The Beatles in September

In 1961, Hayley Mills starred in the film, “The Parent Trap,” whose theme song employed a catch-phrase, soon to be echoed by our own Fab Four, in 1963.  In the Disney film, twin daughters (both played by Mills) scheme to see that their estranged parents will try to “get together, yeah, yeah, yeah!”. Of course, by the end of that production, the twins (and the clever screenwriters) achieved a happy ending. The parents were remarried; the girls, reunited, and the phrase “yeah, yeah, yeah” was fondly ingrained in our memories. But all “triple-yeahs” aside, there is a more important link between The Beatles and “The Parent Trap” theme song…that being, of course, togetherness.


In The Anthology, John Lennon wrote: “Once upon a time, there were three little boys called John, Paul, and George, by name christened. They decided to get together, because they were the getting together type. When they were all together, they wondered what for, after all, what for? So, all of a sudden, they all got guitars and formed a noise.”


Indeed, being together was the very essence of The Beatles. And each September that they experienced as a group found them reuniting to tour, to record, “to form a noise,” and to have fun doing it. Let’s look back on some of those precious moments.


September 1960 – The Beatles in Hamburg for the first time


After hounding Liverpool’s charismatic impresario and Jacaranda Coffee House owner, Allan Williams, to get them a gig in Hamburg, Germany, The Beatles were finally on their way to the port city’s bright lights. Unbeknownst to Williams, his boys were booked on “the dark end of the Reeperbahn” in a seedy strip club called The Indra. But in only weeks, the hardworking Beatles had transformed the vacant dive into a hot spot, and they were promoted to the burgeoning Kaiserkeller. Sharing the boards in “the ’Keller” with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (and their suave, gregarious drummer, Ringo Starr), The Beatles quickly adopted a vast catalogue of new music and learned how to mach shau…put on a show! By the time John, Paul, George, and Pete returned Merseyside in the winter of 1960, they were a highly-honed stage band. Together, they had become, as Neil Aspinall would call soon them, The Fabulous Beatles.


September 1962 – The Beatles in EMI recording “Love Me Do”


Having very recently acquired cool Ringo Starr as their new drummer, September 1962 found The Beatles hard at work in London’s EMI Studios, trying to earn “the break of a lifetime.” They had traveled to “The Smoke” (London) to record their first real record. And although accomplished producer, George Martin, wanted the skinny Liverpool boys to perform the Tin Pan Alley song, “How Do You Do It?”, The Beatles were dead set on “Love Me Do.” Assuring Martin that they “could not return to Liverpool” having recorded “How Do You Do It?” without being laughed off the quay, The Beatles stuck to their guns. However, the original number — that featured John Lennon on mouth organ and lyrics — was tricky. “You simply can’t play the harmonica and sing as well, John,” Martin had objected. “It will come out as “Love Me…Wahhh.” So, reluctantly, Paul McCartney assumed the lead vocal role. And “ta-dah!!!” Only four weeks later, “Love Me Do” rocketed to Number 17! Not bad for a first-time session with a new drummer, a new producer, and a new studio. Getting together equaled a brand-new sound!


September 1964 – First North American Tour


Chuck Gunderson in Some Fun Tonight: The Backstage Story of How The Beatles Rocked America: The Historic Tours of 1964-1966 said it best: On the 1964 North American Tour “…The Beatles would play a staggering thirty-two shows in twenty-six venues in twenty-four cities in just thirty-three days.” (p. 14) Talk about togetherness! And ah, the memories they made! They sang goose-bumpy harmony in the shimmering amphitheater of the Hollywood Bowl. They echoed over the rugged landscape around Red Rocks. They brought mayhem to Montreal and the New Orleans City Park. They diverted around Hurricane Dora and discovered new friends down in Key West. And unexpectedly, they gave Kansas City a raucous medley that furnished the “two extra songs” Charlie O. Finley craved. Gunderson writes, “No musical act before or since will ever rival The Beatles on their incredible groundbreaking tour of 1964. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr not only would leave an indelible impression on their fans in the United States and Canada, but would leave the fans hungering for more in 1965.” (p. 14) And they did it all, together.


