JOHN: When I left Liverpool with the group, a lot of Liverpool people dropped us and said, 'Now you've let us down.' It was the same in England. When we left England to go to America we lost a lot of fans. They begin to feel as though they own you, and the people in Liverpool did, and did until we decided to leave. A lot of people dropped us but, of course, we got a whole pile more; a different audience.71
RINGO: By the end of 1963, it was impossible to go home. And if you are in our business, you go to London. The recordings are there, the places to be seen are there, where it's happening is there; it's just a natural move.
George and I started out sharing an apartment in Green Street, Park Lane. Ј45 a week it cost - a fortune! John was living with Cynthia. (That's when they finally told me they were married - they'd kept it a secret in case I told somebody. They didn't really trust me, you know. Just joking!)
We were fed by Harry and Carol Finegold, who lived below us. We didn't know how to look after ourselves: we'd been living with our parents; they had done the cooking, and the tea was always ready. Now, suddenly, we had our own place in London. We'd go to the Saddle Room, a club where Prince Philip was a member. They used to keep a horse and coach outside so you'd often see two drunken little Beatles in the back of this coach being taken home up Park Lane. Clip clop. For two shit-kickers from Liverpool, this was far-out: 'Let's take the carriage!'
We met a lot of people as well. Phil Spector was one I was thrilled to meet. The DJ Tony Hall also lived on Green Street and when he had Phil and the Ronettes staying with him, George and I went over to meet them.
GEORGE: We had been living in hotels in London for so long that we decided we needed a flat. John got his first, because he was married; Ringo and I used to stay in the Hotel President in Russell Square, then we moved into the flat. It was such a buzz because we'd been brought up in little two-up two-down houses in Liverpool, and now to have a posh flat in Mayfair, and with a bathroom each, it was great.
John and Paul went through their intellectual phase between 1963 and 1966. Looking back at John, he was always interested in poetry and films, but when we moved to London he and Paul got into a bit of one-upmanship over who knew the most about everything. Paul started going to the Establishment Club and hanging out with Jane Asher. There was a time when they'd go to see plays and it was all, 'Did you see such and such? Have you read this?'
PAUL: Really, that was why we'd left Liverpool; London was the big capital city with everything going for it. If you went to a play, it could be at the National Theatre, watching some mind-blowing actors. Seeing Colin Blakely in Juno and the Paycock was a big eye-opener. I was going out with an actress - Jane Asher - at the time, so I did quite a lot of theatre-going.
I began to make little films on my own, too. We'd film home movies, and because I didn't like sound cameras (we didn't really have many then), I'd take the visuals and put any soundtrack on them, to experiment. I remember one I did of a gendarme directing traffic. I then ran that film through the camera again and just filmed the traffic, so where he'd try to stop the cars they would all run through him. Over the top I stuck on a crazy jazz sax player, who sounded out of tune, playing the Marseillaise - which is probably where the idea came from for the start of 'All You Need Is Love'. It was quite funny.
I have always been someone who gets into a steady relationship. I met Jane Asher when she was sent by the Radio Times to cover a concert we were in at the Royal Albert Hall - we had a photo taken with her for the magazine and we all fancied her. We'd thought she was blonde, because we had only ever seen her on black-and-white telly doing Juke Box Jury, but she turned out to be a redhead. So it was: 'Wow, you're a redhead!' I tried pulling her, succeeded, and we were boyfriend and girlfriend for quite a long time.
I always feel very wary including Jane in The Beatles; history. She's never gone into print about our relationship, whilst everyone on earth has sold their story. So I'd feel weird being the one to kiss and tell.
We had a good relationship. Even with touring there were enough occasions to keep a reasonable relationship going. To tell the truth, the women at that time got sidelined. Now it would be seen as very chauvinist of us. Then it was like: 'We are four miners who go down the pit. You don't need women down the pit, do you? We won't have women down the pit.' A lot of what we, The Beatles, did was very much in an enclosed scene. Other people found it difficult - even John's wife, Cynthia, found it very difficult - to penetrate the screen that we had around us. As a kind of safety barrier we had a lot of 'in' jokes, little signs, references to music; we had a common bond in that and it was very difficult for any 'outsider' to penetrate. That possibly wasn't good for relationships back then.
I was still living on my own in London when all the others started getting married and moving to the suburbs, on golf-club estates, which wasn't my idea of fun at all: one, because I wasn't married and there didn't seem any point. (I could see it for them: they were going to raise kids out there.) And two, because I was able to stay in London I was much more involved in going to the theatre and art galleries and whatever was going on in the big metropolis.
