet Sounds, overstates the influence. I just take the now-assumed symbiotic relationship with a measure of salt.

 

That’s only my opinion. I love The Beatles, I’ve studied The Beatles, read and written about The Beatles. I’ve played their music (badly). Their music was sung at my wedding. It will probably be played at my funeral. Just a nice bookend. I’ve been steeped in them for almost 60 years. But that doesn’t mean everyone reading this won’t have their own opinions. We’re just lucky to have the music to disagree about!

 

Kessler: Fantastic observations, and so beautifully said, Melissa. As I researched the “What’s Standard” and “What’s New” segments of this blog, I found these words from Ian MacDonald in Revolution in the Head that second your emotion. He states, “However, while Pet Sounds, conceived of as a ‘reply’ to Rubber Soul deeply impressed McCartney and spurred him to better it in The Beatles’ next album Sgt. Pepper, Wilson’s masterpiece wasn’t issued in Britain until July. Even supposing him to have had an advance copy, no musical link exists between ‘Here, There And Everywhere’ and anything on Pet Sounds…” (p. 168)

So, moving on…

“Here, There And Everywhere,” as we indicated earlier, was one of John Lennon’s favorite songs. In fact, Paul says he received the rare “Lennon face-to-face compliment” for it. What do you think John liked and respected so much about this composition?

 

Davis: I think John would have noted the very personal lyrics of “Here There, and Everywhere” as this was a direction he had been heading, as well. Paul was writing about his relationship with Jane through good times (“Good Day Sunshine), not-so-good times (“I’m Looking Through You”) and just plain confusing times (“You Won’t See Me). John was sharing more of his own feelings in his lyrics (“Norwegian Wood,” “Nowhere Man,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” “Girl,” “In My Life,” and “She Said She Said”) and might have respected Paul doing the same.

 

John might also have rated the admission by another Liverpool lad that he needed this special woman in his life. Self-improvement would show up in the next album, Sgt. Pepper, in the form of “Getting Better.”

 

John undoubtedly would have appreciated the song’s melody and loved singing the harmony. It is an exquisitely beautiful piece of music that would have appealed to a man who had “Julia,” “Goodnight,” andA Day In The Life” inside him, just waiting to be written.

 

Kessler: And finally, what do YOU like about “Here, There And Everywhere,” Melissa? Nearly sixty years after its release, is it still relevant and effective today?

 

Davis: I was in middle school (junior-high in those days) when I first heard this song and had been a devout “George Gurl” from the moment I “met” The Beatles on the first Ed Sullivan Show appearance on February 9, 1964. My friends all had their own favorite, of course, including one “Paul Gurl” who could never accept that he had a girlfriend.

 

We were just beginning to figure out what we would want in a boyfriend, and the song stated it as simply as possible: Paul believed he was better for having his girlfriend in his life. He needed her to be the man he wanted to be. What girl wouldn’t dream about her boyfriend feeling that way about her? What woman wouldn’t want a man thinking and singing those words? “Here, There And Everywhere” helped crystalize the concept of a love beyond “just holding hands.”

 

A few years later, Paul expressed the same sort of sentiment about another woman, his wife Linda, in the song, “My Love.” It is vastly inferior to “Here, There And Everywhere,” but the feeling behind it is from the same place in his heart. And, not coincidentally, “My Love” remains an unfailingly popular selection in his current touring setlist.

 

Years later, the introductory phrase (“To lead a better life, I need my love to be here…”) formed the basis of the famous takeaway from the film, As Good As It Gets, when Jack Nicholson tells the Helen Hunt character, “You make me want to be a better man.”

 

The song was played during a wedding scene on Friends, as certain a sign of cultural significance as any. No doubt it has been a part of many actual weddings and probably played a role in more than a few make-ups and proposals of all kinds in the past nearly sixty years. The emotion behind the singer’s acknowledgement of what his love means in his life and his honest declaration will always be relevant as long as people fall in love.

 

And then there’s the music.

 

“Here, There And Everywhere” is quite simply one of the best examples of what I think separates The Beatles from many of the excellent bands of that, or any other, era – the pure alchemy born of musicinstrumentlyricvocalmelodyharmonyemotionrhythmpoetrywitinsightselfawarenessfriendshiploveandjoy in just the right proportions almost every time.

 

Yes, all one word.

 

[i] In his work Twilight of the Gods: The Music of The Beatles, Wilfred Mellers pays this lovely homage to Paul McCartney: “If Love You To tells us how the love experience erases time, Here, There And Everywhere obliterates place.” (pp. 74-75)

 

For more information on Melissa Davis, go to:

e-mail: thebeatleworks@gmail.com

website: www.thebeatleworksltd.com

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Beatles Poetry Contest: The Three Winning Poems

Since January 2021, we’ve been examining The Beatles’ 1965 work of genius, Rubber Soul, taking deep dives into each track. Having concluded Side One, this month we took a short intermission to stand, stretch, and have a bit of fun.

