the beatles book monthly

Paul: (bad American accent) And we’ll be back in the US of A around the time our film comes out in August, folks. 

Ringo: That didn’t sound a bit American.

Paul: Well, nobody’ll ever know that when they read it in the book, will they?

Ringo: Go on, then. Talk about the film in an American accent.

Paul: Okay. It’ll be finished by the middle of May and it will be made in colour.

Ringo: There you are. I told you they’d be able to tell.

Paul: How do you mean?

Ringo: I distinctly heard you say c-o-l-o-u-r instead of c-o-l-o-r.

Paul and Ringo interviewing each other for The Beatles Book Monthly, March 1965.

Good Ol’ Freda

here’s my review of the documentary “Good Ol’ Freda”:

Freda starts talking about her passion for the Beatles that started when she saw them at the Cavern (she saw about 200 concerts) and immediately fell in love with them and started a fanclub.

When Brian asked her to be his secretary she couldn’t say no, that’s why even if his dad didn’t want her to be the Beatles secretary because he didn’t like them, she said yes anyway. She believed in them, even at the beginning, when none thought they could have become famous. She knew they were different and that one day they would have been at the top charts. And she was so damn right. 

She got the job all the fans wanted, it was like a dream for her. Of course she had to work, and work A LOT, sometimes she ended up working at 4/5 a.m. in the morning, but it was all worth it. She talks a lot about Brian: he was her boss and she spent most of the time working with him, dealing with all the business in the office. And she also describes him as a posh man, well mannered, always well dressed, that sometimes had a word with the boys when they didn’t want to do what he ordered them, and even if he looked soft and cute, at work he was very though and demanding. She usually got 1k letters A DAY, that she had to sort and answer and sometimes send them to the Beatles’ parents. 

Here she starts talking about her relationship with them: George’s mother taught her to dance, while Ringo’s family, specially his mother, treated her as the daughter she never had. She got very close to all of them, and didn’t really realise how BIG the Beatles were becoming until the concert at the Empire theatre. So here begins the whole Beatlemania part with all the crazy stuff that the fans asked her, from running to the barber shop to pick the Beatles hair on the pavement to other weird, crazy things.

Then she also recounts how she handled the private life of all of them. It’s thanks to her that literally NOTHING (or pretty much nothing) weird or “scandalous” came out on the papers in those days: she handled everything, and even if she was a fan, from the moment she started working for them, the loyalty set in, so she didn’t say ANYTHING of the stuff that happened inside the 4 walls of that office, neither of their private life, and she fought to keep everything quiet, like John’s marriage with Cynthia, and many other stuff.

 She didn’t hesitate saying that she could tell many things, but she worked “for a company that would arrest you for say some things”. She also managed the Beatles book, the monthly newspaper that the fansclub gave to the fans to update them about the Beatles life. Once she had to write a letter saying to some fans who wanted to know more about Cynthia and Yoko that they had to respect their private lives.

A journalist also asked her if she ever had a ‘romance’ with any of them, and she smiled saying that some things cannot be revealed. (I bet she had something with Paul because she had a soft spot for him.)

She also discussed Brian’s death and the MMT period, and the whole split up period that in her opinion happened because they were all working individually and there wasn’t the closeness and the excitement of the first days.

She then closed the fansclub in 1972, got married, had a baby, and ends the story remembering all the people around the Beatles that passed away, and that she had a special relationship with, from ringo’s parents, to cynthia, and john and george..and how today she’s not wealthy, or famous, because she didn’t sell anything of the stuff she had, neither she tried to took advantage of her job. Today she still works for a living, and she still loves The Beatles. I loved how she told her story, and I loved her warm manners, and the way she talked about that period really makes you understand how much she loved it and how much she also misses it. 

She was 17 when she started working and despite her young age, she knew exactly what she wanted, and did her job perfectly.  And...oh my god the stuff she had in her house of the beatles….boxes with letters, books, photos…everything packed and closed, dear god I would give an arm just to see it. 

She was lucky to get into the Beatles circle and to know Brian, but she was talented and carried on working hard everyday, doing the best for the group everyday, and just imaging for a moment to be the Beatles secretary, working with them and living the 60s, such an exciting period, made me think, once again, that I was born in the wrong era. 

You can watch this documentary on Youtube.


“The business side of it is trying to take something and then talk about it so much so as to spread more and more ripples, until they become waves, whereas my own personal life, having been all waves, has to change to a normality where I try to stop the waves, quieten them down to make myself a calm little pool. It is hard work trying to do that with your life.”

~”I, Me, Mine” page 43

George Harrison wearing a “Stamp Out The Beatles” sweatshirt, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, 17 May 1967; from The Beatles Book’s July 1967 issue.

Photo: The Beatles Book

“Just to show how little he minds the knockers who are trying to push the Beatles down these days, George actually wore a ‘Stamp Out the Beatles’ jersey to recent recording sessions. We thought that he might not want us to photograph him in it; but he was only too happy for us to take the pic […], and seemed to be treating the whole thing as a huge joke.” - The Beatles Book monthly, July 1967



George always got along well with the ladies. He was known for it within the Beatles’ circle. When the Beatles did a television special involving dancers, George would steam in there like a shot to chat up the best-looking showgirls, two or three at a time. They said he was cheeky, had a smashing smile and stared deep into their eyes.

