On this day in history : 29th November 1963 – The Beatles release ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ – which goes on to reach No.1 in the charts….knocking another of their own singles from the top position….
By knocking ‘She Loves You’ from the top spot, this gave the Beatles reign of the charts with both the No.1 and No.2 positions…. Very few acts have managed to do this…. The Beatles did it again in December 1967 when ‘Hello, Goodbye’ reached top with ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ at No.2….
In 1978, following the huge success of the film ‘Grease’, two songs from the soundtrack album achieved it…. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John made No.1 with ‘Summer Nights’ with a solo John Travolta taking the No.2 position with ‘Sandy’….
John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ shot to No.1 after his death in December 1980 and was joined by ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ at No.2…. Three weeks later ‘Imagine’ still held top position and ‘Woman’ rose to No.2….
Others have followed since…. Frankie Goes to Hollywood with ‘Two Tribes’ and ‘Relax’ and Madonna with ‘Into The Groove’ and her re-released debut single ‘Holiday’…. In January 2016 Justin Bieber went one better by holding the top 3 positions….but a year later this was equalled by Ed Sheehan with ‘Shape of You’, ‘Castle on the Hill’ and ‘Galway Girl’….
On this day in history : 12th March 1969 – Paul McCartney marries US photographer Linda Eastman at Marylebone Registry Office….
Paul and Linda had first met on the 15th of May 1967, in Soho nightclub ‘Bag O’ Nails’…. Linda was in the UK to take photographs for a book called ‘Rock and Other Four-Letter Words’…. A few days later she met him again at a photo shoot of the Beatles….but was soon afterwards to return home to the States and her own life with young daughter, Heather – from a previous marriage…. Paul, meanwhile, was to become engaged to long-term girlfriend, Jane Asher…. However, a year later, in May 1968 the pair met up again in New York – and Paul invited Linda and her daughter to London…. A romance was to blossom….
The wedding was supposed to be a secret – but these things have a habit of leaking out…. Even though the registry office had only been booked the day before reporters and photographers were waiting outside it, in the rain, from 7am…. So were the fans….hundreds of them, many visibly distraught…. Paul was the last bachelor Beatle….their teenage dreams of becoming Mrs Paul McCartney shattered forever….
The couple arrived at 10am, entering the building via a side door to avoid the crowds; the other members of the Beatles did not attend…. Paul wore a dark suit, with a floral shirt and yellow kipper tie….whilst Linda wore a fawn coloured dress with a yellow coat…. Heather carried a posy of freesias….
The ceremony was delayed for an hour…. Paul’s brother, Michael, who was best man and acting as a witness, was travelling down from Birmingham – but his train had broken down…. On arriving in London he headed to the registry office assuming he was too late – but the wedding party had waited for him…. The other witness was the Beatles’ assistant, Mal Evans….
After the ceremony the newly wed Mr and Mrs McCartney made their way down the steps to their waiting car….throwing freesias to the crowd as they went….
On this day in history : 4th March 1966 – John Lennon gives an interview in which he states the Beatles are more popular than Jesus Christ – it causes outrage in the United States….
The interview was for the Evening Standard….it was the first in a series of articles entitled “How Does a Beatle Live?” Each member of the group was individually interviewed – starting with John Lennon at his home in Weybridge….
“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me”….
His words provoked no reaction from the public in the UK…. However, in July 1966 it was quoted in a US teen magazine and was received in America in a very different manner….
The publication that had been granted rights to all four interviews was a magazine called ‘Datebook’. Being broad-minded – covering topics such as the legalisation of marijuana and inter-racial relationships – it was considered the most suitable for publishing the interviews…. Datebook teased its readers with the snippet “I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity” printed on the front cover….
Tommy Charles a DJ for WAQY, a radio station in Birmingham, Alabama heard of the comments – and was furious…. “That does it for me. I am not going to play the Beatles any more”…. The listeners were asked for their opinions – and they were less than favourable….the people were beginning to show their contempt….
The ball started to roll….more than twenty other radio stations followed suit and banned Beatles music…. The public were keen to show their anger – in the South especially – demonstrations were held, bonfires lit, Beatles memorabilia and records burned…. Soon the protests crossed over to Mexico and on to other particularly religious countries – such as Spain and South Africa…. The Vatican issued a public denouncement of Lennon’s comments….
Unfortunately the controversy coincided with the upcoming US tour scheduled for August and the recent release of the album ‘Revolver’….
Lennon apologised for his comments, cheekily saying “If I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I might have got away with it”…. The Press were somewhat sympathetic….
However, it was touch and go as to whether the tour would go ahead – but it was decided that it should…. Overshadowed by disturbances and protests – even being picketed by the Ku Klux Klan – some dates were cancelled, such as Memphis – because the Beatles were not welcome in town….
There was some support for the Beatles though…. One Kentucky radio station said it would play Beatles music in order to show its “contempt for hypocrisy personified”…. And a Jesuit magazine – ‘America’ – wrote that “Lennon was simply stating what many a Christian educator would readily admit”….
On this day in history : 30th January 1969 – The Beatles play an impromptu concert on the rooftop of Apple Records in London…. It is to be their last public performance….
It was a bitterly cold Thursday lunchtime, many were on their lunch break when they were surprised by the loud music coming from the rooftop of No.3 Savile Row – the home of Apple Records…. At first there was some confusion – but then as word spread crowds gathered in the street, five storeys below….and people climbed out on to the rooftops of neighbouring buildings….
The Beatles had been recording their album ‘Let it Be’ in the basement studio at Apple Records and had been planning a live performance since earlier in the month….but the idea of performing on the roof had only come about a couple of days before….
George, Ringo, John and Paul – accompanied by a young Billy Preston on keyboards – treated their delighted audience to a 42 minute set which included songs such as “Don’t Let Me Down”, “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “Get Back”…. It was their first ‘gig’ since they had stopped touring in 1965 – and it was to be their last, as by September 1969 the Beatles had unofficially disbanded….
Unfortunately, not everybody was happy about the unexpected entertainment…. The Metropolitan police were concerned about safety, traffic issues and noise disturbance…. Policeman Ken Wharfe later said that he had been ordered by his superiors to “turn that noise off”….
On arriving at Apple Records the police were initially refused entry into the building by staff – but when threatened with arrest they had to back down…. As the police reached the rooftop the Beatles realised their concert was about to be brought to an end – but managed to carry on for several more minutes. Paul McCartney changed the lyrics to “Get Back” to something more fitting for the situation….
“You’ve been playing on the roofs again, and you know your momma doesn’t like it, she’s gonna have you arrested”….
John Lennon finished up by saying…. “I’d like to thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition”….