Daytrippin' Beatles Magazine

The Latest Beatles News, Travel, Biography and Discography


Was It Just A Dream? Beatles fans who had spiritual connections with George Harrison when he died

By Shelley Germeaux

issue18Note: This article originally appeared in the Spring 2002 (No. 18) issue of Daytrippin’ – just a few months after George Harrison’s death. 

Psychic phenomenon – precognitive dreams, strange coincidences, and intuitive hunches about people we care for – is always an interesting topic of discussion. It usually happens with relatives and close friends, but in this case I am talking about George Harrison. A few Beatle friends have shared with me some “strange” experiences they had between the hours preceding his death on November 29, 2001 and before we heard the news on November 30. Maybe some of you had similar experiences.

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Interview with Roag Best about his new Beatles Museum in Liverpool

by Steven G. Farrell

Beatles museum in LiverpoolA new Beatles museum opened this summer in Liverpool. The Magical History Museum is located on Mathew Street and was opened by Roag Best, son of Neil Aspinall and Mona Best, and brother to original Beatles drummer, Pete Best.

Mona Best, an ordinary British wife and mother in Liverpool, England, played a huge role in the history of pop music by opening up The Casbah Coffee Club in the basement of her family home on August 29, 1959. Mona was the first person to take a chance on a struggling rock n roll band known as The Quarrymen, providing them with a venue to hone their skills as musicians.

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Paul McCartney visits Penny Lane, his childhood home in Liverpool and more during Carpool Karoake with James Corden

Paul McCartney at Penny Lane selfie

The highlight of the Carpool Karaoke segment with Paul McCartney on The Late Late Show with James Corden wasn’t just the karaoke. McCartney gave Corden a tour of his hometown of Liverpool which made for some historic moments.

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A Look Back at The Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil Show Premiere

The Beatles LOVE Show Premiere

The red carpet premiere for The Beatles LOVE Show by Cirque du Soleil took place on June 30, 2006 in Las Vegas at The Mirage.

Beatles LOVE show sign

Daytrippin’ Magazine was granted red carpet access for interviews and photos of all the celebrities who attended the LOVE Gala Premiere

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George Martin rare 1998 interview provides valuable Beatles insights

Legendary producer for the Beatles, Sir George Martin, passed away on March 8, 2016 at the age of 90. He played such an integral role in the music of The Beatles that many regard him as the “fifth” Beatle.

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In 1999, Sir George released an album called In My Life which was a collection of Beatles songs covered by different artists. Produced by Martin, the album features songs by many A-list celebrities including Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Celine Dion, Goldie Hawn, Sean Connery and Phil Collins.

georgemartin-inmylifeCDTo promote the album, George Martin did an extensive interview with Beatles historian, Martin Lewis in 1998. The audio interview and transcript was released to the media to help publicize the In My Life album in 1999. This interview with Sir George provides great insight into his work with The Beatles.

Here is a brief excerpt:

Q: So there you are in 1962, something happened then that changed everything for you – you met Brian Epstein, who managed The Beatles. Tell me about that.

George Martin: Brian Epstein brought along a tape of a group that he called the most unlikely name of The Beatles, a very corny name I thought, and [the tape] was not very good, in fact it was awful. But it did have something, it had a sound that was very rough and raw. The songs weren’t anything to write home about. My reaction to him – he was very persuasive, he was convinced “this is going to be the best group ever. They’d been in Germany, they’re turning people away when they’re doing gigs.”

He didn’t tell me that he’d been to every other record company in the country, and been turned down by every record company. If I had known that, I would have chucked him out the door, but I listened very politely to him, he was a very nice man, very persuasive. And I said, “If you want me to judge it on this I would have to say never, but if you like I will give these characters some time. If you bring them down from Liverpool, I will take them into the studio and I will see what we can do with them, and then I’ll tell you if they’re any good or not.”

But when The Beatles came down, we spent an afternoon in the studio together and that was quite different.

Q: In what way was it different when they actually came into the studio in June 1962?

George Martin: They had tremendous charisma, these four boys. At least three of them did. The guy who played drums [Pete Best] was very good-looking but he didn’t say much and just kept very quiet in the background. But the other three were full of life and joking around with each other…

The songs they played me weren’t terrific, they were OK, but there wasn’t a hit I could hear. “Love Me Do” was about the best. But they had that quality which made you feel good. And I thought to myself, well if they make me feel good, and I’m a pretty hard, cynical bloke, they’re going to make other people feel good too. And therefore they have that charisma which is necessary for success…

This was the time also, it’s been much repeated, when I brought them into the control room to listen to what we’d been doing to their sound to see whether they thought the balance was right with what they’re used to hearing. And I said, “Have a listen to this and if there’s anything you don’t like, let me know.” Of course, George, the smart-ass that he was, said, “Well for a start, I don’t like your tie.” The others thought I would be offended by this, but it broke the atmosphere. It was very funny.
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Q: Do you think you had the midas touch?

