“It took me a while to find George. He was sitting on a large pillow and playing a jumbo guitar with twelve strings. It was an extraordinary, beautiful sound. He was so engrossed in playing that he didn’t even notice me enter. I didn’t want to bother him and wandered around the room. […]
‘Hey, Klaus, how are you?’ Simon [of The Fool] greeted me with more of an American accent than a Dutch one. Marijke hugged me and simultaneously pressed a paintbrush into my hand.
‘Come on, you can help us. Your inspiration has been missing.’
At that same moment, an arm wrapped around me from behind, and even though I couldn’t see who it was, I knew it could only be George. He leaned his head on my right shoulder and glanced at me from the side with a cheeky grin.
‘What’s that under your nose, George?’
‘It’s called a mustache.’
George put on a playfully posh look and slowly ran his finger along his mustache.
Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon - photographed by Robert Whitaker
“The Beatles had just finished a recording and George Harrison was passing around cigarettes. Ringo ran across the floor of Studio Two and leapt up the stairs to talk to recording manager George Martin. The time was right for the other three to speak privately.
John: ‘Look, what are we going to get him as a bloody wedding present? Let’s get it sorted out right now.’
Paul: 'I don’t know what you’re worried about, I’ve brought him back something from Tunisia.’
Paul: 'A silver apple - nice, Arabic thing. Very unusual.’
George: 'What’s your game then? You’re sucking up to Ringo a bit, aren’t you?’
John: 'What are you after, Paul? A job in Ringo’s group when we give him the push? I reckon somebody should go out and buy him and Maureen a bloody big gold clock. The biggest cold clock there is. Didn’t you realise we waited for you to come back from holiday before deciding what to buy him from all of us? Listen, somebody, go out and spend a lot of money on this lovely gold clock. Then we’ll send him a note saying he’s out of the group!’
It was a fairly severe joke, but knife-edged jokes are flying all the time at a Beatles recording session. Anyone taking them seriously would wrongly think The Beatles lived on the precipice of real disaster.
The truth is that they revel in that sort of humour. A snipe is meant as a joke. Their personalities are basically so similar that they have an uncanny understanding of each other’s apparent attacks.” - Ray Coleman’s article on visiting a Beatles recording session, Melody Maker, 27 February 1965
On this day in music history: June 20, 1966 - “Yesterday And Today”, the eleventh US album by The Beatles is released. Produced by George Martin, it is recorded circa 1965 - 1966 at Abbey Road Studios in London. A US only compilation LP released by Capitol Records, it consists of tracks extracted from the UK versions of “Help!”, “Rubber Soul” and the yet to be released “Revolver”, as well as tracks released as stand alone singles. It becomes instantly infamous for its cover photo, taken by photographer Robert Whitaker. The photo in question is taken during a photo session in March 1966 and features The Beatles wearing butchers smocks, surrounded by pieces of raw meat and decapitated baby dolls. The photo is first published in a UK trade magazine ad for the single “Paperback Writer”, without any controversy. However, when Capitol Records uses the photo for the album cover of “Yesterday”, the public outcry is immediate and the album is withdrawn before reaching most record stores. The cover is quickly replaced with an innocuous shot of the band sitting around a steamer trunk. The few existing copies featuring the original cover (either in it’s original “first state” or copies with the new cover slick pasted over the original) become highly sought after and valuable collector’s items. Then Capitol Records president Alan Livingston sets aside a box of sealed original first state LP’s (nineteen mono and five stereo copies), which begin being sold by his family years later. The highest amount paid for one of these was $39,000 for a first state mono LP in 2006. The album also includes earlier mono mixes of the extracted “Revolver” tracks “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Doctor Robert” and “And Your Bird Can Sing”, which are converted to re-channeled “Duophonic” stereo for the stereo LP. The album remains in print until it is deleted in 1987 along with all of the other US compiled collections to make way for the release of The Beatles original UK albums on CD. “Yesterday” makes its CD debut in January of 2014 as an individual release and as part of the box set “The Beatles - The US Albums”. The CD reissue comes packaged in a mini LP sized replica of the original “Butcher Cover” artwork, with an additional sticker replicating the “Steamer Trunk” cover slick pasted over some original LP copies. “Yesterday And Today” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
‘They weren’t opposites, they were so alike. I mean the sad thing is John isn’t with us anymore, and who knows what would have happened and the friendship…you know it’s the press, you read about history, you know it’s not what really went on in history. That’s why I’m glad I got them smiling (bottom image) and I got to show people that they, you know, loved each other They were friends way before I met Paul. They were friends and carried on being friends.’ - Linda McCartney
Pictures are The Beatles and Brian Epstein at the Westwood Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska, 27th-28th June 1966. On their way to Japan, the group had to make an unscheduled stop in Alaska to avoid Typhoon Kit. In these photos, taken by Robert Whitaker, bored Beatles and Brian are taking polaroid photos of each other while they wait out the typhoon - I think there is a real feel of the ‘eye of the storm’ to the photos, literal and metaphorical. In the last image John, George and Brian are examining a polaroid picture (reflected in John’s glasses?)
“It seems to me that with everything going on, someone ought to be looking after you.“
[Brian on 3 December 1961, proposing the notion of him managing the Beatles to John, Paul, George and Pete. Quoted in The Beatles: A Biography by Bob Spitz.]
Scans - During the filming of the “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” promotional videos at Chiswick House on 20 May 1966, one young school girl fan, Anne Welburn, managed to sneak on to the grounds, and is seen here with George and John.
Photos: Robert Whitaker
“I was 14 and The Beatles were making a film for ‘Paperback Writer’ in Chiswick House, London, opposite my school. The gates were locked, but I climbed over a wall and there they were. My legs turned to jelly but they were so friendly. John asked what I was doing for my O-levels and Ringo offered me his fish and chips. I was in a daze and the other girls didn’t believe me until they saw the photo.” - Anne Welburn, quoted in Off The Record