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Why was the sound quality so poor at Beatles concerts?

In February 1962 The Beatles played at a youth club in Liverpool, using the church hall. The venue was modest but fit for purpose. With its low ceiling and wooden floors it provided excellent acoustics for the local fans who managed to squeeze in. Two years later they travelled to Washington DC in the immediate wake of their triumph on the Ed Sullivan Show. A concert was hastily arranged in a venue used for basketball and boxing, It set the template for all the live shows that were to come: An 8000-voice choir performed last night at Washington Coliseum in the premiere of what is likely to become an American classic. Call it in B for want of a better name. The choir was accompanied, incidentally, by four young British artists who call themselves the Beatles. Their part was almost completely obscured by the larger choral group, The 'thin voices' of the visiting group could not compete with the thousands of screaming teenagers.  This problem would plague The Beatles for their rem

Where did the title Tomorrow Never Knows come from?

Tomorrow Never Knows took The Beatles into previously unexplored musical territory. Its use of tape loops, a mellotron, Tibetan chants and various Musique Concrete techniques were startling innovations for a mainstream pop record.  The title, however,  was inspired by a more homely source: I took one of Ringo's malapropisms as the title, to sort of take the edge off the heavy philosophical lyrics. Where did this  'heavy' philosophy come from? The Tibetan Book of the Dead via  The Psychedelic Experience by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (1964). Leary notoriously promoted the use of LSD as the key to what Huxley had termed the Doors of Perception.  Lennon discovered the  The Psychedelic Experience when browsing the shelves at the Indica Bookshop in London:  John began to scan the shelves. His eyes soon alighted upon a copy of The Psychedelic Experience, Dr Timothy Leary's psychedelic version of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.  John was delighted and settled down

When did George Harrison stop taking LSD? Why?

The Beatles famously brought LSD to public attention. Less well known is that George Harrison became rapidly disillusioned about the effects of the drug on young people exposed to it. On 7 August 1967, George Harrison flew with his then wife Patti, Neil Aspinall and Derek Taylor to San Francisco.   They were there to visit George's sister, Jenny but also wanted to visit the  increasingly famous 'Hippy Heaven' area of Haight Ashbury.   Not so many flowers Are you going to  San Francisco/Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair Scott McKenzie released his single in May 1967. A huge hit, it acted as a siren call to those attracted by the ideas of the counter culture.  Young runaways began arriving in large numbers. Drug dealing petty criminals moved in to exploit them.  By August the situation in Haight Ashbury was spiralling out of control.  The atmosphere was especially tense during the weekend of their arrival. Four days earlier two dealers had been murdered in horrific

Which Beatles song was directly influenced by Bach?

During their early musical education, The Beatles steered clear of classical music. Paul tells how his father 'a jazzer' would pointedly turn off the radio when a classical piece was broadcast. His son metaphorically followed suit, as did his bandmates. It was not for them. Bach - but not as he wrote it George had, however, learned one classical 'party-piece' at an early age. He did not know the title but had the vague idea that it was by Bach. George then taught this partial, inaccurate version of  BourrĂ©e from the E Minor Lute Suite, to Paul. Here it is played according to original score: In 1968 McCartney used the BourrĂ©e as a starting point for what would become one of his most admired compositions. Would Bach have been due a Chiffons-style copyright infringement payday if he had had hung around for another 240 years? It seems very unlikely. McCartney acknowledges that Bach provided the 'original inspiration' for Blackbird - but argues that musically he took

Did the Beatles ever live together?

In the film Help  The Beatles living together in the ultimate bachelor pad. Four doors lead into a miraculous shared space, with all mod cons. No boring housework to worry about.  Unsurprisingly, this fun palace bore little resemblance to The Beatles own living arrangements, past or present. Before they were famous, the band had shared countless dingy rooms and transit vans. They had never, however, formally lived at the same address.  Paul McCartney, conscious of his local reputation, was still officially living in his childhood home when he returned from USA in February 1964. Like his bandmates, the  22 year-old millionaire  had always relied on 'home' for  bed & board, plus laundry and poste restante. Even after he left Liverpool, he moved in with another family: that of his then girlfriend, Jane Asher London Brian Epstein finally moved The Beatles base of operations to  London in the summer of 1963. He arranged for them to stay at the Hotel President, near the British

Why did John Lennon stop driving in 1969?

  He was a terrible driver…with bad eyesight’. John Lennon's cousin, Stan. John Lennon's Austin Maxi, the last car he ever drove Unlike most of his rockstar peers, Lennon had little interest cars. He learned to drive comparatively late, only passing his test in 1965, when he was twenty-four.  Even when he got his licence, he showed little enthusiasm for getting behind the wheel, rarely doing so for the next four years. In 1969, however, he decided 'on the spur of the moment' to drive his family to the Scottish Highlands. It did not go well. Full Story here  (five minute read)

Which Beatle had the most difficult childhood?

Aunt Mimi’s house — Copyright Pernille Eriksen — reprinted here with permission —  prints available John Lennon's childhood traumas are documented in series of songs he wrote in the late 60s and early 70s: Julia, Mother, Working Class Hero. In fact the whole of his first solo album is an extended therapy session aimed at healing his troubled psyche. Yet in the early days of their friendship what struck Paul was not John's emotional  pain. It was his posh house. Paul For Paul,  Mendips  was a different social world - one in which an auntie was an aunt and the shelves were filled with books and artwork. Until this point all he had known were council houses.  In his own home their had been a fairly recent tragedy - his adored mother had died from a cancer that consumed her with brutal rapidity. In an age before grief counselling Paul and his brother were encouraged not to dwell on this misfortune The McCartney home — Copyright Pernille Eriksen — reprinted here with permiss

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