George Martin: I didn’t analyze my technique. To begin with, my main role was shaping and helping with instrumentals, helping with introductions, helping with the way it rounded off at the end. In a song like “Can’t Buy Me Love” for example, I took a phrase out of the chorus and turned it into an introduction.

When Paul first brought me the song, he started it off [imitates music] ba-da-da-da-da at the beginning of the song, and I said we need something more hooky than that, something to grab your attention. Which is why I took out “Can’t Buy Me Love” and constructed a beginning by repeating the hook into an introduction which seized upon your mind. You had to sell things quickly in those days.

Q: Did The Beatles take very happily to you making these suggestions in the first place or were they initially a little surprised that this slightly older person had ideas that melded so well with their own?

George Martin: The Beatles were very collaborative. I suppose they had to be. But no, there was no problem with them because they knew the formulas were working. They could see that anything we were doing together was the right way to do it. You can’t argue with number one.
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Q: There was always the misnomer that John always described himself as a rocker, and yet it was he who wrote songs such as “Julia” and “In My Life” and people say “oh Paul, he wrote all those romantic ballads,” but he also wrote “Helter Skelter.”

George Martin: Paul and John were extraordinarily similar, and yet they were extraordinarily different. They were a perfect match because their collaboration was competitive and they both did the same things very well… But they were both geniuses. In my book, they were equal geniuses. One was not above the other in any way, they were both superb.
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Note: This was just a tiny excerpt from the lengthy, in-depth interview with George Martin. The extended transcript (filling six 8.5 X 11 pages) of this insightful interview was printed in Daytrippin’ Magazine, Issue No. 7 from 1999, which is now available in electronic format at this link: https://daytrippin.com/magazine/back-issues/
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Other articles you might have missed:
When Elvis met The Beatles, was there a secret reporter present?

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Ringo Starr ‘Photograph’ live slideshow in Los Angeles and book review

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr in Los Angeles, Sept 25, 2015; Photo credit: Daytrippin.com

The new Photograph book by Ringo Starr includes Ringo’s personal photos mixed with handwritten letters and memorabilia from his own collection. Ringo attributes the majority of the items shown in the book up to 1964 thanks to his mother who was diligent at saving everything.

The book spans Starr’s lifetime from his early childhood, including time spent in the hospital, his teenage years playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, all the way through to his solo career playing with the first All-Starr band. The Beatles’ years feature unique photos of Ringo’s bandmates that only another “Beatle” could capture.

Ringo Starr Photograph bookThe 304-page book has a dust jacket with a hole cut out on the front to reveal a photo of Ringo (the first “selfie”) on the actual hardcover of the book. This is the third incarnation of the book which was released as a limited edition book by Genesis Publications in 2013 along with a multimedia-filled e-book.
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On September 25, 2015, Ringo joined Conan O’Brien in a live slideshow event at the El Rey Theatre to discuss Photograph. O’Brien, a self-professed Beatles fan, was the perfect choice to interview Starr trading one-liners with him throughout the conversation.

Conan and Ringo sat on the corner of the stage facing each other with a huge screen in the background. Laughter set the tone of the evening. Conan started off by saying: “I think I’m here to book you an airline flight, Ringo. Would you like an aisle seat?”

As the slideshow began, the audience reacted fondly to early photos of Ringo with his mother, including one when he was 7 years old in the hospital with tuberculosis. Ringo shared stories of what his early childhood was like as pictures of him with one of his first drum kits was shown.

When Conan pointed out the streak of gray on the right side of Ringo’s hair noticeable in some early pictures, Ringo revealed that he had alopecia at age 18. He said the doctors told him it would either eventually cover his whole head or it would go away altogether. Luckily for Ringo, the gray went away by the time he was a Beatle.

Ringo Starr and Conan O'Brien

Ringo Starr and Conan O’Brien in conversation at the El Rey Theatre, Sept 25, 2015; Photo credit: Daytrippin.com

In one photo on page 62 of the book, Ringo, pictured with his mother, Elsie, and stepdad, Harry, is showing off his shoes which happen to be Birkenstocks.

“I was ahead of my time,” Ringo responded.
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Ringo described how The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, called him on a Wednesday in 1962 asking him to join the Beatles and play a gig with them that night. However, Ringo had already committed to a gig with Rory Storm at Butlins Camp so Ringo explained that he’d join the band on Saturday.

“I’ll join the Beatles, but on my schedule,” Conan joked.

