Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fun with Flags

My Brave Face

Behind the scenes of Help!

Mister Telephone Man

The Beatles in Germany

So this is a strangely written but interesting article written by the Lennon biographer, Ray Coleman about the Beatles in Germany.    I think what Ray says about the police and the male fans is interesting.   But the part that I really like it Ray talking about the "Revolver" album, which hadn't been named yet.    When you read that, keep in mind that the fans reading this for the first time hadn't hear the album yet.   This was the very first glimpse into the new album.   I bet they were especially curious about Dr. Robert after what John said about it.  

"Yes they do read those fan letters.  Even when traveling!  And either working, filming or holidaying, they  must be real world Tour Experts by now.  This pic was taken on the Beatles recent German tour."

The Beatles in Germany
By Ray Coleman
Disc and Music Echo – July 2, 1966

“PLEASE DO NOT FLY TO TOKYO.  YOUR CAREER IS IN DANGER…”  This anonymous telegram arrived in the Beatles’ Hamburg dressing room last Sunday before their final German concert after a staggering three day triumphant return to the city which nursed them from obscurity into the history books.

Being used to cranks and scares, John, Paul and Ringo took little notice.  But George, who worries more, kept thinking about it and showing it round.  “It makes you think.” He said soberly.  “We’ve got a lot of enemies as well as friends.”

The Beatles’ return to Germany with two, with two concerts each in Munich, Essen and finally Hamburg, was a predictable sensation.  About 30,000 fans screamed with all their Deutsch might during the four-day jaunt.  And Beatlemania, with all its attendant hysteria and larger-than-life fever, gripped the country for the first time.

For Germany, this was the sentimental, romantic and often emotional return to the land where the Beatles polished themselves into the world’s top pop group and international power.  For the Beatles, it was just another tour – but also a sharp reminder of their power.

The most sensational aspect of the tour was fan reaction.  This time, it was the boys who went berserk more than girls.  Boys got much more worked up, mentally and physically, and the German police, whose motto is simply to meet force with more force, had the time of their lives.  There were unbelievable sights as boy fans who went berserk were front marched backwards, punched, hurled over six foot high railings to cool off, or were smitten by fantastically ferocious police.   Some fans were brutally wounded.  But it was the law o the jungle in those concert halls, and in a military country like Germany it’s more than just tough if you don’t obey the police.  It is wicked.
The Beatles remained unchanged if bemused by it all.  Right now they are in Tokyo for more shows.
Memories of Germany?  Hundreds.  Crazy questions at press conferences.  “What’s your opinion of the anti-baby pill?”--  “It’s good, of course.”  (Paul)    “Do you speak German well?”  -- “Like the natives.” (Paul).  “Who’s the greatest, you or Cassius Clay?”  -- “It’s a tossup.” (Ringo).    “Do you wear long pants in the wintertime?”—“No, hipsters!” (George).  “What do you dream about when you’re sleeping?”—“Same as anyone else,” said John.  “We’re the same as you, y’know, only we’re rich.” 

“Why are you such horrid snobs?”   George answered, “It’s only in your mind.”  John:  “Because we’re not flattering you?”  Paul:  “We’re just natural and we don’t pose like some people.”

Memories of Germany:  John and Paul in daft, myopic yellow sunglasses.  Ringo and George in Byrd-imitated square-lensed dark glasses.  George in a crazy hat given to him by the Mamas and the Papas.  The Beatles’ luxurious special train which took us form Munich to Essen and then through the night to Hamburg.  John, Paul , George and Ringo in the compartment used by the Queen and Duke during their recent German trip  john in the bed the Queen slept in and George in the Duke’s.

Memories of Germany:  Lennon’s voice cracking up in Hamburg and a friend frantically searching for honey and lemon within minutes of the boys leaping on stage.  “It was the comeback after a ten-month lay-off,” said John.  “That cracked it.  We should never have come out of retirement!”
Memories of Germany:  Bad and good Beatles music.  A nice programme throughout.  “Rock and Roll Music,”  “If I needed someone”, “Day Tripper,”  ‘She’s a woman,”  “Baby’s in Black,”  “Yesterday,”  “I wanna be your man,” “Nowhere Man,” “I feel fine,” “Paperback Writer,” and “I’m Down” as a great finale.  George impressing the crowds to a frenzy with his German:  “this is from der long-spieler ‘Beatles for Sale.’”

Their new green velvet uniforms with yellow shirts, bought at Chelsea’s hunt on You boutique.  Ringo’s suit which looks like pyjamas in grey with red stripes.  It floored pressmen in Munich.
Questions and more questions.  “Do you polish your MBE medal?”—“Every week without fail we don’t.” (Ringo)  “How rich are you?” – “Not as rich as Harold Wilson.” (George)  “What the best beat band in the world?”  -- “Freddie.”  (Paul)  “Would you be a Beatle fan if you weren’t a Beatle?”  -- “No.” (John) And beauty when a sarcastic, “clever” reporter asked:  “Ringo, what’s the time?”  The Beatles answered dryly, “Time you were in bed.”  Laughter.

