On February 4, 1968, The Beatles were doing something different than what was normal for them: they were at EMI, working on a song. The Beatles usually took the weekends off from recording sessions, but for their own reasons, this particular Sunday was a work day for the four Beatles.
The song they were working on was one that John Lennon had written at the end of 1967 when he was laying in bed listening to his then wife, Cynthia talk on and on about her day. The lyrics "words are flowing out like endless rain..." came to his mind as he listened to her talk. By the time Cynthia fell asleep, John was wide awake and working on what would turn into "Across the Universe." (And people claim that John never wrote a song about Cyn....)
|In the studio in 1968|
By early 1968, there was a devoted regular group of girls that waited to see the Beatles outside of EMI and Paul's house. Some of these girls later became Apple Scruffs. Of course being a Sunday, the group waiting outside of EMI was a little smaller than usual. Two of the girls that day were Gayleen Pease and Lizzie Bravo. They arrived at EMI on that day, they had hoped to catch a glimpse of the Beatles coming or going and maybe get to talk to them. The two girls could never imagine what was about to happen.
While the girls were waiting outside in the cool London winter weather, the Beatles were working inside on "Across the Universe." Somewhere along the line, someone thought the song was missing something -- high voices singing "nothing's gonna change my world" during the chorus. But where could they get someone that had sing a high note to give it a try on such short notice and on a Sunday? Wait--- weren't there girls waiting outside? Paul McCartney walked outside of EMI and approached the fans. That along must have gotten them all excited. Paul was leaving the studio and heading towards them?!
Paul asked the small group of girls if anyone could hold a high note. Now, I don't know how many hands went up when he asked this question. I don't even know how these fans could comprehend what he was asking them, but Gayleen and Lizzie were chose and walked with Paul into the studio to make history.
|John and Lizzie in 1967|
For about two amazing hours, the girls learned the chorus to "Across the Universe" and shared a microphone with John Lennon and Paul McCartney recording the song. It is such a shame that Beatle Book Monthly wasn't there that day to take photographs and document this amazing time when two fans got to sing with the Beatles. No photos were taken of the Beatles in the studio that day and so the time spent singing with the Beatles only lives in the memories of those that were there.
When it was all over, the girls went back outside to join their friends and share their incredible experience. I often wondered how many of the fans believed the story, especially since the song was not released until 1969.
|Gayleen and Lizzie -- the ultimate in a Beatles fan meeting|
This story has been one that has amazed me since I first heard it year ago. Would I have raised my hand if I was there? What were those girls thinking as they stood next to John and Paul?
Over the years Lizzie has became more than just a name of person on a trivia question -- she has became friends to many of us that visit this blog. Gayleen isn't online, but somehow I believe that she too would be our friend if she was here. And while they were the only fans invited into the studio to sing with the Beatles, I have always felt that they represented all of us in a way. Just like all of us, they are fans that loved the Beatles. And even after the fact, they still love the Beatles. Lizzie has been kind enough to share her photos and stories with us and we have all been so blessed by her.
I want to wish both Lizzie and Gayleen a happy 50th anniversary of their special day. I hope the wonderful memories of that event stay with them forever. Thank you both for sharing your extraordinary meeting the Beatles with the world.