Other people had very different views. Some thought George was the shy Beatle, the one who said very little. He frowned a lot on stage, giving fans a false impression that he was being temperamental. He wasn’t really in a bad mood, just trying hard to hear if his guitar sounded right through the loudspeakers.

Not only was George the Beatle who changed most during the lifespan of the group, he was the one who was seen totally differently by different people. To some he was serious, studious and sometimes sulky. Others saw him as a pleasant, chummy and cheerful lad. Others would say he was far too deep for them. In a way, everyone was right and he was all of these things and more. George wasn’t a simple person to assess, even once you got to know him, but the one characteristic which never changed was his fundamental sincerity. George genuinely believed in what he said and did.

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George was in the thick of an interview with a reporter from a musical paper, and I could not interrupt it, but when it was over I was introduced to him. Mrs. Shenson told him that he is my fave Beatle, and he pretended to go all shy, and hid his face in his jacket! George is a lot quieter than Paul, and he also looks better ‘in the flesh’ than on paper. He is, in addition, fab, gear, great, and… oooooooooooooooooo!!! (CENSORED)!
—  Elizabeth Sacks, a fan who visited the set of A Hard Day’s Night, in her report about the day for The Beatles Book monthly, June 1964 (more of the story here).


by Tony Barrow

[…] But it wasn’t Paul who spoke out about his dislike of planes when the Fab Four used to tour. George Harrison was the one who openly discussed his hatred of spending time in the air, declaring that he felt physically sick whenever the time approached for each take-off and he was always afraid the aircraft he was on would crash. 

In the late autumn of 1967, more than a year after the Beatles had stopped touring, the four boys met to fix a running order for their set of soundtrack recordings from ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. I remember George studying his handwritten list of tune titles and making a note beside one in ballpoint which I looked at afterwards. I expected to see some critical comment about the words or the melody of a song, but by the instrumental title ‘Flying’, George had put quite simply: ‘Not my cup of tea’ - and this wasn’t a reference to the piece of music at all!

Once in an interview, George told a reporter: ‘Inevitably we have to take planes to get from one country to another but it’s not something I’d dream of doing just for the thrill-fun sake of it. It’s not that I don’t trust airline pilots, I don’t trust the planes!’

[…] George kept his fear of flying to himself at that stage. But, looking back now, he seemed to think up a fair number of excuses for missing domestic flights. One way or another he often finished up dashing from one place to another by rail or road while the rest of the Beatles went by plane.

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Kenwood, John’s Weybridge home is up for sale currently with an asking price of £9 million (down from £14 million in 2013, so, bargain!) 

John bought the house in 1964 for £20,000 but reportedly wasn’t keen on it, calling it a “stop-over”. However, he spent £40,000 having it renovated and decorated, also landscaping the garden and adding an outside swimming pool. 

The house has three floors and six bedroom. John used the attic to write and compose often. Songs including Ticket To Ride and several of the Sgt Pepper’s tracks are attributed to being written at Kenwood. In another attic room, John set up a large scalextric track. 

John wanted art work by students of Liverpool Art College to be hung in the bedrooms at Kenwood. These included two drawings by Stuart Sutcliffe. 

At the back of the house was John’s sunroom, featuring a yellow chaise lounge as seen in photos published in The Beatles Book Monthly magazine. The chaise lounge was a gift from Mimi. John spent a lot of time here watching TV and reading. 

Although small by other rockstar home standards (there were 22 rooms, reduced to 17 by the Lennons), large parts of the house weren’t used. 

John had ten cats while he lived at Kenwood, and often liked to walk round his garden with a black cat on his shoulder. 

In the late sixties, John reportedly wanted to add a mirror bottom to the outdoor swimming pool but after being advised this would be expensive and potentially dangerous for swimmers, settled on a large eye mosaic at one side instead. 

Also around 1968, John renounced eating meat and taking drugs, and buried a large amount of LSD in the garden of Kenwood, which he was unable to find again later when he changed his mind. 

Kenwood was sold in December 1968, reportedly for £40,000 to songwriter, Bill Martin. John and Cynthia had split up by that time and John didn’t want to continue living at Kenwood. 

The pictures of the modern Kenwood are said to be quite different from how John had it in the sixties, but I think you can still see a few original features (the Windows in one room perhaps?!)

Then George suggested a round of golf. Golf on a nice day like this? Hit a ball about for hours on end? No chance, I thought! To my amazement (and his, I think!) George talked us all into golf. And it was fantastic! They had these three-wheel electric carts to drive around the course. So we were bombing up and down the hills having great fun. And the actual golf? Pattie and Maureen were doing 20-yard-hops, but Ringo really got it together and hit several good shots. Mind you, we only played a few holes! If any sightseers had spotted George they’d have never connected him with the Beatle of the same name. Picture him standing there, enormous sunglasses beneath an orange trilby with bright orange suit to match, golf club clutched in his fist seated in the middle of a green in this crazy little go-go cart!
—  Mal Evans on going golfing in northern California with George, Pattie, Ringo, Maureen during their trip to California in June 1968, The Beatles Book monthly, August 1968