They played their new LP tape in their bedroom – on a machine with terrible reproduction.  “It brings me down, listening to things that sound so bad on rotten machines,” said Lennon.  Never mind.  It’s a fascinating new LP and the boys spent hours trying to dream up a title for it.  No luck.  “Magic Circles,”  “Bubble and Squeak,”  “Beatles on Safari,” and “Freewheelin’ Beatles” are the nearest they reached.

The album features “Good Day Sunshine” starring Paul’s voice with George Martin on honky-tonk piano; Ringo singing a sea-shanty styled “Well all Live in a Yellow Submarine,” written by John.  A tremendous sitar showcase for George on a track he also wrote, “love you to,”  “I want to tell you,” and a sensational, moody Paul song called “For No One.”  He sings beautifully and the French horn effects are terrific.

“Tomorrow Never knows,” the Beatles favourite from the new LP, is what they might call pop-free-form, with incredible electronic sounds.  Even the Beatles are amazed by how revolutionary this has turned out.  “Doctor Robert,” featuring John, is a good-sounding song about wich Lennon told me, “It’s all about a queer.”    “Tax Man” written and sung by George, is nice, and Paul’s special “Eleanor Rigby,” with violins as the surprise, is another “Yesterday.”  Glorious.  A superb album.
Peter and Gordon and Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers plus Germany’s Rattles completed the tour bill, and the Britons played well.  “But it’s no use competing with THEM for applause,” said Peter Asher. 

Memories of Germany:  of frauleins in exquisitely embroidered skirts.  They’d actually sewn on the words and music to “All my Loving” and “I want to hold your hand.”  Memories of millions of words and much music.  Of fights and the seedy Reeperbahn, the Beatles old haunt.  Of Germans going raving mad over the British Beatles.
If anyone could have made Hitler get off the war wagon, it would have been John, Paul, George and Ringo.  Achtung!

Monday, April 21, 2014

5,000 ways to torture a fan

Photo taken by Joy K.

I enjoy all of the stories I post about fans meeting one of the Beatles, the stories of the fans who met the guys in the 1960's are always the most special.   I know that I have posted part of this story in the past, but I now have the entire story, so I will post it.   It is from the fanzine, "with a little help from my friends" and from the July 1985 issue.  It was written by Joy K. 

5,000 ways to torture a fan
By Joy K.

England – 1968
That man can have you eating out of the palm of his hand.  Whom, you might well ask?  Paul.   Simple as that.  Let me start at the beginning.

1968 was my second trip to London, and I went along with Pat S., Pat K., Sandy M. and Nancy S.  It was the first trip for them, so I was a “veteran” so to speak.  I made the trip two years before in April 1966, but this time—no family!  In 1966 it was a bit rare to see any Americans over there, but in ’68 everybody and his brother was there –it was rare to see anyone English!

Let me get back to Paul.  Seeing as how the first time I met the man on April 13, 1966 at Emi, when the background of “Paperback Writer” was being recorded, and seeing as I could not open my mouth to say anything and instead did a cheerleader proud by doing the splits when I first saw him.  Well I made up my mind that this time I was going to talk to them and not act like a fool.

One of the first times in 1968 I saw Paul, we were waiting outside his house when the gate opened and Mike McCartney ran out trying to catch Eddie, the little Yorkshire that Paul had who had made a beeline outside as soon as the door had opened.   The ole brain said, “Yo! That’s Mike!” and all was right with the world.  But I didn’t expect to see George there!  He bopped through the gates and into a waiting taxi, apparently having spent the night at Paul’s after a late session at EMI.  Freaked my little socks off, that did, seeing George at Paul’s house!  Seeing these Beatles is traumatic enough but even worse when it’s totally unexpected.  And who should follow him into the cab?   Francie Schwartz!  A fan approached the car, unable to speak any English, babbled at George in her native French.  Much to everybody’s amazement, George answered her back in French!  Whoa, was I impressed! (By the way, Mike did catch Eddie).

After all that excitement, we still had to wait for Paul, so you have to entertain yourself when passing long hours waiting for these Beatles.  I was very pleased with myself because I suddenly discovered I could talk – that’s very important when trying to make a good impression on Beatles, you know.  This feat is particularly overwhelming considering in 1966 at EMI I was frozen like a statue.  So when I found out my mouth was in working order this year, I figured this has to be progress.  This revelation was short-lived, however when Paul finally bopped out, the first thing out of my mouth was a very loud “Paul!!”  This made him jump about three feet straight up in the air!  He looked right at me, all wide-eyed “What?” he said.  Don’t ask me how my mouth managed to ask this, but it did, “Can I kiss you?”  God, not only was I learning how to talk, I was getting downright dangerous.  The crowd was waited with baited breath for his answer.  Meantime, I’m still not believing the question that came out of my mouth. “Nah,” he finally answered, “it’d be too embarrassing….”  I didn’t push the subject.  God help me if he would’ve said “Sure!”  He actually looked disappointed that I didn’t try to coax him, the little bugger!    Alas, I’m a chicken at heart.   When Paul realized I wasn’t going to jump him he stopped with the torture and got into the car, waiting to take him wherever. 