September 1967 – The Making of Magical Mystery Tour


Magical Mystery Tour was, for John, Paul, George, and Ringo, a crucial restorative process. In the aftermath of Brian Epstein’s tragic death, it gave them “a way forward.” It was a project to bind them —one to another — to employ their talents and creativity, and to keep them close together, both physically and in spirit. According to our Beatles Guru, Mark Lewisohn in The Complete Beatles Chronicle, the Magical Mystery Tour recording sessions commenced on 5 September with the 7.00 p.m. – 1.00 a.m. EMI Studio One recording of “John’s glorious ‘I Am the Walrus’” (p. 261). And the grand filming event began on 11 September and concluded 24 Sept 1967.  Throughout this grief-laden month, the necessity of rising each morning and being productive each day, whilst surrounded by dear friends (Freda Kelly, Neil and Mal, Victor Spinetti, etc.) helped to assuage The Beatles’ pain and to focus their energies on what would be rather than what had been.


No clearer example of “We’re Better Together” can be given to us than The Beatles in their shared Septembers. Despite worldwide pandemics, economic crises, and fiery political divisions, we need to reach out to one another and seek bonds not barriers. September is a month for finding our own harmony, our own new horizons, and our own way forward. Together the boys always found a way to shine on…and so can we.


To hear the adorable song “Let’s Get Together, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” performed by Haley Mills and her double, Haley Mills for “The Parent Trap,” go here.


In My Life — What are your earliest memories of The Beatles?

What are your earliest memories of The Beatles? How did your journey with the Fab Four begin? Jude Kessler, author of The John Lennon Series, shares her sentimental journey and encourages you to share yours! Our panel of judges will award 3 prizes for the best very brief stories in our Comments section below. The winners will get to expand their stories and be highlighted as our Featured Fest Bloggers in June!


Here’s Jude’s true tale:


I’ve told the story at least a hundred times: how 9-year-old Pattie Holly Singer — clasping an early Beatles 45-rpm photo jacket — waylaid me en route to class at Horseshoe Drive Elementary in Alexandria, Louisiana.


These are The Beatles!” she exhaled, her eyes dancing nervously. “Everyone’s in love with them!!! You’ve gotta pick one to fall in love with…by recess!” That was the beginning of it all, really — the sojourn into the frenetic and frantic land of Beatlemania.


All the rest of my memories that year center on The Beatles. I can’t recall anything else “in my life.”


My father, Dr. Tom Paul Southerland, the Rapides Parish Assistant Superintendent of Schools, was not impressed. Each month, he’d call me into his office and sit me down to begin the standard lecture: “You’re in love with that John Lennon, and it has to stop! He’s a hoodlum, I tell you. A hoodlum!” But the more my dad divulged that “fact,” the more I was attracted to the almond-eyed guitar player with his razored wit and deep, gritty voice…the more “The Leader Beatle” invoked devotion.


Despite my father’s despair over Lennon-mania, though, he saw sense. When “A Hard Day’s Night” came to Alexandria’s Don Theater, late that summer, he offered to take me to the film. He even did some research on it and commented on the cautious drive downtown, “I hear these Beatles are a lot like the Marx Brothers. Some people say they’re the Marx Brothers and the Keystone Cops, all rolled into one. In fact, down at the office, they tell me this movie really shows that side of their comedy.”


I don’t remember my response; I’m sure it was polite and agreeable. But in that fat, baby-blue-and-white, four-door Buick, I do remember thinking that I’d seen “You Bet Your Life” on TV and that John Lennon was nothing whatsoever like gruff, bespectacled, OLD Groucho Marx. I saw no correlation between Marx and Lennon, and frankly, I couldn’t imagine anyone who could! I bit my lip and sighed and thought my father and I, worlds apart.