 

We invited Fest for Beatles Fans poet Terri Whitney — who has written two books of poetry on The Beatles and other rock’n’roll greats — to serve as one of the judges in a POETRY CONTEST in her honor: The Rockin’ Rhymer Poetry Contest.

 

Thanks to all who submitted poems. They were all wonderful.

 

Here are the three winning poems…

 

Sai Matekar, Winner

 

In My Life/ Two of Us (or 6th july, 1957, the birth of the Beatles)

 

 

6th July, 1957

Woolton church fete, on a beautiful sunny day

Life became a song,

When, John found Paul

Soulmate found soulmate

Music found magic,

Loss found love,

When Paths lead to home,

Wrong Words and banjo chords,

Found lost rhymes and a tuned guitar

Together came

Motherless sons, two

They, cried

Till nothing was left inside,

On a neverending night

Lines, in fully formed songs

Songs, in half written lines

Hands four played one melody,

Strings across searching eyes

Knee to knee,

Growing and healing

Memories,

Longer and

On a long road,

John hugged Paul

When the world changed

 

And they

 

Changed the world

When Paul hugged John,

On a road, long

and longer memories

Of healing and growing,

Knee to knee

Eyes searching, across strings

One melody played four hands,

Lines written, half in songs

Songs formed fully in lines

On a Night, neverending

Inside, nothing was left

Till they cried,

Two Sons,

Motherless

Came together

A tuned guitar and lost rhymes,

Found banjo chords and wrong words

Home lead to paths,

When Love found loss,

Magic found music,

Soulmate found soulmate ,

Paul found John, when

A song came to life

On a beautiful sunny day, Woolton church fete

1957,July 6th


Phillip Kirkland, First Runner-Up

 

THE LIFE OF JOHNNY (ABRIDGED) 

 

Born of Mother (partly timey)

Virtual Orphan, Mimi cares

Wayward Johnny, daily howly

Auntie living deep despairs

 

Cocky muso young McCartney

Teaches roughneck, tuney strings

Jam together, fledgling combo

Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ Blues ‘n’ things

 

Off to Hamburg, popping Prellies

Playing socks off, kiddies’ cheers

Man, we’re groovy little group now

Playing Cavern, Epstein hears

 

Richly contract, muchy money

Funny haircut, shiny suit

Liddypool is distant memory

Muchy fame and girls to boot

 

Arty Yoko, avant gardly

Wide-eyed Johnny, falls in lust

Beatles crumbly, end of era

Golden Apple turns to dust

 

Uncle Sammy, John and Yoko

Little Sean and baking bread

Starting Over, not for muchly

Mad assassin – Johnny’s dead!

 


Presley Moffett, Second Runner-Up

 

Like Mother, Like Daughter 

 

Like mother, like daughter

Music is our common bond

And every moment in our lives is connected to a song

 

Mom gave me her copy of Sgt. Pepper

She bought the record

Sometime in the ’80s

The vinyl was missing, but the cover was still intact

She gave it to me and said, “I have listened to this album since I was your age in fact.”

 

Like mother, like daughter

Music is our common bond

And every moment in our lives is connected to a song

 

On the way to elementary school

Mom and I would listen to the 1 CD

It became a daily ritual

Driving down the street

Me singing my heart out in the backseat

We didn’t have real microphones

So we just used our hands, you know

 

Like mother, like daughter

Music is our common bond

And every moment in our lives is connected to a song

 

Even years later

I’m in college about graduate

And we still listen to The Beatles in the car

As soon as the first note starts

We get lost in the lyrics and forget everything else

It’s truly an escape from the chaos this world creates

 

Like mother, like daughter

Music is our common bond

And every moment in our lives is connected to a song

 

Sometimes we fight because we care

Because we never want to hurt each other

Or be unfair but

With all the challenges we face

The Beatles have ultimately brought us closer together

 

Like mother, like daughter

Music is our common bond

And every moment in our lives is connected to a song

 

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Life of George: A Beatles Birthday Celebration

