On May 15, 1967, Paul McCartney was out on the town.
PAUL: The night I met Linda I was in the Bag O'Nails [nightclub] watching Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames play a great set. Speedy was banging away. She was there with the Animals, who she knew from photographing them in New York. They were sitting a couple of alcoves down, near the stage. The band had finished and they got up to either leave or go for a drink or a pee or something, and she passed our table. I was near the edge and stood up just as she was passing, blocking her exit. And so I said, ‘Oh, sorry. Hi. How are you? How’re you doing?’ I introduced myself, and said, 'We’re going on to another club after this, would you like to join us?'
That was my big pulling line! Well, I’d never used it before, of course, but it worked this time! It was a fairly slim chance but it worked. She said, 'Yes, okay, we’ll go on. How shall we do it?’ I forget how we did it, 'You come in our car’ or whatever, and we all went on, the people I was with, and the Animals, we went on to the Speakeasy.
It was the first evening any of us had ever heard a record called 'A Whiter Shade of Pale’ with words about feeling seasick. The lyrics were all very strange and poetic and the theme was a famous Bach theme but we didn’t know that. We just thought, God, what an incredible record! It was a sort of marker record. It was a benchmark. And we were all trying to guess who it was. So we had to go to the booth and ask, 'What was that one you just played?’ and he said, 'Oh yes, “Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum.’ 'Procol what? Is it Latin or something?’ And there were rumors went around about what that meant. So all the mystery of the evening.
LINDA: I first met Paul at the Bag O'Nails. The Animals were old friends because I’d photographed them so much in New York, so when I came to London they took me out; and we went to see Georgie Fame at the Bag O'Nails. And that’s where Paul and I met. We flirted a bit, and then it was time for me to go back with them and Paul said, 'Well, we’re going to another club. You want to come?’ I remember everybody at the table heard 'A Whiter Shade of Pale’ that night for the first time and we all thought, Who is that? Stevie Winwood? We all said Stevie. The minute that record came out, you just knew you loved it. That’s when we actually met. Then we went back to his house. We were in the Mini with I think Lulu and Dudley Edwards, who painted Paul’s piano; Paul was giving him a lift home. I was impressed to see his Magrittes.
They met again four days later at the launch party for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an exclusive affair for a dozen journalists and a dozen photographers held at manager Brian Epstein’s house at 24 Chapel Street, Belgravia. Linda Eastman was in London to take photographs for a book called Rock and Other Four Letter Words on which she was collaborating with the journalist J. Marks.
LINDA: So we were in London to take pictures for this book. I’d always wanted to photograph Stevie Winwood because I loved Spencer Davis, I loved Stevie Winwood, and the Beatles. I’d pretty much photographed everybody else. But it was up to me, it’s not like Marks rang up people and said, 'I’m with Bantam Books. We want to take your picture.’ Nothing was organised, so I had to do it. I took my portfolio around to NEMS at Hille House, and Peter Brown looked at it. I’d met Peter when he and Brian Epstein came to New York, we had mutual friends. So I took my portfolio and asked him to show it to Brian. Brian liked it a lot and wanted to buy some of the pictures, which I loved. I gave them to him in the end. He said, 'Yes, you can photograph the Beatles.’ So I got to go to this press conference at Brian’s house for Sgt. Pepper. I got one good photo that I liked, which is that thumbs-up one. The rest are just like everyone else’s photographs, but for that one I said, 'Oh, come on, guys! You know?’ and that shows at least they were relating, because if you believe the press you’d never think John and Paul ever related.
(Quotes from Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now). The above photo was taken at the launch party by a press agency photographer and is the very first photo of Paul, then 24, and Linda, 25, together. They would not reconnect until a year later in America (in May 1968) and four months after that, would move in together. They married on March 12, 1969 and remained so until Linda’s untimely death from breast cancer on April 17, 1998.
Four children and 30 years of marriage - and it all started 50 years ago at 9 Kingly Street.
10 COMMANDMENTS: STEVIE NICKS - Q Magazine, March 2017
THE FLEETWOOD MAC SINGER DELIVERS HER GOLDEN RULES FOR LIVING.