At the end of film that afternoon, as the credits rolled across the screen (names I would come to know intimately in my adult life…some, like Victor Spinetti, whom I would meet and interview at our own Fest for Beatles Fans), I sat in the darkness and wept. I cried because I’d loved every minute of John’s film. (As Susan Ryan said to me years later, “What??! The other Beatles were in that movie????”) I sobbed because it had ended all too quickly. And I wept because there was no one there to understand my heart.


“Would you like to stay and see it again?” my father leaned over, asking me quietly. I was floored. Stunned! The man who had railed against The Beatles for months got it!!!! Somehow, he understood. And he was offering to devote two more hours of his life to a film he really didn’t want to see. It was a moment…one of the best of my childhood. My father had unwittingly conspired with The Beatles to create a forever memory.


Today, I live about two hours from Alexandria — or “Beatle Town,” as I call it. Every time I have an occasion to drive through the city or visit friends there, I fly back to 1964. I remember it all. I remember asking for my first Beatles album on my November birthday and getting, instead, a black-and-white LP by The Liverpool Beats singing, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” right alongside “Joshua” and “Maybe I Will.” I vividly recall fighting back hot tears over the sound of “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…” and trying to act thrilled over the errant record looming next to my chocolate cake. I also remember climbing into bed that night and writing a very early letter Santa, who surely, in just a few short weeks, would right the wrong and deliver the treasure I so craved.


On a very chilly and early 25 December 1964, as I tore into the thick, crimson foil encasing Capitol’s “Meet the Beatles,” my introduction to “the lads” was finally complete. In twelve short months I had found my passion for a lifetime and stepped into my future career. I had selected not only “a Beatle to love,” but had chosen the direction for my college course of study and the path of my professional life. From that day on, it would be all John Lennon, all the time.


And yes Virginia, it still is.



Now…it’s your turn. Share your first and earliest Beatles’ story with us in the Comments below…let the memories Shine On.

Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series:


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


Creative director John Kosh had his hand in many Beatles-related projects

Creative director John Kosh has been behind many Beatles-related projects, including the album covers for Abbey Road and Let It Be, and John’s ‘War Is Over’ campaign.


Kosh, who was a guest at one of our recent Fests, spoke with Best Classic Bands about his work with the Beatles and artists such as the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, The Who, and more.


Recalls Kosh about the Abbey Road cover:


It was designed without a title and without the name of the band. I received an irate call from the chairman of EMI, Joseph Lockwood, in the middle of the night saying that no one would know what it was. But the next morning George Harrison reassured me: ‘We’re the fu**ing Beatles.'”


::: Read more about Kosh at Best Classic Bands HERE :::


Remembering John Lennon

Thoughts from Fest Founder Mark Lapidos on this most somber of days…
There is no getting around it. This is the blackest date in Beatles history.
34 years later, it still sucks. For many millions of fans it was the worst day of our lives. We can somehow understand how or why politicians and world leaders over the centuries could be assassinated. BUT A MUSICIAN!!!! Not just any musician, but John Lennon.
John was so much more than a musician. He became the voice of a generation, spreading peace and love around the world. He was also an artist, writer, husband, father and a dreamer, to name a few.
There have been so many books written about John – some really terrific ones and some horrible ones. But just listen to his music, read his words, listen to his interviews – that is where you will find the essence of John.
John’s music and spirit will always be with us, so listen to his music today. Put on your favorite Beatles album or favorite solo album, or put on something you haven’t listened to in a while. Think positive thoughts about John and celebrate his life and always remember what he gave us. It is something so ingrained in us, it will last forever. All You Need Is Love.


Paul McCartney’s variance & versatility during the ‘Help’ sessions

Throughout his career, Paul McCartney has shown himself to be a bit of a chameleon, with his musical style bouncing all over the place from the mid-60s to the present.
While with the Beatles, you can point to the absurd differences between a song like ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Honey Pie,’ both of which appear on The Beatles (The White Album).
During his solo career, McCartney has gone from light to heavy to experimental (‘Temporary Secretary,’ etc) to classical and circled all the way back to his roots while putting a ‘NEW’ spin on things.
One of the best early examples of McCartney’s versatility can be found on three songs he recorded during the ‘Help’ sessions.
‘I’m Down,’ ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face,’ and ‘Yesterday’ were all recorded on the same day in June of 1965.
‘I’m Down’ is a classic McCartney rocker, which the Beatles began using to wrap up most of their live shows.
‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’ is a bluesy/country/folk-pop song that features a tempo unlike anything the group had done prior.
‘Yesterday,’ now viewed as an absolute classic, featured two contrasting sections and a string quartet.
Below, listen to alternate/live versions of each song >>