On Feb. 25 we’re celebrating the life of George Harrison on his birthday.
Our Facebook Live concert event from 1 PM to 4:30 PM is free as a bird!
Our Zoom event from 5 PM to 11 PM is a paid event, with tickets available here:
A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales and donations will go to the Material World Foundation
George established the Foundation in 1973 to encourage the exploration of alternate and diverse forms of artistic expression, life views and philosophies as well as a way to support established charities and people with special needs.
Facebook Live performance schedule:
1 PM: Ellis and Ary
2 PM: Scott Erickson
3 PM: Joe DeJesu
Paid Zoom event beginning at 5PM features a full-length live concert by Liverpool and special appearances by Billy J. Kramer, Peter Asher, Laurence Juber, Joey Molland, and more!
Full info:
LIVERPOOL Live in Concert at Daryl’s House, playing George Harrison’s music from The Beatles, his solo albums, The Traveling Wilburys and more!
George Harrison’s friends and collaborators share stories, memories and music, in conversation with our M.C.’s Ken Dashow (Q104.3 -NYC), Terri Hemmert (WXRT – Chicago) & Tom Frangione (SiriusXM – The Beatles Channel).
BILLY J KRAMER is a native Liverpudlian, was also managed by Brian Epstein, and became very good friends with The Beatles. He was teamed up with The Dakotas and had many hit records on both sides of the ‘pond’, four of which were written by John. Being closest in age to George, the youngest Beatle, Billy has some terrific stories to share with us, and perhaps a song, too!
JOEY MOLLAND was a member of the Apple band Badfinger, and Joey’s power guitar was a key part of the group. George played on and produced their huge hit Day After Day. Joey also performed at the Concert For Bangla Desh in NYC in August, 1971. Joey has graced our stage dozens of times and he sure knows how to rock and roll with the best of them! In this Birthday Zoom, Joey will talk about his times with George in the studio, on stage and other fond memories.
PETER ASHER has had an amazing career in the music industry. First as half of Peter & Gordon, head of A & R at Apple (Signing James Taylor), Producer of the Year twice, produced Ringo and has written our bestselling book of all time – The Beatles From A to Zed. Peter will share is fondest memories of George from those early days and beyond.
LAURENCE JUBER was the lead guitarist in the final lineup of Wings. He has also recorded with George and Ringo. LJ won Acoustic Guitar Player Magazine Guitarist of the Year TWICE! Laurence has been a guest dozens of times at our FESTS dating back to the early 1980s and is one of the finest guitarists in the world. Laurence will talk a bit about George and treat us to a couple of George instrumentals we all know and love.
TOM SCOTT is one of the finest Sax players in the business. He worked closely with George on 3 of his albums, Dark Horse, Extra Texture and 33 1/3. He also joined George on his only U.S. tour, in 1974. We are honored that Tom will be sharing some of his stories about his experiences with George in the studio and on stage, for our George Birthday Celebration.
RUSS TITELMAN is a legendary record producer and three time Grammy winner who produced the George Harrison album from 1979. Three hits came out of that album, Blow Away, Love Comes To Everyone and Faster. Russ will give us a good idea of what it was like recording a new George album.
CHRIS O’DELL started working at Apple at the invitation of her friend Derek Taylor and was on the roof for the final concert. She worked for George and Pattie and stayed at Friar Park during 1970. Chris assisted George for the All Things Must Pass LP, helped recruit musicians for the Bangla Desh Concerts. The b-side of Give Me Love was Miss O’Dell, written while George was waiting for Chris to arrive at his Malibu home.
Be Here Now, a George Harrison Photo Presentation
CHRIS MURRAY is the curator of the Govinda Gallery in Washington, D.C. and his latest project was the outstanding book, George Harrison: Be Here Now, a book of the Photographs of Barry Feinstein, who was George’s official photographer from 1970-1973. Chris was invited by George to stay at Friar Park during this time. There are even some photo’s Chris took that are included in the book. This is going to be a special Slide Presentation by someone who was there!!
Sharing about George’s Journey to India:
PAUL SALTZMAN – Author of The Beatles in India book, his photos of the band, put away for 30 years, are among the best taken during the Beatles visit to Rishikesh.
SUSAN SHUMSKY worked for the Maharishi for 6 years and will be doing a slide presentation about TM including rare photos of George in Rishikesh in 1968.
GEORGE UKULELE STRUM
GiGi WONG-MONACO and CLAR have been a part of the Chicago FEST events for decades, Their Ukulele Strums are now legendary and they will be playing some of George’s classics during the evening.
HARRISON FAN ART EXHIBIT
Want to share your creations with the FEST Beatles World? Make something new or share something you’ve already done – During the Birthday Celebration we will display slide shows of art featuring George – any media. Hosted by Deco
Submit a good photo of your art entry (300 dpi, jpgs or pngs), with your name and your town/state, to mark@thefest.com, by February 20th to include your art in the show. No fee to submit your work, though all artists should be registered for the event.
GEORGE TRIVIA
Beatles historian Wally Podrazik will be posing questions to the audience throughout the evening. Show off your intimate knowledge of The Beatles, or learn something new!
…After Hours Fan “Hotel Lobby” Jam…
Play your George favorites for one another all night long.
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The Beatles in June: Shine On

::: By Jude Southerland Kessler :::

 