JOHN: I'm glad things got as big as they did, because when we got nearly big, people started saying to us: 'You're the biggest thing since...' I got fed up that we were the biggest thing 'since'. I wanted The Beatles to just be the biggest thing. It's like gold. The more you get, the more you want.70
RINGO: We knew we were a great band but no one could predict then where it was going. We were playing good music and making good money. With Rory, at Butlins, I was on sixteen quid a week, and as an apprentice engineer I would take home Ј2 10s a week with the prospect of Ј12 or Ј15 a week after finishing the apprenticeship. But, now, here I was with money. Money was great. It meant having a bathroom in my own house, having cars. I suppose the biggest expense was the apartment George and I used to share. There were many suits and shirts and shoes and shopping sprees. I counted thirty-seven shirts one time and I couldn't believe it.
The first year we were still getting fifty quid a week from Brian. It was Ј25 when I joined, and even that had been a fortune.
JOHN: We don't feel as though we've got money. You just feel as though you've got the material things. The money we don't feel as though we've got, because we've never seen it. I never wee more than Ј100 at once. They usually give us about thirty or forty quid a week each. I usually give it to my wife because I never use money, because I'm always being taken around. I only handle money when I'm off on holiday.66
GEORGE: We were still not that wealthy, except that we were better off relative to how poor we'd been before. But it was by no means real wealth, from the cash we were being given. I recently found a piece of paper that shows how much we were actually earning in one period in 1963. From the starting figure of Ј72,000, we made about Ј4,000 each; Brian Epstein took Ј2,025 a week and Neil and Mal got Ј25 each. So Brian got Ј2,000 more each week than Mal and Neil!
But our lives were changing. The way that we measured success or wealth now was that we had motorcars and lived in Mayfair and had four suits when we travelled. That was not bad, really.
JOHN: You can be bigheaded, and say, 'Yeah, we're going to last ten years,' but as soon as you've said that, you think, 'You know, we're lucky if we last three months.'61
GEORGE MARTIN: It was very difficult in 1963 to think The Beatles were going to last for ever and that I would be talking about them thirty years on. But it was very gratifying that they had made Number One. It took a whole year before they really conquered the world. It was 1964 before they had a Number One in America - the whole of 1963 was taken up with consolidating our work in England. They had four singles out during that time: 'Please Please Me', 'From Me To You', 'She Loves You', and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'. As we recorded them, I would send each one to my friends at Capitol Records in America and say, 'This group is fantastic. You've got to issue them, you've got to sell them in the States.' And each time, the head of Capitol would turn it down: 'Sorry, we know our market better than you do, and we don't think they're any good.' Eventually, of course, they had to accede to public demand.
NEIL ASPINALL: Well, they had conquered Britain. The Beatles were everywhere - George even had his own column in the Daily Express, assisted by friend-to-be Derek Taylor.
DEREK TAYLOR: My first experience Beatle came earlier that year, and was extraordinary. I was still only thirty, but sufficiently unaware of the 'young' world in mid-Spring 1963 to have not heard of this rising phenomenon. I was working as a journalist for the Daily Express in Manchester and as such went to cover a one-night stand at the Odeon, starring The Beatles and Roy Orbison. I watched the show and when, two hours later, it was all over bar the screaming, I went to the telephone and dictated my review without a note, just as it came, and they printed it. I believed that in The Beatles the world had found the truest folk heroes of the century or, indeed, of any other time. From that day, 30th May 1963, I have never wavered in my certainty that they painted a new rainbow right across the world, with crocks of gold at each end and then some...
I was pleased when George's Daily Express column fell to me, but I started on the wrong foot. I did a real ghosting job. George's father was a bus driver, so I invented a conversation between his father and him in typical popular-newspaper style. It went like this: 'So my dad said to me, "Don't worry about me, son, you stick to your guitar and I'll carry on driving the big green jobs."'
I went down to London to deliver George's first column and I was asked by Brian, 'Oh, would you read it out for the boys? I'd like them to hear it.' So I had to take this column out of my pocket and, as if George had written it, I started reading it: '... you stick to your guitar and I'll carry on driving the big green jobs.' And George said, 'What are big green jobs?' I said, 'Um, buses - Liverpool buses.' George said, 'I didn't know they were called "big green jobs".' John said, 'I didn't know they were, either.' I said, 'Well, I don't know that they are.' I had just made it up. Which, of course, is what happens on newspapers and that's why all these things sound so phoney.
Anyway, the long and short of it was, after I'd passed the test by admitting that I'd made up 'big green jobs'. George said, 'I'll help you write the column - we can do it together.'
1. /Jennifer BATTEN/[GUITAR] Jennifer Batten - Two Hand Rock For Guitar.pdf
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