The Beatles pondered doing a live (non-rooftop) show in 1969

On January 29, 1969, the day before their rooftop concert, Paul McCartney and John Lennon had an at times intense conversation during the ‘Get Back’ sessions.
Over on the amoralto tumblr page, they did a great job breaking down the conversation.
The conversation – mostly dominated by Paul – revolved partially around the idea that the Beatles could do something instead of the rooftop concert.
Paul suggested playing in front of audiences again, entering a ‘visual’ studio, or doing some other not-yet-hashed-out thing instead of and/or in addition to the rooftop concert.
In the excerpt below, Paul makes his case:

PAUL: Yeah, but so… Hmm. But I’m just talking about this thing, like this thing we’ve entered upon now, we still haven’t got any aim for it, except another album, again. Our only aim, ever, is an album. Which is like a very non-visual thing, it’s very sort of… But it’s great, isn’t it, and we do albums, then. But—
JOHN: But albums is what we’re doing, at the moment.
PAUL: [uneasy] Yeah, but I don’t know. Like—
JOHN: I mean, that’s what we [inaudible] talk about.
PAUL: —like I was saying the other day, is that you – is that you – you— [hesitating] We’re into albums as the four of us, but I really think we could be into other things. But every time I talk about it, I really sound like I’m the showbiz correspondent, trying to hustle us to do a Judy Garland comeback, you know. But really, all I mean is – well, look, let’s get – let’s change, or let’s go into a studio, like a vision studio, after we’ve learnt all of these, that’s just as good as this for sound, that’s got the same sort of thinking…

Later on in the discussion, Paul intimates that George would be in favor of a show in the mold of the ones Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley were having around that time, and John wouldn’t rule it out:

PAUL: There’s no other way. We can’t think ourselves out of it. And we can’t sort of say, well, it will be alright. See, and then the only other alternative to that is to say, well, we don’t – we will never do it to an audience again. But if we intend to – to keep any sort of contact on that scene… [pause] Yeah. I do understand George’s just saying, “There’s no point,” you know, because it is like we’re Stravinsky, and it’s in the music. And he doesn’t sort of get up and play his ‘Joanna’ for them anymore. He just writes it, and just sort of maybe occasionally conducts it.
JOHN: But as long as there’s a good reason – like George wants to do a heavy show, like Dylan and Presley, all that.
JOHN: And that’ll be a large – I don’t know, like, I mean, that – that’s all this.
PAUL: Mm, yeah, I know, yeah. that’s always – that’s always just—
JOHN: Okay, yeah.
PAUL: That’s us again, you know.
JOHN: Yes, I know.
PAUL: It’s us going silly again.
JOHN: It is, and I think – I think we might do it.

All Beatles fans know what happened next.
The group went on to the Apple rooftop the next day for their final public performance.
A few weeks later, the group began work on ‘Abbey Road,’ the final album they would record.
What would have happened if Paul had convinced John and George to tour again…or if he had just convinced them to do one ‘audience show.’
Chances are that with George being held back musically, John wanting to branch off, and Paul’s at times overbearing personality, the group still would’ve disbanded.
However, it certainly would’ve been interesting to see what the dynamic would’ve been if the band had toured or played even one legitimate concert instead of the rooftop gig.


On John Lennon’s “Lost Weekend” & The Beatles Reunion That Never Was

By Danny Abriano

As a Beatles fanatic who was born three years after John Lennon was senselessly taken in December of 1980, I’m often bothered by the fact that I never shared the world with John. Since The Beatles formed and broke up before I was born, I also think about all of the “what ifs.” One of the most pondered, of course, is “what if The Beatles had gotten back together?”

