Monday, June 08, 2009

Beatle People: Francie Schwartz

Francie Schwartz (born 1944) was an American scriptwriter and the former girlfriend, during the late 1960s, of Paul McCartney, who referred to her as "Franny." At the time, McCartney was engaged to the actress Jane Asher who broke off the engagement when she found them in bed together, although Schwartz claims otherwise. One of the fans who used to hang around McCartney's Cavendish Road house says that "...Paul brought this American girl home...[and a little while later]...another car turned into Cavendish Avenue - it was Jane. She'd come back...earlier than she was supposed to. Jane went into the house. A bit later on she came storming out again and drove away." Later on, Jane's mother arrived to retrieve Jane's things.

White Album

In 1968, intrigued by the Beatles' formation of the Apple Corps which she had read about in the American magazine Rolling Stone, at the age of 23 she went to London to see if one of her scripts was of interest to what she regarded as the "non-establishment." She met the Beatles at a critical point in their development - when they were making the White Album.

Her script was for a film about a street violinist and actor she had met when he was doing his act in front of Carnegie Hall, New York. She thought the story would be perfect for Paul McCartney with the addition of his lyrical and romantic musical melodies. She came to London on 3 April 1968 and a few days later just walked into the reception room of their first office in 95 Wigmore Street, London. This was prior to Apple Corps' move to Savile Row later in 1968. At the time McCartney was standing in conversation with some business contacts. A relationship developed and he later invited her to move in with him at 7 Cavendish Avenue in St John's Wood, London where he was living at the time. McCartney gave her a job working for Derek Taylor, Apple Corps' Public Relations manager, writing press releases for various Apple Corps artists including James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, Badfinger and Jackie Lomax.

She was present, as was Lennon's girlfriend Yoko Ono when the White Album was being recorded when she says she: "was almost always stoned," and that: "the four began to diverge as artists during these sessions." Lennon and Ono came to live at Cavendish Avenue temporarily as guests when Schwartz was living there. Schwartz says that John was upset one morning after finding an insulting note from Paul about Ono, which referred to her as a "Jap tart."

On Sunday, 28 July 1968, in the midst of recording the White Album, the Beatles decided to spend what became known as "A Mad Day Out" being photographed at seemingly random locations in London. Schwartz had the task of picking suitable photographic sites. Veteran war photographer Don McCullin was primary cameraman, with additional photographers Ronald Fitzgibbon, Stephen Goldblatt, Tom Murray, and Tony Bramwell coming along as well. Beatles' assistant Mal Evans also took pictures. Ono and Schwartz were there too and the pictures are now some of the most famous and fascinating color images of The Beatles.


"Blackbird" rehearsal with Francie in attendance:

"Helter Skelter" acoustic version with Francie providing percussion:

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