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Why did John & Yoko get married in Gibraltar?

The famous image of John & Yoko standing in front of the Rock of Gibraltar was very much on brand. What greater symbol of the eternity of their love? It was, however, a wedding location chosen out of necessity rather than a carefully thought out mission statement. The decision to marry was taken spontaneously, though it did occur on the day following the wedding of Paul and Linda. Not that the future Lennon-Onos attended - none of The Beatles did. But on the way home from Mimi's they decided to follow suit - immediately.  There were a few hurdles to overcome. They wanted to marry abroad but did not have their passports with them. Other proposed venues - like Paris - had boring rules and paperwork.  Gibraltar, very much in the UK. It was, perhaps, un poco provocative to describe it as  'near Spain' but legally that was pretty much the case. So the Rock rocked as far the bride and bridegroom were concerned. Among those less thrilled were Cynthia Lennon and General Franc

Who was the tallest Beatle?

'Evidence' of an alleged height disparity  One thing we can all agree on — none of The Beatles needed to worry about banging their heads on low ceilings or door frames. The official record has Lennon, McCartney and Harrison as the same height: 5'11" with Ringo Starr 5'8".  Some have speculated that these figures are a little generous. Full story  here  (3 minute read) Free Beatles Teaching Materials

How did John meet Paul?

On Saturday the 6th July, 1957 St Peter's Church held it a annual summer fete in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton. After the usual stalls and games for children in the afternoon, a new skiffle group played in the church hall in the evening. They were named The Quarrymen, after the school the band-leader attended. His name was John Lennon. John with the Quarrymen a few hours before meeting Paul Paul McCartney was only just fifteen, eighteen months younger than Lennon. He lived a bus ride away and went to a different school. But he and Lennon shared a mutual friend, Ivan Vaughan. Vaughan invited McCartney to the fete, promising that there would be girls there. “You can meet my mate John, too,” he added. “He plays guitar like you…” Read full piece free on on Medium    3 min read with video The Beatles Teaching Pack  free download during pandemic BBC Witness (audio): The Band That Made The Beatles

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

Which song was inspired by a breakfast cereal?

‘Good Morning’ is mine. It’s a throwaway, a piece of garbage, I always thought. The ‘Good morning, good morning’ was from a Kellogg’s cereal commercial. I always had the TV on very low in the background when I Was writing and it came over and then I wrote the song. John Lennon All We Are Saying , David Sheff During his Weybridge years, John Lennon was like Benjamin Braddock The Graduate  (1967) a rich, successful young man angry at the suburban world he found himself in. Like Benjamin, this anger was largely expressed through petty acts of passive aggression against those surrounding him.   In the mid 60s, Paul spent his Beatle downtime careering around London in his Mini Cooper, the pop world's Toad of Toad Hall. John stayed in Surrey moping around his mansion in his dressing gown, being surly to all and sundry. He did not (yet) alleviate his boredom by having an affair with an older married woman, but his self-absorption shut out Cynthia and Julian. It was not a happy home. On th

Who was John Lennon's biological father?

  Julia Stanley first met Alfred (aka Alf/Fred/Freddie) Lennon in 1929, when she was fifteen and he was two years older.   They met in Sefton Park, exchanging come banter from the start. Both worked in junior office jobs and superficially had similar temperaments. Julia was vivacious, fun loving, a natural rebel.  Alf was a popular with his peers, ‘a rascal. An  absolute  character’ said one pal. There was also a shared musicality. Julia loved singing and played banjo. Alf sang, specialising in comedy songs and comically mangling the words of standards. Like his brothers - and later his son - Alf played the harmonica - the 'mouth iron' as it was known in Liverpool. Too Common? The rebel meets rascal combination did not go down well with Julia’s family: the tight-knit Stanley clan. They saw Alf as ‘low’ - and they were not referring to his diminutive stature (he was 5.3”)   The Stanleys always believed they were several notches above the Lennons, claiming better breeding, educat

When did The Beatles last play at the Cavern?

The Beatles played 292 times at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in just two years. Their last performance was on Saturday, August 3rd, 1963. 

How did David Bowie and John Lennon become friends?

We were first introduced in about 1974 by Elizabeth Taylor.  We were in LA, and one night she had a party to which both John and I had been invited.   David Bowie, 1999 In 1974 David Bowie went to New York to record his  'white soul' album  Young Americans .  In interviews, he gave the impression that his first meeting with Lennon was a chance encounter. Other accounts suggest that he in fact made several attempts to establish contact. What is clear that Bowie had always been an admirer of The Beatles. He had even tried to change label, from Decca to Apple, in 1968. According to May Pang, who was living with Lennon during his estrangement from Yoko, the two immediately men got on well. Other witnesses have reported that they drew caricatures of each other and drank cognac (hopefully in that order). Encouraged by this meeting,  and keen to get a Beatle on his new album - Bowie phoned Lennon to tell him that  he was recording a version of Across the Universe .  Lennon agreed

Was John Lennon born during an air-raid?

