1967 forever

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The Beatles filming Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane at Knole Park, Kent on the 30th - 31st January, 1967 and 7th February 1967. 

“I was one of the boys who cut lessons from Sevenoaks School to chase the Beatles around Knole Park, and stole a hammer from their brightly painted piano. It was a fantastic adventure for a 13-year-old, and the most worthwhile six solaces I ever got (and there were a few) duly came from Mr Sampson, waiting with the blue paper on our return. 

“Word shot round that they were coming. I remember sitting in our form room in the Cottage Block at the end of break and we decided to run past Claridge House to the Knole drive. We were just in time to see a fleet of four black Minis with blacked-out windows racing into the park. There was very little security, a bobby or two, so we scampered after them on foot to the filming area behind the east wall of Knole House garden. I remember feeling as excited as I had ever felt, worrying a little about cutting school, but then thinking this may never happen again, so had to be done – I think they smashed up the piano after the filming, so the school kids who were there swarmed over the bits to find a souvenir.”

[Trevor Nicholson, chairman of Sevenoaks Rugby Club, Sevenoaks Chronicle via Kent Live, 21st January 2017]

Pics: courtesy of Tracks Ltd. / Kent Live.

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The Beatles filming the “Strawberry Fields Forever” promotional clip, Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, 31 January 1967; photographed by Jane Bown.

While sorting through one of my scrapbooks, I re-discovered this description from a Christie’s listing (filed under 2005) - for autographs obtained either on 31 January or 7 February 1967:

“These signatures were acquired by the vendor during the shooting of the promotional clips for Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane at Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, on either 31st January or 7th February, 1967.

At the time, the vendor was chief photographer for a local newspaper, the Sevenoaks Chronicle, and recalls receiving a tip-off that the Beatles would be at Knole Park. On arrival he was told by the producer that the press were not welcome, but managed to persuade him to let him take a few photographs on the understanding that he would not reveal what the film was for.

The vendor noticed Brian Epstein and asked him for his autograph and recalls, ‘He was charming and signed my book three times.

I then managed to get Ringo, John and Paul [to sign]. […] George Harrison’s signature was not obtained as he was, apparently, irritated at being asked to pose for photographs, dismissing the vendor and a colleague with the comment, ‘Go take ******* photographs of yourself!’“

4

On this day in music history: February 13, 1967 - “Strawberry Fields Forever” / “Penny Lane” by The Beatles is released. The double A-sided single is the first release to emerge from the recording sessions that yields the landmark album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. The two songs based on childhood remembrances by Lennon and McCartney were originally slated to be a part of the album. The two songs are instead issued as a stand alone single, after Capitol Records in the US begins to press the band for a new release, not having issued any new Beatles records in over six months. In the US, “Penny Lane” hits number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 18, 1967, while “Strawberry Fields” peaks at number eight on April 1, 1967. In the UK, the single peaks at #2 behind Englebert Humperdinck’s “Release Me”. US and Canadian promotional copies of the single include an earlier mono mix of “Penny Lane” that includes a seven note trumpet coda at the end that is mixed out of all commercially released versions of the song, making the promo 45 a valuable and heavily sought after collector’s item. Both tracks make their LP debut on the US release of “Magical Mystery Tour” in November of 1967.