The Beatles didn’t always live in the lap of luxury; at the beginning they lived in Hamburg from 1960-1962, but when they first arrived, they lived in a cinema. Lennon commented on his experience there: ‘We would go to bed late and be woken up the next day by the sound of the cinema show. We’d try to get into the ladies first, which was the cleanest of the cinema’s lavatories, but fat old German women would push past us.’
Ringo Starr was the drummer for all The Beatles songs, correct? Wrong – he didn’t play the drums on their first hit Love Me Do. In fact, session player Andy White stepped in whilst Starr was told to tap a tambourine. Their producer George Martin (may he rest in peace) thought that Starr was rushing into the choruses so had White stand in.
Whilst The Beatles revelled in their success as musicians, they also had various other aspirations. In early 1963 in an issue of the NME, the boys were asked to list their ambitions. Lennon’s dream had always been ‘to write a musical’; he wanted to write about Jesus coming back as an ordinary person. McCartney fantasised about having his ‘picture in the Dandy’ and Harrison always wanted ‘to design a guitar.’ Best of all, Starr’s ambition was simply ‘to be happy.’
Beatlemania was massive. Fans were throwing themselves at the boys and the hype was indescribable. However, in the very early days of this craze, screaming fans would turn up at Harrison’s house in Liverpool, and he would greet them in person. Yet, despite his equal fame the fans left when they were told ‘No, Paul McCartney doesn’t live here.’
The song Yesterday apparently came to McCartney in a dream completely formed and ready to record. The Beatle was so surprised by how easily it had come to him that he had to ask friends ‘Is this by me or did someone else write it?’ The song’s catchy title however was originally called something else entirely – Scrambled Eggs. Perhaps it’s a good thing that they changed the title…
Yellow Submarine is one of the most iconic songs from The Beatles and was helped along by George Martin’s engineers. In order to make the sounds of the recording seem genuine and to ‘add some colour’ to the mix the engineers were instructed to find props for the song. A whole range of props were used including chains, whistles, hooters, hand bells, and even a tin bath.
There are many famous moments in a number of The Beatles’ songs, but the famed final chord in A Day in the Life was actually played simultaneously by McCartney, Lennon, Martin, and the band’s road manager, Mal Evans. They recorded it on three separate pianos and created the legendary final chord together.
Do you think I Am The Walrus is an R-rated song? Well apparently the BBC did as it banned the hit, not for its anti-establishment tone, but for the word ‘knickers’ that is used within the song lyrics.
Whether you’re a Beatles fan or not, we all know the song Hey Jude. Nah nah nah… What a hit. But did you know that it wasn’t originally written about someone called Jude? It was in fact initially called Hey Jules and aimed at Lennon’s five year old son Julian. ‘Hey Jules, don’t make it bad…’
Songwriters have to get their inspiration from somewhere, often it’s from personal experiences, much like McCartney did for the song She Came In Through the Bathroom Window. Intrigued? Well this song, from the medley section of Abbey Road, was inspired by something that happened to the famed Beatle. A fan actually used a ladder to climb up into Paul’s bathroom window via his back garden and proceeded to steal a picture of his father, some clothes, and some slides of photos taken by Linda Eastman (later Linda McCartney.) Creepy, right? Well at least she got a Beatles song about her out of it…