1 MAKE LIKE A BOY OR GIRL SCOUT: BE PREPARED
I’m scared, that’s what I am. Before shows, some people – me, Mick [Fleetwood, [ drummer], we get panic attacks. I have always been terribly nervous before shows. So I am so rehearsed and ready that I could be dead and stand up there and still sing the right words and do the right thing.
Cocaine almost killed me. It’s better to just not do it. Eventually you’ll have to stop so start saving your money for rehab now.
2 THE DRUGS DON’T WORK, THEY JUST MAKE IT WORSE
Touring with Fleetwood Mac in the ’70s, cocaine was almost part of the daily routine. But when I talk about it now, I would never want the kids of today to think that I’m saying it was something good. Cos it really wasn’t something good. It almost destroyed my life. It almost killed me, and almost killed a lot of people I know. So if anybody thinks it’s safe now – it’s not. It’s better to just not do it. Because you will eventually have to stop, so start saving your money for rehab now. It’s so expensive.
3 LYRICISTS! WATCH YOUR CUSS WORDS
I’ve been listening to The Weeknd’s records. I play them one after the other when I’m in my bathroom getting ready to go out, or just hanging out with myself. He’s brilliant. And his voice – he could have come straight out of 1975 – he could have been like Stevie Winwood. He’s over-talented. But if I were to meet him, I would probably say: “You say over and over again words that I would prefer you didn’t say. I think they’re unnecessary. However, even though I think a lot of your songs are super-dirty, I still really like ’em! So I’ve given you a pass on that!”
4 SINGERS! WATCH YOUR SYLLABLES
I saw Adele at the Grammys [Adele had to restart a performance of George Michael’s Fastlove], and that song was a very hard song to sing for George Michael. It’s all about the syllables. I have a song on my 24 Karat Gold album, Mabel Normand, that’s exactly the same. That’s the reason we’re not doing it onstage. Because if you take a breath, you get off the beat. You’re one word too late, you can never get back on, and you’re dead in the water.
5 YOU’RE A ROCK STAR – THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A SICKIE
Onstage is the one time you can’t bemoan how you feel. Even if you have pneumonia, you have to say: “I’m leaving that in the dressing room and I’m walking out and I’m gonna be great. And when I come offstage, then I can burst into tears.”
6 WRITING TIMELESS POP OR EPIC FANTASY – EACH IS AS HARD AS THE OTHER
I love Game Of Thrones. [Author Author] George RR Martin is my age [68 ] and it blows my mind that he’s able to create this vast, interlinked world. As a songwriter I write little movies, but I can’t imagine writing even one small book. But then, probably, somebody like him would say, “I couldn’t imagine writing Landslide.”
7 DON’T FEAR THE PRODUCER
In the 24 Karat Gold show, I’m singing songs that are new old songs – the ones that should have gone on [Fleetwood Mac’s] Tusk and Tango In The Night, and on [solo albums] Bella Donna, The Wild Heart and Rock A Little. And they didn’t: not because they weren’t good enough, but because I didn’t like how they were done at the time. I didn’t like the producers’ concept, whether it was Lindsey [Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac bandmate] or Jimmy Iovine. So I pulled them. So the way the songs are recorded on 24 Karat Gold is exactly how they were done as demos.
8 LEARN FROM THE GREATS. AND TAKE FROM THE GREATS
I give Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and [Jefferson Airplane singer] Grace Slick the three nods. From Grace I got her slinky-ness. Janis was just little with a big attitude and big hair and feathers, and a drop-dead amazing voice. And Jimi was completely and utterly humble. So from those three people I got slinky, attitude and humility – and that was my stage performance.
9 RESPECT OTHER ARTISTS, WHEREVER THEY ARE ON THE BILL
Chrissie Hynde and I have been touring America together. She’s just fantastic. A lot of the people in her group say they haven’t seen her that happy in 30 years. And I love that so much. Because I never wanted Chrissie to feel like she was opening for me. I wanted her to feel that it was a complete and utter double bill. But because the tour was my idea, I got to go on last, basically.