During John Lennon’s “Lost Weekend” – the time he spent away from Yoko Ono from the summer of 1973 to early 1975 – he was with May Pang (and many others), and reportedly gave serious thought to a reunion with Paul and the rest of the group.

Before delving into the potential Beatles reunion, though, it’s important to discuss why the Lost Weekend came about in the first place.

John’s marriage to Yoko was floundering, and Yoko basically chose May Pang – who was an employee of theirs – as a lover and companion for John to have during their time apart. John spent lots of The Lost Weekend in Los Angeles, with friends such as Mal Evans and Harry Nilsson.

This month in 1974, one of the most infamous events of The Lost Weekend took place – the night John and Harry Nilsson were kicked out of the Troubadour Club for heckling the Smothers Brothers. As the story is told in “Lennon In America” by Geoffrey Giuliano:

One evening, Lennon, along with May Pang and Harry Nilsson, arrived at the Troubadour around midnight to catch the opening night of the Smothers Brothers act. Already overloaded on Brandy Alexanders, John became immediately disruptive, joining Harry in a cacophonous songfest and hurling a stream of obscenities at the Smothers. Events took a nasty turn when the duo’s manager Ken Fritz confronted an out-of-control John and hauled him from his seat.  Lennon exploded, overturning the table and the pair exchanged a few halfhearted fisticuffs. Lennon and company were literally thrown out the door where they tumbled into a party of incoming patrons, touching off a full-blown street brawl. The incident made worldwide headlines the following day.

While the Troubadour incident sheds light on how wild Lennon could be during the Lost Weekend, not every moment was dedicated to debauchery.

During this time, Lennon completed three solo albums (“Mind Games,” “Walls and Bridges,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll”), produced the “Pussy Cats” album for Harry Nilsson, and wondered aloud about a potential Beatles reunion. As May Pang told it:

John really thought about it at one point, and we were considering it early on in ’74, just for the hell of it. Harry Nilsson wanted to be a part of it. We said, oh, that would be a good idea—a one-off, and we would do it in the fall. We were thinking about upstate New York, like Syracuse, because Ringo couldn’t be in New York City…we had been hanging out with Ringo a lot in L.A., and it just came out of conversation, hanging out: ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be great if we did this one gig,’ and they’d start talking about it. ‘Yeah, well, why don’t we do this, and George would do that, and Paul. . .’ So it was just thrown around, and everybody was like, well. . .let’s do that.

In addition to his words to Pang, John had also spoken openly around that time about a potential Beatles reunion.

So, why didn’t a reunion happen?

According to Pang, none of the Beatles ever took the lead on hammering out the details. By 1975, John was back with Yoko and at the beginning of a five year break from the music business.

Lennon was at times in the process of losing himself completely while he was away from Yoko during the Lost Weekend, and his decision to get back together with Yoko was his.

However, like many fans unfairly blame Yoko Ono for the breakup of The Beatles, many also claim that her presence prevented any potential Beatles reunion from happening. May Pang supposedly encouraged John to reunite with Paul – something Yoko apparently didn’t do. Still, every choice John made was his.

While a Beatles reunion never took place, John Lennon and Paul McCartney did record together after the breakup. The date was March 28th, 1974, and a John and Paul reunion (with Harry Nilsson, Stevie Wonder and others also playing) came to be during a night of partying in the studio in Los Angeles.

The tape of the session is out there on the bootleg “A Toot and A Snore in ’74,” and is mostly a convoluted mess of voices and noises. Still, it has John Lennon and Paul McCartney playing and singing together four years after the breakup of The Beatles, something that can’t be found anywhere else.

Listening to John and Paul play and sing together on the tapes above is both sad and thrilling at the same time.

It’s just a jam session, and an alcohol and drug fueled one at that. However, it makes me think about what would’ve happened if a legitimate Beatles reunion had ever occurred.

After the breakup, the solo Beatles recorded with one another often, but never recorded as a foursome again. Most notably, John, George, and Ringo played on Ringo’s “I’m The Greatest,” and George, Paul, and Ringo played on George’s tribute to John “All Those Years Ago” after John was killed.