As we, here at the Fest, continue our look at The Beatles in their months together, we wish you all peace…not only globally, but locally. The traumatic stresses of disease, isolation, financial loss, injustice, and violence have shaken us all over the last sixty days. We face a world filled with need, fear, anger, and resentment. As we walk through June 2020, what can we learn from The Beatles in four of their Junes together? What advice might they silently offer us? Let’s find out…

 

June 1964 – After 13 long days absent due to illness, Ringo was finally prepared to rejoin The Beatles’ first World Tour. Collapsing amidst a photo shoot on 3 June, he’d endured a nasty bout of tonsillitis and 11 days in University College Hospital, London. Now, however, Starr was suited-up to fly Pan Am from London to Australia to reconnoiter with his Liverpool mates. During Ringo’s absence, Jimmie Nicol (an excellent drummer in his own right, who very fortunately knew all of The Beatles songs and wore Ringo’s exact suit size…see The Beatle Who Vanished by Jim Berkenstadt for more info) had been standing in (er, sitting in) for Starr in Holland, Hong Kong, and Australia. And so, for one brief day on 14 June…there were myriad publicity photos of The Beatles with two drummers! But right away, Richard Starkey was back on the podium, banging away and flashing his winning Scouse grin. His throat was still a bit ragged but his humour was intact. When a reporter asked him, “Do you think your tonsillitis might change the group’s sound?”, Ringo chortled and said, “Only for a few days when I can’t sing…if you can call it singin’!” And the Fab Four were reunited.

 

June 1966 – June was always Brian Epstein’s “month of choice” for World Tours. And 1966 was no exception to that rule. On 23 June, The Beatles left London Airport in Heathrow bound for Germany…the country where they’d cut their teeth as teenagers, performing in Hamburg. Their first night in Hamburg — August 1960 — the four Beatles (with Pete Best as their drummer) played to 6 very disappointed male customers who’d strolled down to the dark end of the Reeperbahn to see strippers — only to find 4 singing British boys instead! Somehow, The Beatles won over even those reluctant patrons, and in just a few weeks, the lads were so popular that they were promoted to a much larger venue: the Kaiserkeller. Now, two years later, John, Paul, George, and Ringo were billed as headliners in the stately halls of Munich and Essen, and tickets sold as quickly as they were printed. One reporter, disdaining the price of admission, callously asked John Lennon, “If you had to buy a ticket for your own performance how much would you pay for it?” John, in typical Lennonesque fashion, swiftly returned, “Oh, we know the manager, so we get in free.” The charm that had courted reluctant punters way back in 1960 was still very much alive.

 

June 1967 – Done with touring forever, June of 1967 held not a World Tour this time, but a worldwide event! The Beatles had been chosen to represent Britain in the prestigious 25 June One World television special, slated to be broadcast live via satellite to 400 million viewers on 5 continents. And the song they’d selected to sing was truly, as Brian Epstein observed, “spine-chilling…the best thing they’d ever done.” It was, of course, John Lennon’s “All You Need is Love,” written specifically for the momentous affair. On 21 June, the boys began working on this landmark song in studio. Heads together as one, they prepared the anthem of peace, eager to send it out to a world heavily laden with the Vietnam conflict, Civil Rights unrest, military coups, wars, and entrenched divides. With a deep longing for concord, the boys tried to convey a simple message that would speak to all nations. As John later said, “It was a fabulous time…peace and love, people putting flowers in guns.” But as The Beatles, that night, focused globally and not locally, none of them realised that evening, that 21 June marked the very last time that Brian would ever be with them as they created in EMI. A pivotal moment went unnoticed.

 

June 1968 – After weeks and weeks of severe depression following John’s separation from Cynthia and from his son, Julian…weeks in which John Lennon actually contemplated suicide, the end of June 1968 found him finally rebounding with a new zest for life, as he prepared his You Are Here art exhibit slated to open on 1 July. The theme of the show was new beginnings and rebirth. As John and Yoko planned to dress entirely in white, to release 365 balloons to the world containing hopeful messages, and to zero in on John’s newly focused avant garde artiste side rather than his rocker image, “original” was the order of the day. John was, in effect, “starting over,” initiating a new life with a new lady at his side and a new message of peace. After months of agony, John had found a way to move forward.

 

You know, just when we think we’re alone in our struggles, we find it: the very mirror image of our griefs in the lives of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. The burdens we face, they faced. Every one.

 

Illness. Ringo’s ongoing struggles with health began early in life as he spent a myriad of formative years in sanitarium healing from the after-effects of a ruptured appendix and peritonitis. Then later, at age 13, he was back in hospital and long-term care again with complications from pleurisy and “effusion on the lung.” Even as a young adult, Ringo was frequently niggled with severe tonsillitis until he finally underwent surgery in December 1964. Yet rarely, if ever, do we hear Ringo complaining about the lost years in school with friends of his own age. Rarely does he moan over the lost days and weeks he might’ve spent with his family or the isolation of sanitarium life. Instead, he talks about the nurse who supplied him with a drum and the positive outlook those years gave him. To quote Hunter Davies in The Beatles, “[Ringo] never remembered himself unhappy. He thinks he had a good childhood.” (p. 148) Hmm!

