Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The New York Underground fans.

This blog as often focused on the wonderful fans, the Apple Scruffs. Which is the group of girls (maybe a few guys) that hung around Beatles spots in London and got to know the fellows. Well...you may not realize it, but there was a similar group of fans in New York City at the same time as the Scruffs in London. These girls didn't have as many opportunities to meet the boys, but you better believe that when John and Paul came to NYC to discuss Apple, they were there! Here is one such fan, Lisa's, story.

Date: @May 11, 1968
Place: St. Regis Hotel, NY, NY.
I was one of 1000s of fans hanging outside the St. Regis Hotel in NYC. Word was out that John and Paul had flown into NYC this particular week.

At the time there was a very serious Beatles' cult underground in NYC. We knew and shared every fact and move the Beatles made (or allegedly made) at the time. Remember now, in 1968, we had no computers, emails, call waiting or any other modern technology. Yet we had a finger on the pulse big time all of the time! I must admit, though, that we went on many a wild goose chase hunting down the Beatles. However, in the process we met everyone else who was big at the time from Brian Jones to Mick Jagger to Mary Hopkins to Jefferson Airplane, etc. We also cut a few too many classes to hunt the Beatles down. If you ever saw the movie, "Beatlemania" that was us!

Anyway, back to the St. Regis. My friend and I snuck away from the crowd. We had cased the place and knew that Gucci's was connected to the St. Regis Hotel. So, we creep through Gucci's, right into the St. Regis lobby and straight up the stairs to John and Paul's supposed floor. I think it was the 9th or 7th floor. Unbelievably, we crept up to the floor without a hitch. It was way too easy considering all the fans and security surrounding the hotel, but we did it. (Hey, I am not complaining at all!)

So, here we are on the floor! We are not shy. We are not embarrassed. We are not frightened. We are running on pure adrenalin. So, we go right to the suite where we believed John and Paul were staying. The door to their hotel room was located in this small hallway right off the main hallway of the hotel. I had the gall to go right up and ring the doorbell. I kept ringing and ringing. Someone must have been asking who it was because I kept saying, is John there; is Paul there?

Meanwhile, my friend was grabbing me and shaking my arm. She kept poking me in the back and pulling on me. (In fact, I even had black and blues the next day!) However, because my concentration was solely on the inside of that hotel suite, I never looked back at her. I was too excited about ringing the bell and getting in. She finally got my attention and I turned around...the rest of this story is in slow motion...

...as I turn around, whom do I see? Standing there, right there in the hallway with us, were...JOHN and PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!! I fell back against the wall dumbfounded! I mean I was totally and absolutely floored. My eyes were bugging out of my head. My friend was also plastered against the wall opposite me. All I kept thinking was to say something but I was speechless!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were there, breathing the same air as me!

Meanwhile, I remember vividly how Paul's hair was so dark and how John's hair was so light, like a strawberry blond color. John had the granny glasses on and a band-aid on his chin. My mouth dropped open by how very handsome Paul was(of course). However I was equally fascinated by John's looks. I remember thinking that they were taller than I was. I am 5'8" now (at the time I was 14 but was always tall).

John and Paul were alone and they kept saying repeatedly, is this the room, is this the room? They were very amused at how stricken we looked. John says, very loudly, hey bizarres (accent on the e), is this the room? Finally, I decide to pipe up and pull myself together. (I had to make an impression, ya know!) Yea, your room, yea, this is your room. The next thing I remember, I turned to John and said something like, oh, John, I've came all this way to see you. (I guess I was looking for an icebreaker.) Paul was standing there with a very sweet smile. In fact, John was kind too, amused but kind. (Hey, we were really kids and looked and acted every inch of it.) John says kindly but very sarcastically, yea, and I came all the way from England to see you too! Oh my gawd, I have told this story 1000 times in my life! It was a turning point! LOL!