What would’ve happened if the group had gotten back together? Would it have been something that blew up as quickly as it materialized? A one album thing? Something that resulted in a second long-lasting effort? With their legacy already cemented, would it have even been worth it?

I was at Radio City Music Hall in 2010 when Paul surprised Ringo on stage for his birthday and of course sang “Birthday.” No one in the crowd knew Paul was about to show up, and the entire place went into absolute hysterics when Paul’s hofner bass was placed on stage, followed shortly thereafter by Paul running out and grabbing it. When Ringo ran behind the drum kit and sat down to start playing with Paul, it felt as if the mezzanine where I was sitting might collapse.

I had seen Paul in concert before, and I had seen Ringo in concert before. This was different, though. On stage were two Beatles – the only two who were left – performing together. It was more than special – there isn’t really an adequate word to describe it.

What would an official Beatles reunion have done to impact moments like the one above? Watered it down, or somehow enhanced it?


The “January Effect.” A look at the “boys” before the Capture of America.

By Larry Kane, author Ticket to Ride, Lennon Revealed, When They Were Boys

January 1964. Paris, France. The boys had a triumphant run in Paris, which John Lennon described to me as “one long celebration.” It was, after all, in Paris where they found out that “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was number one in America. That had, according to John, “lessened a bit our concerns” about “making it in the states,” or he added, with that sometimes crooked grin, “the colonies. Do we still call them that.”?

When I asked John in 1968 what was the best moment, the highlight moment of the Beatles career, he added, “Oh, Paris, hearing about…it being number one…remember it well, Larry…milk” Milk? Still trying to figure that one out, to this day.

January also followed the pattern of the so-called “Snowball” memo which I revealed in the “When They Were Boys” book.” It was a memo designed to create a snowball effect, prior to the Beatles landing in America. The elements? Just a little bit of film footage, the release of ‘hold your hand’ the day after Christmas, and news and p.r. masters Tony Barrow and Derek Taylor leaking just enough great tidbits to American reporters, including a slice of film to America’s leading anchorman, Walter Cronkite.

It was in January, that a confident Brian Epstein had finalized his deal to get the boys on three consecutive nights of the Ed Sullivan show, starting on February 9th.

January was also the time that Epstein and Capitol “capitalized” on all that music that John and Paul wrote. Oh yes! The songs that American broadcasters and labels had basically ignored in 1963. As John’s sister Julia Baird would say, “Imagine This.” That’s her book title, but IMAGINE THIS!

On January 3, “Please Please Me”, and flipside “From Me To You” was released. The “snowball effect” continues: On January 10 “Introducing the Beatles” is on sale. On January say hello to album “Meet The Beatles.”

And let us not slight early February. 2/3/64 and its “Twist and Shout.” On 2/7/64, “All My Loving” is unleashed, on the day the boys arrived in America, exactly 50 years before the opening of the 40th annual FEST, which I will help open with my one man show on Friday night, with all those details of heated days and stormy nights traveling with the Beatles.

By the way, for those of you obsessed with detail: The Beatles arrived at JFK Airport, which was renamed on December 23, 1963, in memory of the President. The original name was Idlewild, the name of the golf course where the airport was originally constructed. The airport was modernized to get ready for the 1965 World’s Fair, not far from Shea Stadium, where the Beatles changed music history by appearing before 60,000 fans in August 1965. During that concert, I watched from the steps of the Mets’ dugout with Ed Sullivan. We didn’t hear much, but watching the crowd itself was amazing.

For those of you coming to New York for the first time, some places to see are Strawberry Fields, Central Park West, just off 72nd Street and the Dakota. Also: The Plaza Hotel, where the Beatles stayed on their first quick trip in 1964. The Delmonico Hotel where they stayed in the Summer of 1964, and where Bob Dylan introduced them to a banned substance.

That’s it for now. I’ll be here, there and everywhere during those three days in the Fab Four Feb.

Larry Kane.