Contrary to Aunt Mimi’s later recollection, John Lennon was not born during an air-raid. On October 9, 1940, Liverpool was experiencing a brief respite from the intense bombing that had begun in August and would continue until January. The city would suffer 4,000 deaths, the highest number of casualties outside London . John Winston Lennon was delivered without incident at Liverpool Maternity Hospital. The shadow of the war was, of course, present at the birth. It was even there in that middle name. Winston was his mother’s patriotic tribute to Winston Churchill, Britain’s new Prime Minister. Taken from   Why was John Lennon brought up by his Aunt Mimi? (5 minute read) Download: The Beatles Teaching Pack   Only £3.99

Which instrument did John Lennon learn first?

  "I played a lot of harmonica & mouth organ when I was a child. We used to take in students and one of them had a mouth organ and said he’d buy me one if I could learn a tune by the next morning. So I learnt two." John Lennon John Lennon Remembers In 1947 Aunt Mimi began an arrangement with Liverpool University to take in students as lodger. One of these young men was Harold Phillips, who was resuming his studies after serving in the Royal Navy. The seven-year-old John was fascinated by a harmonica that Phillips possessed. Phillips was amused and offered the boy the chance to keep the 'mouth iron' - as it was known locally.  Harold Phillips kept his word - but Aunt Mimi made John wait until Christmas before taking possession of his first musical instrument. ‘I felt the stocking and there was a mouth organ in it. A harmonica.’ That was one of the great moments of my life, when I got my first harmonica’. Interestingly, the harmonica had been played by his father an

Which Beatles almost came to blows over a biscuit?

Until 1968 it was an unwritten rule of The Beatles that wives and girlfriends did not attend recording sessions. This was unilaterally abandoned by John who insisted on Yoko being with him at all times. The others clearly resented this, especially when Yoko offered unsolicited advice on the music they were producing. Mostly this resentment was unspoken. But according to Geoff Emerick, it exploded into the open during one particularly fraught recording session for Abbey Road. On this occasion a bed had been introduced into the studio to allow a flu-stricken, Yoko to participate. "...I noticed that something down in the studio had caught George Harrison’s attention. After a moment or two he began staring bug-eyed out the control room window… Yoko had gotten out of bed and was slowly padding across the studio floor, finally coming to a stop at Harrison’s Leslie cabinet, which had a packet of McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits on top. Idly, she began opening the packet and delicately

Why did John Lennon not like Sergeant Pepper?

John Lennon never showed much affection for The Beatles most celebrated album. Was this because the  Sergeant Pepper concept was Paul's?  Not according to what John says in this interview, recorded in 1971, at the height of his feud with his former song-writing partner: 

What is the most recorded song?

Wimpole Street  “I woke up with a lovely tune in my head.  I thought, ‘That’s great, I wonder what that is?’  There was an upright piano next to me, to the right of the bed by the window.    I got out of bed, sat at the piano, found G, found F sharp minor 7th – and that leads you through then to B to E minor, and finally back to E.  It all leads forward logically.  I liked the melody a lot but because I’d dreamed it I couldn’t believe I’d written it. 

How George Martin transform a 'dirge' into the first Beatles Number 1?

George Martin was initially unconvinced that Lennon & McCartney could consistently write hit songs. For their second single John Lennon put forward Please Please Me - his attempt to channel Roy Orbison. Again the verdict was a resounding thumbs down: I listened to it and I said: 'Do you know that's too boring for words? It's a dirge. At twice the speed it might sound reasonable.' They took me at my word. I was joking and they came back and played it to me sped up and put a harmonica on it. Impressed by the dramatic improvement, George Martin agreed to give the song a second chance. He was not to regret his decision:  We worked for ages on their new version of 'Please Please Me', and I said: 'Gentlemen, you're going to have your first #1. Source: Interview with George Martin, The Observer Music Monthly, 2006

Why was the Walrus Paul'?

John Lennon cheerfully admitted that he had had 'no idea' who or what was the 'eggman' was in 'I am the Walrus'.

Did John & Paul ever play together after The Beatles split?

According to the delightful May Pang (John's girlfriend during his 'lost weekend') they did:

When did Elvis Presley play bass with The Beatles?

On August 27 1965 in The King's Bel Air mansion. 

What was the inspiration for Across the Universe?

  'Words are pouring out like endless rain into a paper cup' In 1970 John Lennon gave a series of confessional interviews to Rolling Stone Magazine. Rather ungallantly, he revealed the source of the opening line of Across the Universe as a scolding from his then wife Cynthia in 1967.  I was lying next to my first wife in bed ... and I was irritated. and I was thinking. She must have been going on and on about something and she'd gone to sleep and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into a sort of cosmic song rather than an irritated song, rather than a "Why are you always mouthing off at me?"... [The words] were purely inspirational and were given to me as boom!   The tune also appears to arrived in an unusual way.  Hunter Davies recalls that he was walking (in silence) with John around the garden of his Weybridge mansion.  Suddenly they heard the sound of a siren from passing police car

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