 

Criticism. No one faced more venom from the press and public than The Beatles did. At first, journalists were gleefully “on board,” promoting and praising the British phenoms. But by late 1964, the press was hungrily seeking a chink in the Fab Armor. They were whispering about “Beatle dissention” and possible break-ups, about the Lennons divorcing, about unfair ticket prices and unkind treatment of the fans. The Beatles lived in a fishbowl, always under scrutiny. And for the most part, (yes, there were days when the boys, too, were resentful) they faced it all with humour and wit. Under adversity, The Beatles endured.

 

Global darkness. 1967’s grim world must have seemed unbearably oppressive to our boys. By June of ‘67, 448,800 young souls had been lost in Vietnam. June race riots in Detroit left 43 slain.  Marches on Washington and rampant U.S. draft card burning events filled the headlines. In June, the Six Day War erupted in the Middle East, and the Nigerian Civil War boiled over in July. Turning their eyes globally, the boys might have missed the joys at their very elbows: the singular gift of a night in studio with their devoted manager, Brian Epstein. They might have been so intent on speaking out to a hurting world that they failed to treasure the simple and fleeting joys given to them, so close at hand. In this, too, there is wisdom for us to gather.

 

In each of these instances, The Beatles remind us to move forward…to keep reinventing ourselves, to keep pushing ahead. If one life phase subsides, then we can emerge into “Something New.” If the world threatens to overwhelm us, we can turn to those we love at hand. If we are heavy-laden, we can seek humor, music, faith, and friendship. We can work it out.

 

The Beatles never ever had a day without enormous obstacles to overcome: family losses, health challenges, public criticism, unrelenting work schedules. Yet, by simply putting one foot in front of the other, they kept going. It is a phrase we Beatles fans repeat without really thinking about it…but this month, we must make it our mantra: Shine On. You can do this, one step at a time. Shine on!

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The Beatles: MAY-be I’m Amazed!

::: By Jude Southerland Kessler :::

 

The FEST for Beatles Fans has been tracing the “doings” of The Beatles, month-by-month, throughout their years together to see if we can glean a bit o’ wisdom from what “the lads” did in the seasons of their lives. From January’s events, we learned the value of industry and hard work. From April, we learned that suffering isn’t forever and will surely be followed by happier days!

 

What can we glean from the experiences that John, Paul, George, and Ringo shared in their Mays together? Well, let’s find out with John Lennon biographer, Jude Southerland Kessler…

 

May 1961 – The Beatles, in Hamburg for a second rollicking time, have been given the opportunity to actually cut a record — as a back-up band for headliner, Tony Sheridan. Though they were contracted to play at the Top Ten Club, the boys had been sneaking over to the Star Club, according to Tony Sheridan, and singing with the star on stage, and the Liverpool lads were quite popular there! As it happened, Sheridan — who had just been signed by music mogul, Bert Kaempfert, to a contract with Polydor Records — was looking for a back-up band to assist him with his first release. Naturally, he selected the popular Beatles and directed them to meet him “in studio.” Paul recalls, “We…expected a recording setup on a grand scale…Instead, we found ourselves in an unexciting school gym with a massive stage and lots of drapes.” But despite The Beatles’ clear disappointment, the boys (as The Beat Brothers) gave their back-up rendition of “My Bonnie” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” their all! And it’s THIS record — requested months later of Liverpool NEMS owner Brian Epstein — that induced Epstein to visit the Cavern Club on 9 November 1961 and “meet The Beatles.” That Hamburg school gym recording studio may not have been what the boys anticipated, but the results — which are still being felt today — were quite unanticipated as well! The modest recording studio led The Beatles down “a long and winding road” of lasting fame.

 

May 1964 – After completing their first film for United Artists, “A Hard Day’s Night,” The Beatles set out on some much-needed breaks. George and John, who’d decided to holiday together, traveled happily with John’s wife, Cynthia, and George’s girl, Pattie Boyd. Now, the concept of a yacht moored just off Papeete, Tahiti sounded divine after two long months of early mornings on set, 8-hour days filming, nights in EMI’s Studio Two recording a soundtrack LP, and many additional interviews and television shows sandwiched into the boys’ spare time as well. But once on board the rather ramshackle boat — with a sparse menu featuring primarily potatoes and a library with only one book (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) — John became fiercely bored. He discovered that he was much happier filling his days with creative work. So, he began writing songs (such as “Any Time at All,” for Cynthia) and penning pieces (“Snore Wife and the Seven D…”) for his second book, eventually entitled A Spaniard in the Works. George complained that John — who’d been going on for weeks and weeks about “needin’ peace” — now only wanted to work. It was what Lennon truly longed for — John found out.