On page 82 is a photo of Ringo with George Harrison and Paul McCartney before he had joined The Beatles. A girl on the right side is staring at Paul. “The best part of this photo for me,” Ringo observed, “is the chick looking at Paul… She’s like, ‘I’m ready.'”

Pointing out his picture of John Lennon sitting in a hotel room, Ringo said, “What the hell is he doing… nobody can do this!” Ringo and Conan both remarked how Lennon’s leg was extremely flexible to sit up so high on his lap. “Cirque du Soleil was calling,” Ringo quipped.

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Moving through The Beatles’ years, there was a shot of Ringo and Peter Sellers, who The Beatles were big fans of. In 1969, Ringo starred with Sellers in the film, ‘The Magic Christian.’ Ringo revealed that in addition to money, Sellers gave him his house as payment for being in the film.

“What?” Conan exclaimed. “That’s fantastic, you had a great agent,” he continued. “I’m calling my agent tomorrow and firing him.”

During the hour-long conversation, Ringo stated his hopes for a future project. Since all four of The Beatles had their own cameras during Beatlemania, Ringo hopes that a second photo book can be done in collaboration with the photos of John, Paul and George. “Then I’ll be in more of the photos,” Ringo concluded.

Ringo Starr’s Photograph is available on Amazon.com
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Q & A: Journalist Ivor Davis talks about touring with the Beatles in the summer of 1964

By Marshall Terrill

The Beatles and Me on TourIn the summer of 1964, The Beatles embarked on a record-breaking pandemonium-inducing tour of America and Canada. Ivor Davis’ new book, The Beatles and Me On Tour, presents an insider’s chronicle of that tour and a peek into a beloved era with the world’s most famous band. Davis, who was then a young reporter for the London Daily Express, traveled with The Beatles as the only British writer on the entire tour.

Through 34 days and 24 cities, Davis traveled with The Beatles watching them make rock and roll history. He enjoyed unrestricted access to the Fab Four – from their hotel suites to backstage concert areas to their private jet. He fended off excited girls, played all night games of Monopoly with John Lennon, became the ghostwriter of a newspaper column for George Harrison and witnessed the night Bob Dylan turned The Beatles onto marijuana.

In The Beatles and Me On Tour, Davis recounts in frank and amusing fashion, the rip-roaring adventures of The Beatles at a critical moment in rock history.

 

Q: Your book, The Beatles and Me On Tour marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first tour of the U.S. What took you so long to sit down and write this book?

Davis: I was getting on with my life. Newspaper reporters do a story and then move onto the next and seldom look back. I got married, had a family and covered some terrific stories in half a century – but I finally decided to look back. I’m glad I did.

Q: Tell us briefly where you were in your career at this point, who you were working for, and how you got the assignment to cover the Beatles first U.S. Tour?

George Harrison and Ivor Davis

George Harrison and his newspaper column ghostwriter, Ivor Davis, in 1964; Credit: Express Newspapers

Davis: I was newly appointed West Coast correspondent for the London Daily Express, circulation four million daily. My editor called and said, “The Beatles are coming to America and I want you to fly to San Francisco where they’ve just arrived. Cover them, eat, drink and hang out with them – and, oh yes, we have signed George Harrison to write a column. He’s a musician and can’t write so you’ll have to make what he has to say palatable reading.”

Q: You did a great job of covering a day in the life of Beatlemania experienced from the inside of the fishbowl, but it didn’t always sound so wonderful or cute. Looking back, can you talk about the stress and strain of that tour and how they handled everything?

Davis: Strangely enough The Beatles were like kids in the candy story; the prisoner effect was a strain. They were unable to leave their hotel rooms for fear of being torn from limb to limb by ecstatic fans. And they were upset about the lousy sound systems in nearly all of the venues. I couldn’t hear what they were singing. We were all drowned out by the screeching, wailing fans and so were The Beatles. Ringo often didn’t know what song they were singing and told me he had to lip-read to catch up!!!

Q: You came from an era of journalists where they flipped their notebook shut on the personal indiscretions of celebrities and politicians, and certainly, there’s still an element of that with this book. What was the informal agreement, or not-stated but implicitly-understood agreement with The Beatles in this particular case?

No one ever said, “Don’t write negative stories” … but we knew being allowed into The Beatles inner sanctum came with unwritten rules.

Davis: No one ever said, “Don’t write negative stories” … but we knew being allowed into The Beatles inner sanctum came with unwritten rules. The Beatles co-opted us onto their team, their entourage. We sympathized with their prisoner status. We could go anywhere and so we treated them kindly.

Q: Given what you just said, you don’t seem to defend John Lennon regarding an incident with a teen in Las Vegas.

