I first met the Beatles almost a year ago at a recording of "Thank Your Lucky Stars" in Birmingham. I had no idea then that in less than a year's time I would have become their Manager's secretary, and later travel round the States with them.
What impressed me most at that first meeting was their great sense of humour--they're always cracking jokes, and they didn't seem to mind the flood of autograph books that kept coming in, or the occasional fan that burst through the security guards into their dressing room.
Eldest BeatleJohn Lennon--often described as the cynical member of the group--this is perhaps a true description, although my theory of his cynical look on stage is that he can't see beyond the edge of the stage--off stage he wears dark glasses (medicinal ones) and he doesn't look at all cynical. I always think of John as the eldest Beatle although he is in fact a few months younger than Ringo. I think this is probably because he is married, and he has an air of responsibility about him. Even if the Beatles had never happened, I think John would have--in some way, however small, showed up--perhaps as a writer of songs, or books (although some people may disagree with me on this point).
Poems and JokesWe had many long plane trips travelling from city to city in America, and John would amuse everyone by making up rhymes, little poems and jokes, which will probably find their way into another book eventually. John is the most outspoken of the Beatles in many ways. One example of this happened when the boys were staying in a house in America (in the Hollywood suburb of Bel Air), and Jayne Mansfield had popped in to meet the Beatles. She arrived clad in a mauve cat suit, carrying an absurdly small dog, and accompanied by an enormous bodyguard. John happened to be the only one of the Beatles around that time, although it had been Paul who had expressed a desire to meet her initially, and the first thing Jayne said to John, almost before being introduced, was "Is this real?" pulling his hair. John retaliated by saying, "Well are those real?" pointing at her . . . !
Most CharmingPaul is perhaps the most charming of the Beatles--he worries about people--and is always the first to jump to his feet whenever the Beatles are introduced to anyone. He is the one who always said--even in the far back days of the Cavern--that the Beatles were going to be big. He is also, I think, the most polished performer on stage. He is always pleased to meet fans, and in America he insisted on meeting as many fan club presidents as he could. He really appreciates all the work the Fan Club Secretaries do. Paul loves kidding people and on one plane trip in America he took over the intercom system and said in a very American sounding accent, "This is the Captain speaking. We are about to make a crash landing--will everyone fasten their seat belts and remain calm." Well, for a moment everyone on the plane looked absolutely terrified, until we realised that it was Paul, and then, of course, we all burst out laughing. Paul is also a born actor, and he has invented so many disguises for travelling around unrecognised, that sometimes even the other Beatles don't recognise him.
Business MindedGeorge Harrison, the youngest Beatle, is perhaps the most business minded of them all. He wants to know what press work to do, what television shows to do, and where all the money is going! When I first met him he struck me as being rather quiet--he spends a lot of time practising his guitar--and although he doesn't sing as much as John and Paul he expresses himself on stage with complicated guitar chords and solo playing. I found out later that he is certainly not the quietest Beatle--in fact he never stops talking. In America he was asked at several press conferences why he was the least popular of the Beatles. Well, George looked quite astounded and said, "Oh am I." Well, whatever his popularity is like in America, it's certainly very high in this country. The last time I attended a Beatle concert which was quite recently, everyone seemed to be screaming for George, and the uproar that greeted any of his solo numbers was fantastic.
Very KindRingo is usually known as the 4th Beatle because he joined the group a mere two years ago. I think he is quieter than the others because of this fact--but Ringo is very kind. He is always willing to see fans and press reporters. He was immensely thrilled by his fantastic popularity in the United States--American fans go wild over Ringo--I think they feel he is slightly left out--but all thoughts he may have had in this direction must have been dispersed when he heard the uproar that greeted his number "Boys" in America. Ringo sometimes does really mad things--he was given a gun holster by Colonel Parker (Elvis's manager) while in the States, and he acquired some guns and a cowboy hat and went wild-west for an afternoon shooting everything and everyone in sight. He got so attached to his holster and guns that he almost went swimming with them on!
New CarRingo passed his driving test recently, and when his instructor telephoned the office after the test, a very thrilled Ringo came to the phone to tell me that he had passed. He has now acquired a bright red American sports car--a Facel Vega. Ringo also shines way above the other Beatles as far as dancing is concerned. He is a marvellous dancer, and has a fantastic sense of rhythm.
All the Beatles are very proud of their cars. John has a maroon and black Rolls Royce--a splendid affair--John doesn't drive himself, so he has to have a chauffeur. Paul owns a steel blue James Bond type Aston martin DB 5. It doesn't have an ejector seat though. He has only just bought this as he was suspended from driving for a year due to too many speeding offences! In America he was just longing to get back to drive this car, and now claims that it is the best he has ever driven. George owns a grey E-type Jaguar which he has had for some time now. All the Beatles enjoy driving fast, and they much prefer to travel by car than plane. George, especially, hates flying.
OffstageMany people ask me what the Beatles wear off stage. Well, all of them like to dress casually. John has a mania for red polo-necked sweaters, and bright coloured shirts at the moment; Paul usually wears a suit and he likes blue shirts; George and Ringo like to wear jeans, and George bought several P.J. Proby type shirts in America which he wore nearly every day.
What impresses me most about the Beatles is that they still don't realise that all this has happened to them. I asked John once how he felt about all the fans screaming over him and he just said, "I still don't understand it--we're just the same as anyone else." I think this sums up the Beatles popularity and I love working for them.