At this point, I remember a hotel security guard finally came into the little hallway where the four of us were standing. The guard sees us and starts ranting and raving about you goddamn kids, I'm sick of you all, bla, bla, bla. The guard then grabs us by the neck and literally drags us down the hallway by the backs of our necks. Our legs were complete Jell-O and we saw our big opportunity slipping away. As the guard is dragging us, we are waving and shouting, and all we were saying is bye Paul, bye John, bye Paul, bye John. In the elevator down to the rest of the 1000s of fans, we could not stop laughing hysterically! We knew this was BIG! Were our fellow comrades so jealous as we told this story over and over. When we got out front, they were shouting, you just missed them, you just missed them. No, we didn't and we share our experience oh, at least, 2 million times.

But, our story does not end there. In the few days, John and Paul were guests on the Johnny Carson Show. However, Johnny Carson was not hosting the show that night. (Duh! What else was new?) I believe the guest host was Joe Garagloia (check my spelling on this one). When Paul and John came out, they kept asking over and over again, Where's Johnny? Where's Johnny?

In hindsight, this is the time John and Paul came to NYC to get Apple launched and is possibly the first weekend Paul might have stayed with Linda.

Anyway, during the same week, we find out from our underground fan club that the St. Regis Hotel was only a cover. Actually, John and Paul were staying at Nat Weiss' apartment over on East 72nd Street, as I remember it. So, as word got out, all of us converged at Nat Weiss' apartment, your typical NYC high-rise apartment building with a door attendant. Ever the ingenious, we got Nat Weiss' phone number from information and called right up. At the exact moment we called, someone picked up the phone to leave it off the hook. Instead of hanging up first, they put the phone down. Obviously, they were getting many calls in their secret hiding place. They also had no idea we were on the phone still. So, we all listened to John and Paul talk to whomever was in the apartment with them. We could not hear their exact words but we recognized John and Paul's voices. Oh my gawd! For the longest time, we kept passing around the phone to everyone as we stood in a phone booth on a !
NYC corner. Some of us were shouting into the phone to get their attention (very charming). It must have been some sight to watch all these fans try to listen on the phone in this phone booth.

Finally, on May 15, 1968 or so, word was out that John and Paul were flying back to England. So, we waited outside of Nat Weiss' apartment and sure enough...in the late afternoon, John and Paul come out. Paul was first. The crowd of us goes bonkers. I run up to Paul and he smiled at me as he got in the car. I turn to find John and he had the most evil look on his face. Hung over maybe? Dunno but I did not care. I run right up to John and I was saying, John, John, remember me? Remember me? He stared right at me, as if he had had it with the whole fan thing. However, I was over the moon anyway. (Geez, I remember I was wearing a football jersey, which was very stylish then!) Then John gets in the limo behind Paul and they drove off. We all jumped in a cab to follow them to Kennedy Airport but we could not keep up with them. Our heroes were gone for now.


  1. "My mouth dropped open by how very handsome Paul was(of course)"

    Oh dear... only reading that makes my heart beat fast. I was born too late.

  2. fab story! i'm sure i know several of the people who were standing outside the hotel and all other places... and yes, paul was very, very handsome in his 20's. and john was just too awsome for words...

  3. I wrote this story about meeting John & Paul!

    1. WOW!!!! I had only had this blog going for 3 months when I posted this. I never though the "Lisa" who wrote it would pop up. Thank you Lisa!

  4. so marvelous to see these pics again & relive the memories of Paul and John in NYC - I remember & was surprised how light John's hair really was in person too

  5. Another great story!!! Maybe the reason that John wasn't so 'with it' was he sent a telegram to his wife Cynthia telling her he wanted a divorce - via a telegram! Sorry kids but that's just beyond cruel, cold and chidken-sh*t! For a man that suffered no fools, told people off without a second thought, he really should have handled the whole divorce thing much, much better than he did. He wasn't very nice to Cynthia or to Julian during that time....Bad karma one can say

  6. Believe it or not, here's the audio of John & Paul's appearance on the Tonight Show in May 1968...I refer to their appearance in my story, above. In latter years, John commented on this being one of the worst interviews in his life. Can you believe on nights of all nights, Johnny Carson wasn't there???