10 BE AN EASY WRITER, AND AN EASY ROCKER
I’ve always loved Tom Petty, from Refugee to Breakdown, all thosesongs. Tom’s an easy writer – very unlike Lindsey, more like myself. When Tom goes up there onstage, he might as well be in his studio or his living room with the stereo banging.
Stevie Nicks plays BST Hyde Park on 9 July. Tickets are available now.
So it’s about time to post some music truths. There are certain bands that I really can’t stand or think are extremely overrated, yet somehow have risen to the status of Elite Contributors to the Evolution of Music or some such nonsense. The incredibly astute may also recognize that the following bands are (generally) absent from my blog. I’ve arranged them by the decade with which they are most associated, for your convenience:
Stevie Winwood - I just never really got him. He’s in every god damned super group and appears with the greatest musicians regularly as a guest and is cheered mightily by the fans, but I can’t think of more than a couple songs that i really care about (and don’t get me started on that weak-ass 80′s comeback shit he did).
The Who - Pete Townsend is considered by many to be a “musical genius” yet he was the fourth most talented musician in a band of four people (and yes, voice is an instrument). The rhythms are pretty good, I guess, but his keyboard playing is as wandering and cringeworthy as his poorly executed guitar solos.
The Smiths/Morrissey - Quit fucking whining. The end.
Motley Crue - This may seem unexpected from someone who posts weekly Metal Monday countdowns and the like, but this stems from the fact that their time in the limelight, at the top of the hill, coincided with the two worst metal album of the 80′s - Theater of Pain and Girls, Girls, Girls. I’ve hated those albums since they came out and, given many attempts to find something on them worth listening to, I can barely make it through them. Of course, this was confirmed a few years ago in Nikki Sixx’s autobiography when he stated how much he hated them because they were so drunk and high when recording them and had surrounded themselves with so many sycophants that they recorded crap and no on said a word. Unfortunately, this strategy was legitimized by the success of TOP, so they just did it again with GGG, proving that in the 80′s, Image Was Everything.
Nirvana - Claimed by many as the greatest grunge band in the world, they aren’t even in the top five in Seattle in the 90′s (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, Melvins are better, just off the top of my head - oh yeah, and Mother Love Bone, of course). Kurt Cobain wasn’t Jim Morrison who weren’t Rimbaud or Baudelaire or even Bukowski or Henry Miller.
Smashing Pumpkins - Again, their most popular albums were dreadful, like Billy Corgan was trying to make music to express his own apathy, but ended up inspiring it in others. It seems that the more success the band had, the more they dived into eccentricities and complexities that were further and further from their original ideas (admittedly, the last time I post something like this, someone made me go back and listen to Gish which was pretty good, but just helps proves my point of how off-target their music got).
So, two things in closing:
First, what bands would you put on the list?
Second, I’d like to hear your arguments against these musical pretenders and will field your questions if you’d like further elaborations.
Klaus celebrated his birthday (29 April) that year on the Canary Islands… and in his book, Warum spielst du Imagine nicht auf dem weißen Klavier, John?, he recalls another birthday, a few years later. The following is a translation of that occasion:
Linda Eastman photographs Paul McCartney at Brian Epstein’s house at 24 Chapel St, Belgravia, where a promotional party was held to launch Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
‘When I came to England, I wanted to photograph the Beatles, and Stevie Winwood, who had since left The Spencer Davis Group and started a group called Traffic. So that was great. And then The Beatles I wanted to photograph as well. So I took my portfolio over to Hille House, their office, and Brian Epstein’s assistant said “Fine, you can leave your portfolio and we’ll get back to you.” So after about two or three days he got back to me saying “Oh yes, Brian loved your photographs, and yes you may photograph The Beatles. They’re releasing an album called Sergeant Pepper, and they are doing a press thing at Brian’s house and you can be one of the photographers. And, by the way, Brian loved your photo of Brian Jones and one of the ones of Keith Moon.” I said, he can have them! So that’s how that happened, too, I got to photograph The Beatles, so my dreams came true.’ — Linda McCartney, (BBC Behind the Lens profile, 1994)