Davis: The Vegas incident was a harsh wake-up call. We knew that when girls were ushered into meet The Beatles, they didn’t ask for their birth certificates. But as Paul said, “We were aware of underage girls hanging around, but there were lots of over-age girls – and this was at the start of birth control pills. And we were healthy young lads.” With, of course, lively libidos.

The Beatles at Hollywood Garden Party, September 1964;  Credit: Express Newspapers

The Beatles at Hollywood Garden Party, September 1964;
Credit: Express Newspapers

Q: Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley never experienced the kind of frenzy and mania The Beatles did. Can you give a perspective on why The Beatles seemed to evoke such feelings from the teens of that era?

Davis: Lots of older women I spoke to in the last couple of years told me that honestly they were in love with John, Paul, George and Ringo. In their own (fantasizing) minds, when they looked at each individual member, they winked, waved and smiled back … and it was true love.

Q: The Beatles’ side trip to Alton, Missouri for a few days of relaxation seemed unnecessary and dangerous. What do you recall of that stay?

Davis: It was a great break. What was dangerous was the late night flight in a rinky-dink plane with the owner of the charter jet company in the cockpit. And their landings in Missouri were runways with virtually no lights. It wasn’t until they were well into this flight that The Beatles realized danger threatened. Once on the ground they had a wonderful break – celebrating Brian’s birthday and getting nicely inebriated.

Q: Can you give me a brief thumbnail sketch of each Beatle, starting with John Lennon, who seemed to be a real pisser.

Davis: JOHN: wickedly funny, who spoke his mind and it often came back to bite him. Witness that Jesus statement that landed him in hot water. But brilliant and like Robin Williams a bit of a genius.

PAUL: Very PR-oriented. The most approachable of The Beatles, who knew the value of hobnobbing with the media and being nice.

GEORGE: Really uncomfortable with strangers at first. He was a bit sullen at first and the kind of guy who warmed to you later – once he felt more relaxed and got used to you.

RINGO: The newbie in The Beatles pack. Definitely the fourth banana. But as Brian Epstein said later, America made Ringo. By the time they flew home in September 1964, Ringo had become the most popular Beatle.

By the time they flew home in September 1964, Ringo had become the most popular Beatle.

Q: The Brian Epstein you painted was a man who seemed a harsh taskmaster who was volatile, vulnerable and emotionally fragile at times.

Davis: Brian lived a secret life. He was a closet gay, who took terrible risks in his personal life and had terrible experiences as a result. He tried to give off the cool, imperious front but beneath he was terrified that his sexual preferences would come out and destroy The Beatles who he had worked so hard to build up.

Q: John Lennon’s fascination with President Kennedy assassination and insisting on a tour of the book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald made the deadly shots seems almost fateful or ironic?

Davis: It was. But John was always pushing and prodding more than any of the other Beatles and at an early age was more concerned about politics and events outside the music biz. He was the political/social conscience of The Beatles.

Q: Lennon specifically commented to you about America being the Wild West when it came to guns. What would he have thought of today’s America with random shootings at malls, colleges and military bases on such a regular basis?

Davis: John would still be campaigning, using his fame to right terrible wrongs – in Iraq, Afghanistan and the plight of the have-nots in third-world countries.

Q: You were covering the Watts riots in Los Angeles when you received a phone call that The Beatles and Elvis were about to meet at his home on Perugia Way. Given that no photos or recordings were made of that night, why were you, a journalist, invited to come in the first place and what was your take on if they got along or not?

Davis: Elvis did not have a great time. It’s funny, everyone there, including the Memphis Mafia and those in The Beatles’ inner circle, said the ice thawed eventually and they began to communicate. That’s what I saw. Awkward beginning and a lightening of the atmosphere and mood once they started jamming. Don’t forget Elvis was the King of his castle and The Beatles had invaded his home terrain and taken over the No. 1 spot. Elvis was not a happy camper making those repeat movies (three a year!) and The Beatles’ first movie was a home run!

Q: You write at the end of the tour, it was fun, but that you didn’t expect it to be historical or the Beatles to become legends. What’s your outlook today?

Davis: Back then I was around the same age as The Beatles and none of us had the vision. Who in their early twenties has great vision … that comes with age. Today I am still astonished that people come up to me as if I’ve been sprinkled with invisible Beatle magic dust. I was just a lucky guy at the right place and right time – and who could have predicted it? No one. I was just doing a nice job when by happenstance The Beatles rode into town…

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The Beatles and Me On Tour is available in hardback and Kindle on www.amazon.com

Ivor Davis will be signing copies of The Beatles and Me On Tour at the Los Angeles Fest for Beatles Fans Oct. 10-12. For more information about Ivor Davis, visit https://www.facebook.com/ivor.davis.395

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