Sunday, February 10, 2013

Beatles flashback: July 23, 1969

I do not want to re-hash all of the wonderful photos from the Abbey Road era Miss Tammy shared with us this weekend over at the Beatles photo blog.  I am certain that you all have been enjoying them just as much as I have.  So for me to turn around and just repost them here and pretend like they were "new" would be stealing my friend, Miss Tammy's thunder.  And since all of us Beatle photo bloggers work together, I wouldn't do that.   But since I consider myself to be an amateur Beatles historian, I thought it would be fun to take a little trip together back in time to a day in history where many of photos were taken.  Let me just say that it is my strong opinion based on clothing and various other evidence that the photos I am sharing in this post were all taken on July 23, 1969.  However, I could very well be mistaken.  

So join me in my make believe time machine back to July 23, 1969.  The summer of 1969 and it seemed like anything was possible.  Just a few days earlier the first man walked on the moon.  We didn't know it, but the Beatles themselves got together that same day and watched the first cuts of what would become the "Let it Be" film and then had dinner together in what would end up being the last time they hung out socially.

The summer of 1969 was exciting for the Beatle fans.   Many fans, such as Barb Fenick, made their first trips from American to London and were anxious to see the Beatles coming and going out of EMI studios.   These fans wanted to see Paul and John's new wives that they had read about, they were concerned about John after hearing if his car accident in Scotland and most of all, the came in swarms because they were finally old enough to travel on their own and they hadn't seen one of the Beatles in person since 1966!    It was known that the Beatles were recording and album at EMI and so swarms and swarms of fans from around the world came that summer to see them.   Of course the "regular" fans were there was well.   The Apple Scruffs (who were going by that name by this time) had their usual spots claimed and were very much in the know of the Beatles comings and goings.  All of the "new" fans hanging around were a bit of a drag to them, but it was expected in the summer.  And then there were the Paul girls (also known as the baddies to some) who were still outraged by Linda's presence but even Paul's marriage to Linda hadn't stopped their devotion to Paul. 

Oh and here comes Paul now!    Cameras snap, purposely not photographing Linda who is nearby.  Paul receives flowers from several fans.  He gives the girls a wave, signs a few autographs and makes his way into EMI, ready for the 2:30 rehearsal and recording session.  

Next to arrive is George Harrison along with his wife, Pattie.   And who is with him, none other than that big teddy bear, Mal Evans.    Mal is acting as George's bodyguard today, and makes sure that none of the fans get too close to George. 

John and Yoko arrive, but with Yoko on bed rest, they quickly dip into the studio.  They do not have time today for the mass of fans.     Ringo and(maybe) Maureen also arrive at some point.   It obviously is "bring your wife to work" day at EMI studios. 

The Beatles are using Studios 2 and 3 this day.   There is a lot of rehearsal that occurs on the song with what will soon have the title "The End."    They spend most of the session working on this song, but they also work a little on "Oh Darling" and work on the vocal overdubs on "Come Together."  Yoko has had a bed moved into the studio, since she is on strict orders from the doctor to be on bed rest.  And while this seems a little strange to everyone, no one says a word of it to John or Yoko.  Yoko and Linda (who is pregnant as well) are joined by Mal and Pattie on the bed while the boys set up for the rehearsing.

Yoko takes some photos of John from her vantage point of her bed.    You can see the bottom of her dress (pants?) in these photos.   She also has put her shoes on.

Mal (or at least I think it is Mal but then he is in a few photos) also takes a few photos of the guys.  At this point Mal was the main photographer for Beatle Book Monthly.  He tried to take photos now and then of the guys in the studio for the magazine.  Maybe these photos were taken original for that reason?   Maybe not.

By the time the whole session is over it is 12:30a.m.   Not as many fans are outside waiting as when the Beatles first arrived.   But there are always some fans who will not go home until they see the Beatles leave the studios.    Ringo's driver, Alan, is ready to pick up Ringo and take him back home. 

And the last photo is that of Pattie Boyd Harrison.   



  1. dear sara, just to help out with the dates: in my diary, i say i saw john, paul, george and ringo at emi on monday, july 21, 1969 and tuesday the 22nd. on wednesday the 23rd i say i saw john arriving and that mal was there too. that doesn't mean the others didn't come, though i usually wrote down which one of them was there. thanks for all the lovely photos - i may not be posting much but i come here at least once a day!

  2. The photos of George and Mal and one of Pattie was dated as the 23rd according to one of the fanzines. I forget exactly which one because we found the date a long time ago. I just tried to match up the clothing according to the two photos we knew and by going on Mark L.'s books. I have been having fun trying to play detective in all of this, even if I am totally wrong, it has been a fun process.

  3. Lizzie, did you hang around all day to witness who is coming and going or could it be that you simply were absent for a while? Well, I guess even if so you would have been told by your fellow fans who stayed behing what has happened in the meantime, right?

  4. Unbelievable. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

    That's "THE" infamous BED! I just can't believe my eyes, I'm actually watching a Yoko-eye's view of an Abbey Road session.

    I've said it before (i probably say it once a week!) but I'm saying it again, now, times a thousand: this blog shows me stuff I never thought I'd ever see.

    Wow. Here's my daily "thank you": Thank you!

  5. Sara -loved this! I remember the "baddies" too!

  6. curious - what does it have to do with music rehearsal in a studio to have a pregnant yoko and linda and then patti on a bed

  7. remember that there were many happy fans who got to see the lads in person between 68-70 and lots of snaps all around

  8. Thank you for the wonderful photos and stories you post. After years of hearing about the now famous 'mattress' in the studio, seeing it just proves (to me anyway) just how out of control John & Yoko were back then. Going from 'no girlfriends and/or wives' in the studio to having a pajama party on a mattress I can see why the other 3 brought their wives to the sessions. It was a free-for-all, anything goes time..Personally I honestly believe the other 3 really & truly loved John a lot-they put up with a lot of his insanity-from having a meeting to declare he was Jesus Christ to having to put up with Yoko's warbling at some recording sessions...seriously she was and still is very 'ballsy' -

  9. These are fantastic. So candid and natural! Thanks for sharing.

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