Another time, a British girl I’d met at Paul’s told me over a dinner that Paul loves to listen on his intercom to what the fans are saying about him.  After she said that, I almost reached across the table and choked her!  The reason?  Paul had done just that with a conversation which I was a party to:  One time while waiting at Paul’s, Sandy (or maybe it was Nancy) said she had to go to the “john” and I had a horrible thought (this conversation by the way was taking place right by Paul’s gate at the intercom)—it made me think of Lennon, so I asked her to say “bathroom.”  (can you picture Paul’s face during this exciting little exchange?).  After a short while the conversation got interesting and took a new turn towards Paul’s bedroom and devious guesses as to what it must look like and a chat along those lines (I won’t’ elaborate further since this is a family newsletter, but I’m sure you get the general idea).  Anyway while we were deep into this little discussion, a loud “click” emitted from the intercom.  Nancy looked at Sandy and me and we looked at her and then we all stared at the gate.  Sure enough, before too long, we heard the front door open and shut and we proceeded to back away from the gate.  Lo and behold, Rose proceeded to unlock the gate.  Nancy and Sandy were on one side of the driveway and I alone was on the other.  All of a sudden Paul’s car was there and the driver’s side was facing me.  Paul had the hugest smile on his face!  The blood proceeded to drain from my face and return like Niagara Falls and my eyes must’ve been a mile wide.  He heard that whole conversation!    So, leaving us with the knowledge that he’d heard everything, he smugly drove off, very pleased with himself no doubt.  I stood in the middle of Cavendish Avenue, pointed at the departing Paul, and groaned, “Oh my God—he heard us!  He heard us!”  So you can see why I wanted to chock my English friend when she casually made mention that Paul likes to listen to what the fans say about him by deliberately leaving his intercom on.

Then there was the time an English lady and her daughter were waiting with us at Paul’s and when he bopped out he struck up a conversation with her about how she likes living in the States and how long she’s been away from England.  Meantime, her daughter is frozen solid.  This woman also had a movie camera and wanted to film Paul.  Here’s the scene” there are about 20 fans, this woman, the movie camera, and Paul.  The man clicked into action, his face a picture of sweetness and little boy shyness.  The woman fell for it, hook, line and sinker, much to Paul’s absolute glee.  “come on Paul,” she said, very much coaxing him, “Smile!”

Paul looking down, pouting, “I can’t smile…”  “Come on Paul, smile,” she pleaded, encouraging him.  “I can’t…” still looking down, still doing his sky act, every once in a while glancing up at her and melting her with this ol’ big brown eyes.   This went on for some time.  Torture!   God, did he MILK this whole thing.  “Come on Paul…”   All of a sudden he looked up with the sweetest, most heart melting smile pasted on his conniving little face, and needless to say it had exactly the effect he wanted it to have.  All of us witnessed this exchange would’ve made the Mormon Tabernacle Choir proud as we sang in unison the 20-part harmony “Awwwwwwww…..”

It goes without saying that Paul ate this up with a large soup ladle.  Not only had he done a number of his poor sweet innocent lady, he’d zapped the rest of us suckers who should have known better in the process!!  Of course, this made Paul all the happier as he watched us all turn into a pile of Jell-O.   Peter Brown, who was waiting patiently nearby during Paul’s little routine, finally said, “C’mon Paul, we’re late”—something like that anyway and Paul, no doubt in a great mood now, got into the car and off he went to go bother someone else.

Late night sessions at the Abbey Road Studios were great fun –many times we froze our buns off and tried to entertain ourselves through the long hours as best as we could.  One session didn’t end until way after midnight, long after the trains had stopped running.  Paul was already home by the time the few of us arrived at 7 Cavendish.  While we waited hopefully outside his gate, one girl realized she’d left her camera at EMI.  Her friends went back with her to look for it, leaving me completely by myself.  It was around 3 or 4 in the morning and the street was quiet and deserted and spooky!  I pressed myself against the wall trying not to be obvious.  When the girls returned, one of them decided to be brave and ring the buzzer on the intercom.  Paul answered, and the girl who’d pushed the buzzer was so shocked hearing his voice that she was only able to utter strange noises, like “uhhhhh…..uhhhh….”  I imagine Paul found this most amusing.  I know I sure did because I cracked up, although I didn’t exactly volunteer to take over either.  Finally Paul said, “You girls should be in bed.”  You can imagine the looks on our faces at THAT!  The walk back down Cavendish when we left was definitely on shaky legs that time!

But then he’s a pro, that man, when it comes to torturing the fans!

Into my car

The EMI races

Fans see a Beatle car enter the car park of EMI and it is a race to get to it before the Beatle goes inside.  

Keeping up with the fan mail

Jersey Boys

Some photos of the boys when they were in Jersey in August of 1963 and were sunbathing and swimming while meeting some fortunate fans who were also holidaying in Jersey.   That is Ringo hiding under the towel.