 

May 1967 – After working for weeks on their most unusual and controversial LP to date, in May of 1967, The Beatles were releasing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to a waiting world. And to celebrate what he thought would be the LP that encouraged his boys to brush shoulders with the public once again (perhaps even tour!), Brian Epstein celebrated via a lavish party in his Belgravia flat. Inviting in the “Who’s Who” of London, Brian expected John, Paul, George, and Ringo to serve as co-hosts — meeting and greeting the posh public. However, the boys arrived “rather out of it.” In fact, John — in a faux fur-lined, orange, print jacket — was deliriously giddy. Even Paul, who was customarily the group’s spokesperson, was rather agog that evening when an enchanting, blonde, American photographer he’d met four days earlier, Linda Eastman, knelt down in front of him to capture his picture. Deeply engaged in conversation, the two seemed quite taken with one another, and Brian was left to entertain his guests on his own.

 

May 1968 – Inviting his three friends to his Esher bungalow late in May, 1968, George Harrison anticipated a fun and relaxing afternoon. Sitting together on low, backless sofas, or wide, decorative cushions, The Beatles shared with one another the songs they’d been writing throughout the spring — both during their time in Rishikesh, India, and then back home in England. John demonstrated unpolished germs of remarkable songs. Paul offered up a tape of more perfected work. And George, wanting to remember the special afternoon, decided to record it all…just for fun. How surprised George would’ve been to see the impact of 2018’s remastered Esher Demos, his tape of that afternoon — the priceless seminal rendition of what would morph into the White Album. A lazy day shared by four friends in the British countryside was transformed: a priceless peek into The Beatles’ private lives and their methods of creating and recording music. What set out to be a jam session, more or less, ended up becoming a classic work of musical genius.

 

The Beatles’ Mays together seem to say one very Forrest Gump-ish thing, “You never know what you’re going to get.” Expecting Bert Kaempfert to afford them a lavish recording studio, the boys got a school gym recording space. Expecting that rather amateurish recording (so it seemed) to fall by the wayside, “My Bonnie” spawned sixty years of unequaled fame. Expecting a holiday on a yacht to calm his spirit, John Lennon discovered he craved work, and expecting an afternoon jam session to be just a bit of “in house” amusement, The Beatles inadvertently, “cut a record.” The boys’ days together in the “merry month of May” always afforded a wealth of surprises. Time and again, they were amazed…well, MAYbe.


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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The Worst of Times, The Best of Times: The Beatles in Their Aprils

::: By Jude Southerland Kessler :::

 

Our 2020 Fest Blog continues to look at The Beatles’ days together, one month at a time. This month, there is an important lesson for us all on how John, Paul, George, and Ringo dealt with April…

 

 

April 1962: April 1962 was, without a doubt, the worst that John Lennon would ever experience: a dark and tragic month well-deserving of T. S. Elliot’s “April is the cruelest month” label. After being separated from his “brother,” his soul mate, Stu Sutcliffe, for three months’ time (whilst The Beatles rocked England and Stu studied art with Eduardo Paolozzi in Germany), John and Stu were to be reunited. Full of happy anticipation, The Beatles landed in Hamburg, Germany on 11 April for the happy “coming together” of these two fast friends. But instead of being greeted by Stu at the airport, John was greeted by Stu’s fiancée, Astrid Kirchherr — whose face was grim. She was meeting The Beatles to inform them that Stu had died of a brain hemorrhage, less than 24 hours before their arrival. John had just missed saying goodbye to his closest friend, just as John had lost his beloved Uncle George in 1955, without a chance to say goodbye…and his mother, Julia, without a final word in 1958. Now, Stu was gone as well.

 

For John, it was utterly overwhelming. He collapsed into tears and hysterical laughter. And he spent the ensuing month, inebriated and completely out of control. One evening found him on stage, wearing a toilet seat around his neck. And one early morning found him in the Hamburg streets, wearing only his underwear and cap — perusing the morning newspaper.

 

April 1962 seemed a place from which there was no recovery. And truly, in the years ahead, the other Beatles knew better than to mention Stu’s name in conversation. It summoned a darkness that didn’t lift for days. John never totally recovered from the loss of his best friend. But somehow, life did go on. And despite the crushing grief of 1962, John’s future did grow brighter. He found a way to put one foot in front of the other. And he did survive.

