do you recall any interviews or articles that describe or mention the Beatles attire in 1966 or 1967?
What a delightfully specific and whimsical inquiry, anon! You may expect a supplementary follow-up post to this answer as I rummage through my Beatles cache, but for now, here’s a couple of articles I have on hand which immediately sprung to mind.
They’re real. The Beatles, that is. I had never seen them in the flesh before, so I
expected some kind of supermen to step
out of the plane at Metropolitan Airport last
After all, aren’t they the group who changed the whole face of pop music over
the past four years? They showed people that pop music can have meaning and its
creators can be intelligent, talented artists.
Then there they were, coming down the plane’s ramp, four smiling, slightly
tired looking guys.
John topped his casual outfit with yellow steel-rimmed sunglasses. Paul wore
black slacks and a wild strawberry colored jacket. George, all in black. And Ringo, in
blue jeans and a yellow print shirt. (Paul later saw me write down paisley. “It’s not
paisley,” he said. “What would you call it? Flowered? How about art nouveau?”)
— Loraine Alterman, Detroit Free Press: Four smiling, tired guys talk about their music. (August 19th, 1966)
Alterman is describing their dress as they landed in the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport on August 13th, 1966. Alterman later interviewed them backstage at the Olympia Stadium; here they are with Detroit radio man Scott Regan, dressed as described:
The photographer Bob Bonis was also taking photos of them:
Ringo’s “art nouveau” shirt was probably the same one that made up part of the Beatles’ performance attire for that night. Photographed by Doug Elbinger:
The suits must be the ones they typically wore during the 1966 tour, as in their Memphis concert on August 19th:
(I can’t seem to find any colour photos/footage of them wearing yellow “art nouveau” print shirts, though. Nor of Paul from around this time in a “wild strawberry colored jacket” - perhaps he borrowed one of John’s, like the one he’s wearing here? Or even here?)
The Beatles, innovators as always, last week bestowed a new experience on the pop scene – the LISTEN-IN. They commandeered Brian Epstein’s luxurious townhouse in Chapel Street, London SW1, played their new LP, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, at full volume and shouted pleasantly at their guests for several hours.
Downstairs, a long genuine antique table groaned, as they say, under huge dishes of cold meats and vegetables served by white-jacketed waiters. To drink there was a choice of gazpacho, a cold soup, or champers. The champers won handsomely.
The “boys”, as they are affectionately known by their management, were in fine fettle. Lennon won the sartorial stakes with a green, flower-patterned shirt, red cord trousers, yellow socks and what looked like cord shoes. His ensemble was completed by a sporran. With his bushy sideboards and National Health specs, he resembled an animated Victorian watchmaker. Paul McCartney, sans moustache, wore a loosely tied scarf over a shirt, a striped double-breasted jacket and looked like someone out of a Scott Fitzgerald novel.
— Jack Hutton for Melody Maker. (May 27th, 1967)
Apart from his green frilly shirt, John was wearing maroon trousers and round his waist was a sporran. Why the sporran, I enquired.
“A relative in Edinburgh gave it to Cynthia as a present and as there are no pockets in these trousers it comes in handy for holding my cigarettes and front-door keys.”
I joined George sitting quietly on a settee nibbling on a stick of celery. He was wearing dark trousers and a maroon velvet jacket. On the lapel was a badge from the New York Workshop of Non Violence. Their emblem is a yellow submarine with what looked like daffodils sprouting from it.
“Naturally I’m opposed to all forms of war,” said George seriously. “The idea of man killing man is terrible.”
— Norrie Drummond for NME. (May 27th, 1967)
Both quotes are, of course, describing the group in all their finery at a dinner party held at Brian Epstein’s townhouse on May 19th, 1967 to celebrate the launch of Sgt Pepper:
To end off, a moment of transition in appearance:
I asked [Paul] why he and John had suddenly become clean shaven after growing moustaches (I had criticised their hairy images in the NME “Summer Special”, now on sale, quoting teenage girls as saying that the facial-fuzz image of The Beatles put them off them). Paul replied: “I just felt like it and I suppose John did, too. No special reason, really.”
And would George and Ringo follow suit? Paul sounded annoyed at this question. “That’s up to George and Ringo, isn’t it? That’s thur affur,” he said, going into a broader Liverpudlian accent with his annoyance.
Yes, it’s a very independent group these days, with each Beatle living his own life and making his own rules. The only planned thing about them is rehearsal and recording times. Otherwise it is a case of George Harrison, MBE, independent gentleman; Ringo Starr, MBE, independent gentleman; John Lennon, MBE, independent gentleman; and Paul McCartney, MBE, independent gentleman.
And good luck to them. If they continue to produce for us super LPs like Sergeant Pepper and give the world messages of LOVE, and so do something to unite the universe instead of tear it apart like politicians seem to do, they can go on their sweet, independent, No 1 way.
Finally, Paul calmed down and said, “Andy, tell your readers how pleased we are to be No 1 and say a big thank you from us.” I said I’d be delighted to do that and thanked Paul, who is still very much the “public relations” Beatle.
— Andy Gray for NME. (July 22nd, 1967)
On July 22nd, the Beatles headed off to Greece:
(…. I’m not actually sure if this is the sort of thing you’re referring to, anon, so I do hope I’ve at least glanced the gist of it. Do let me know if I’ve misunderstood your query! A follow-up post with more quotes along these lines is still on the back burner.)