Beatles Browser One
Paul McCartney’s composition (credited to Lennon & McCartney) ‘Yesterday’ was the most played song by a British writer in America during the 20th Century with more than 7 million airings on American TV and radio,
George Harrison could play 25 instruments: guitar, sitar, 4-string guitar, bass, violin, tamboura, dobra, swordmandel, tabla, organ, piano, moog synthesizer, harmonica, autoharp, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, claves, African drum, conga drum, tympani, ukulele, mandolin, marimba, Jal-Tarang.
In 1963 the Beatles covered five numbers by American girl groups: ‘Chains’ by the Cookies, ‘Boys’ and ‘Baby’ It’s You’ by the Shirelles, ‘Please Mr Postman’ by the Marvellettes and ‘Devil In Her Heart’ by the Donays.
While the Beatles were recording ‘Til There Was You’, their manager Brian Epstein mentioned that on one take there seemed to be a flaw in Paul’s voice. John bellowed, “We’ll make the records. You just go on counting the percentages!
When John Lennon’s original group the Quarry Men were performing in a Skiffle contest at the Pavilion Theatre in Lodge Lane, Liverpool, they were told to stop after playing for only 30 seconds.
In July 1961 the Beatles were given their own Wednesday evening residency at the Cavern club. Owner Ray McFall commented, “They also appeared on an average of two or three other days, too, but we found that Wednesdays became the Beatles own special night. Sometimes there were gaps, of course, and some other group would fill in. For instance, I remember the spell in October of that year when John and Paul got itchy feet and quite suddenly decided to buzz off to Paris for a holiday. This left George and drummer Pete Best in Liverpool. They came in almost every day while Paul and John were away but quite obviously they couldn’t perform.”
Journalist Alan Smith, reviewing the ‘Let It Be’ album in New Musical Express, wrote: “If the Beatles soundtrack album’ Let It Be’ is to be their last, then it will stand as a cheapskate epitaph, a cardboard tombstone, a sad and tatty end to a musical fusion which wiped clean and drew again the face of popular music.”
The late Kenneth Tynan was a major figure in the British theatrical world during the 1960s. On the invitation of Laurence Olivier, he became artistic director of the National Theatre in 1962.
Tynan was a profuse letter writer and wrote to Paul McCartney inviting him to compose music for an all-male National Theatre production of ‘As You Like It’, but Paul declined. Tynan wrote to him on December 28 1966:
“Dear Mr McCartney,
Playing Eleanor Rigby last night for about the 500th time, I decided to write to you and tell you how terribly sad I was to hear that you had decided not do to ‘As You Like It’ for us. There are four or five tracks on ‘Revolver’ that are as memorable as any English songs of this century – and the maddening thing is that they are all in exactly the right mood for ‘As You Like It.’ Apart from E. Rigby I am thinking particularly of ‘For No One’ and ‘Here, There And Everywhere.’ (Incidentally, Tomorrow Never Knows is the best musical evocation of LSD I have ever heard).
To come to the point: won’t you reconsider?
We don’t need you as a gimmick because we don’t need publicity; we need you simply because you are the best composer of that kind of song in England. If Purcell were alive, we would probably ask him, but it would be a close thing. Anyway, forgive me for being a pest, but do please think it over.”
Paul replied that the reason he could not do the music was because “I don’t really like words by Shakespeare.” He ended his letter, “Maybe I could write the National Theatre stomp sometime, or the ballad of Larry O.”
Tynan seemed keen on interviewing Paul. With some suggestions of possible subjects for him to write about, he proposed in a letter dated November 7 1966: “Interview with Paul McCartney – to me, by far the most interesting of the Beatles and certainly the musical genius of the group.”