 

April 1964: Only 700 days later, John was not only on his feet again, but he was being fêted at London’s elegant Dorchester Hotel as the most acclaimed author in Great Britain. His first book, In His Own Write, was not only selling millions of copies but also surprisingly being heralded by critics as remarkable. Lennon’s mixture of bizarre poetry and prose was favorably compared to Lewis Carroll, James Joyce, and Edward Lear. Thus, John — as Foyles Bookstores’ Literary Award Winner — was asked, on Shakespeare’s 400th birthday, to deliver the annual address to the learned world.

 

But “The Smart Beatle” — though comfortable singing on stage with his mates— was extremely ill-at-ease when delivering a public speech. So, he turned the obligation over to his manager, Brian Epstein.

 

However, we all know that if things can go wrong, they will, and through a series of simple misunderstandings, John was very publicly called upon to deliver that postprandial speech himself on that celebrated day. Mortified, John stood and fumbled his way through the brief words that a Liverpool beggar mutters when he’s given a handout — something that he doesn’t feel that he deserves. “Thank you very much! You’ve got a lucky face!” John eked out. Then, he quickly sat down to a wave of “boos” and hisses. Quite fortunately, Epstein was permitted to stand and deliver the speech for John. And in the end, as the birthday boy once said, “All’s well that ends well.” The mishap was righted.

 

Most of April 1964 was filled with eventful and happy moments…with awards, #1 hit records, the making of “A Hard Day’s Night,” and far too many honors for The Beatles to mention here. Beatlemania was at its intense apex. And the dark days of 1962 were, for the most part, only a memory. Good had returned, in force, to The Beatles.

 

April 1965 – One year later, The Beatles were the undisputed Kings of the World. They spent the early part of April in Austria, filming scenes for their second United Artists’ movie, “Eight Arms to Hold You,” later known as “Help!” The boys had already recorded a good bit of the film’s soundtrack, but they were working on other songs. John was publishing his second book of poetry and prose, A Spaniard in the Works. And at the end of the month, The Beatles were in London’s Twickenham studios, finishing up their film. In between time on the movie set, John, Paul, George, and Ringo were doing interviews for the BBC and looking ahead to yet another World Tour. The Beatles were busy, productive, and engaged. The shadow of April 1962 only fell, now and again, on John. The rest carried on.

 

April 1969 – John had at last found a new soul mate, a partner he loved as deeply as he’d loved Stu. He had fallen for Japanese artist, Yoko Ono, and on 1 April, the couple returned to London after their much-publicized Amsterdam honeymoon “Bed-in for Peace.” Whilst privately wondering if John had “gone mad,” the press welcomed the newlyweds back with unexpected gusto. This, of course, inspired John to write “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” which Paul would (in May) help John record in studio. It would be one of their last happy collaborations, as The Beatles stood on the brink of solo careers. In just a few weeks, Ringo would begin filming “The Magic Christian” and George would fly off with Pattie Boyd to Spain, but in April, the boys were still The Beatles…one last time.

 

The great loss of Stu Sutcliffe in April 1962 colored John’s life, to be sure. And Stu was never forgotten as John penned “In My Life” and faithfully lived out Stu’s suggestion that The Beatles be “a work of art and not just a band.” But though Stu’s death was a tremendous tragedy, it was not an end. Happiness waited patiently ahead.

 

As all of us are struggling through this horrific month of illness and economic crisis, once again The Beatles show us that there is a future after disastrous times. Their story reminds us that there will surely be moments in the days ahead when we will once again achieve, create, spend time with friends, and live normal lives. Not even the shadow of death can defeat us.

 

We can all shine on. And we must…


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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Genius Having Fun: The Beatles in March

