Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Did the Beatles visit Cape Cod?

 I found this article at this website and I found it very interesting.  First of all I think the rumor that the Beatles bought cigarettes on Cape Cod in 1964 is just a urban myth the same as the rumor that some Disney fans swear that the Beatles went to Disneyland in 1964.  There are a few people who SWEAR they saw them sneak into the Tikki Room.  However, it just doesn't add up.  

But John Lennon was in Cape Cod in 1975, right before the birth of Sean.  I have had this photo in my files for as long as I can remember.  Don't ask me where I found it or when I found it.   It has been transferred from floppy discs to flash drives for years and years.    I never really knew what it was from...just it was from around the time Sean was born.   And now I finally have an answer!  And I think the photo posted with the story is slightly different.  

 Did the Beatles visit Cape Cod
By Eric Williams
One day while touring America, the Beatles popped into the Old Village Store in West Barnstable to buy smokes. A fab time was had by all.

Versions of that tale have drifted along the foggy edge of unlikely Cape history for years, so we set out to find the rock 'n' roll truth.
In 2008, Elizabeth "Pat" Rogers, working the cash register at the Old Village Store, was asked if she was there when the Beatles came by.

"All four of them," the store owner affirmed in an interview with the Cape Cod Times. "They were on a tour of North America."

Holy Mersey! That's pretty strong testimony. Unfortunately, Rogers passed away in 2013, so we couldn't speak with her as we put this story together.

So a few days ago we dived into the clip file at the Cape Cod Times, looking for reasons that the Beatles might have been here.

We stumbled on this story, from Feb. 17, 1964, headlined, "Beatles 'Magic' Says Cape Cousin."
In it, we meet Robert Driscoll of Osterville, identified as a third cousin of Paul McCartney and find out:
"Mr. Driscoll never has met 'Beatle' McCartney, but when the group arrived in New York for its current tour of public appearances and television shows, he sent them a letter inviting the group to visit with him on Cape Cod.
"'I haven't heard back from him yet,' Mr. Driscoll said, 'but I am hopeful that they may come down for a brief stay.'
"Mr. Driscoll said that Paul's father visited Cape Cod some years ago."

In September 1964, another story featuring Driscoll was headlined: "Beatles Skip Us, Except By Air."
"Mr. Driscoll visited the British group this afternoon at their hotel, the Madison next to the (Boston) Garden, and found the closest they could make it to the Cape was to fly over it early — very early — this morning.

"The Beatles were impressed with the view, even though it must have been rather dark as their plane landed at Hanscom about 3:20 a.m."

Close, but no Cape Cod Beatles.

Seeking further clarification, we turned to Pat Rogers' daughter, Sharon Soles, a former teacher at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School who now lives in New Hampshire.

Soles made a stunning revelation. Her mother didn't start working at the West Barnstable store until the early 1970s. The concept of four disgruntled ex-Beatles reuniting on Cape Cod seemed like an impossible stretch.

But Soles recalled her mother telling her that one day in 1973 or 1974, two Beatles came into the store. One was thought to be McCartney.

"My mother told me about it pretty matter-of-factly," about a week after the sighting, said Soles.

Not sure what to think now, we hummed Beatles tunes until something cool fell into our inbox, from a fellow named Jim Baer, who ran a Hyannis store in the 1970s: He wrote:

(In 1975) John Lennon and a NYC friend, a guy whose name I don't remember came into my store. When asked if he was Lennon, in his heavy British accent he replied, 'No of course not, just look like the guy.' We started a conversation and they asked where's a good place to eat lunch.

"I suggested the (now Roadhouse) Cafe on South St. ... and took them there. Naturally in the restaurant the owners and some other street locals ... all gathered to talk with the famous guy.

"At some point during lunch he admitted he was Lennon and asked about going to see Nantucket as he had heard that was an interesting place.

"Sadly I had to get back to my store but 3 or 4 of the locals decided to take John and his friend to see the island. They left their new 1974 Citroen/Maserati (NY plates) in the parking lot of the restaurant.
"Never saw him again but always thought it was cool that I had lunch in Hyannis with John Lennon."

But wait, there's more! A photo of John Lennon posing near Kalmus Beach in Hyannis in 1975 was found deep in our archives, moments before the deadline for this story.

Jim Redanz, now the owner of the Cascade Motor Lodge in Hyannis, snapped the picture when he was 22.

According to Redanz, Lennon stayed in a Hyannis condo for about two weeks in early September 1975. Redanz was working as a painter nearby.

"I asked him if he could take some photos and sign an album, and he did," Redanz said. "I was so flabbergasted that he would take the time to stop and talk to me. He was very amiable."

But Lennon declined a supper invitation. "I asked him if he wanted to go to dinner," said Redanz. "He hesitated a bit, so I thought he was almost about to say yes."

What a ripping yarn! Could Lennon and his pal have stopped at the West Barnstable store during the trip? Then it would all sort of tie together.

We are currently playing Beatles albums backward, listening for more Cape Cod connections.


  1. Lennon and his friend named Richard Ross did drive to the Cape from NYC in September 1975...did stop at the Old Village Store in West Barnstable...had lunch in Hyannis...then took the ferry to the Islands...

  2. The photo could very well have been taken at Kalmus Beach in Hyannis. I do not recall that wooden fence in 1975 (when I was 25) but it is entirely possible that it existed and was eventually torn down following damage from the many storms that hit the Cape. The Hyannisport Breakwater is clearly in the background. I do believe that John and a friend visited Hyannis, had lunch at The Roadhouse, and then took one of the ferries to either Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. The top photograph does not appear to have been edited with any software. The bottom version was cropped to eliminate the scratches and edited to improve contrast. This can be achieved with any free photographic software. The assassination of John Lennon in December 1980 was one of the most horrific events of the Twentieth Century. Like millions of people of my generation, I fell in love with Beatle music in 1963-1964 and continue to enjoy it to this day. Give Peace A Chance!