::: By Jude Southerland Kessler :::   Spring brings out childlike wonder and joy in all of us. We walk into the sunlight and marvel at exotic Japanese magnolia blossoms brashly defying winter’s last ice storms. We gasp in delight over surprising fields of yellow daffodils. We search for four-leaf clovers but find our truest fortune in the re-energized work we do, now that dark days have become light and fresh again.   The Beatles felt this. In five March calendars together, they were especially creative. They starred in films, wrote books, appeared on radio and television programs, and of course, created magical music that still plays in our homes and falls from the lips of our children and grandchildren. Invigorated each spring, The Beatles tended to greet March with an enthusiasm that found its way into archetypal creativity. For example…   March 1963…Fresh off the Helen Shapiro Tour (which had run from 2 February – 3 March), the boys gathered in EMI’s Studio Two on Tuesday, 5 March, to record the jaunty, “From Me to You,” a song that had been inspired by a newspaper column which John and Paul had spotted on the Shapiro tour bus. In studio, the ever-brilliant George Martin gave the number a very singular sound when he recommended that the boys sing rather than play the song’s “da-da-dum-da-da-dum-dum-da” intro. But “From Me to You,” wasn’t the only product of that creative date. The lads also recorded “Thank You, Girl” and “The One After 909.” “From Me to You,” however, was clearly the stand-out. An instant hit, it was throughout 1963, an important part of the lads’ catalogue. In fact, it was the opening song the night that The Beatles “rattled jewelry” at the Royal Command Performance, six months later.   March 1964…The Beatles began making their first film for United Artists, “A Hard Day’s Night” on Monday, 2 March 1964. Now, one would think that making a full-length feature movie and creating the soundtrack LP would be task-enough for John, Paul, George, and Ringo, but throughout the month, they were busy here, there, and everywhere. On the 19th, for example, they spent their lunch hour at London’s Royal Dorchester Hotel receiving the Variety Club Silver Heart award for “Top Show Business Personalities of 1963,” an honor presented to them by Prime Minister Harold Wilson. And that night, instead of going home when the other actors called it quits, they hurried to tape an appearance on Britain’s #1 pop TV show, Top of the Pops. The very next evening (in their spare time, after filming), the boys performed on the hit television programme, Ready, Steady, Go! (Deep Breath!!!) And of course, in addition to all of this, John Lennon also released his first book, a volume of prose and poetry entitled In His Own Write. What can I say? The Beatles’ well-lauded creativity was, in March 1964, both on and off-the-charts!   March 1965…Again, it was film-making season for the Fabs, but this time, in ’65, the United Artists’ film was “Eight Arms to Hold You,” eventually dubbed “Help!”. First, filming in Nassau for a fortnight, the boys flew home on the 10th, only to regenerate quickly and head out once again. Three days later, accompanied by newlywed, Maureen Starkey, and John’s wife, Cynthia, the boys were en route to Austria. During their time in the breathtaking Alps, John completed an extremely biographical song he’d begun at Kenwood, a number entitled “It’s Only Love.” Depicting his increasingly rocky relationship with Cynthia, this offering revealed so much of John’s vulnerability and tenderness that ever-after, he despised it. Paul told the press that John rarely let people see his soft side: “I’ve only seen him through the cracks in his shell because the shell is so hard.” But “It’s Only Love” so laid bare John’s love for his wife and their mutual struggles, that in the years to come, John would never have a good word to say about the revelatory song. In emotional and imperfect lyrics, it had too closely captured Lennon’s wounded heart.   March 1967…Wearing ponchos, flowered “kecks,” and National Health glasses, the boys were truly in creative heaven, working away in EMI Studios, on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. On 1 and 2 March, they worked for hours on John’s “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Then, on the 9th and 10th, they gave their attention to Paul’s “Getting Better All the Time.” And on the 15th, they began work on George’s “Within You, Without You.” But in every period of intense, unfettered creativity, there is always an inherent edge and potential danger. And 21 March 1967 was one of those experimental evenings that could have ended tragically. John, having taken LSD for inspiration, was feeling unwell and excused himself from Studio Two. Hoping to help John recover (and oblivious to the reason for John’s discomfort), George Martin followed him out and suggested climbing to the EMI rooftop for fresh air. When, moments later, Paul and George saw Martin return without Lennon and discovered where their friend was recuperating, they tore out after him…realising that the roof had no rails or barriers against a sheer, 30-foot drop to the ground. Fortunately, when they scrambled — breathless — onto the top deck, John was simply standing and staring at the night sky. But the boys were so thoroughly rattled that they concluded their recordings for that evening then and there. Creative inspiration had engendered a close call.   March 1968…Out of devotion to his mates, Ringo (and his wife, Maureen) agreed to go along with the others to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh, India, for a soul revival. But after only 10 days abroad — hating the “Butlin’s holiday camp” life of the Ashram — the Starkeys gave the others their regrets and flew home. Twenty-five days later, on 26 March, after having worked prodigiously with John on a plethora of songs that would populate the White Album, Paul and Jane Asher flew back to London, accompanied by Neil Aspinall…and leaving only John and Cyn, George and Patti, and Alex Mardas behind. Although this excursion failed to end particularly well (if one knows the backstory of “Sexy Sadie”), March 1968 was undeniably a time of immense creative genius for The Beatles. Having the rare opportunity to rest, talk, write music, and have furtive fun together (when the Maharishi wasn’t looking), the boys created magical songs for the finest LP they’d offered the public in quite some time. Indeed, John alone wrote enough tracks for the White Album to have his own solo LP. The “Leader Beatle,” who had sadly relinquished his role in Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour was back. They all were…in a flood of bright, spring sunlight that blended dramatically into pure White.   Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is genius having fun.” And certainly, no group of people bear this out better than The Beatles. During the March months of their lives, they starred in award-winning films (creatively ad-libbing many of the famous lines), wrote and illustrated books of poetry and prose, composed and recorded music, starred on television and radio programmes, and sought new horizons of faith. But for the lads, ushering music, art, and literature into the world was never a job or a chore! It was always the product of the happiest moments of their lives. And may it be so, this month, with us as well. Shine on!
Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.
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