Friday, July 24, 2009

White Album and Mad Day Out, 1968

It's handy having Paul's house so near the EMI studios. Sometimes if we're feeling a bit peckish by midnight or thereabouts, we troop round to his place for a nosh break. George is getting great at cooking fry-up suppers and his specialty in the kitchen line is a hearty blend of eggs, bacon, tomatoes and fried bread, which stimulates everyone in readiness for the rest of the night's recording!

Incidentally, talking about George reminds me about the fabulous new guitar he gave to our great little Apple singer, Mary Hopkin. Mary came along to one of the LP sessions and, on the spur of the moment, George decided to go out and get her a guitar as a gift. It was a really good one, too. When he came back to the studio with it he must have felt a bit shy about handing it over. So, when we were leaving I gave Mary the guitar saying, very simple, "It's a present from George." She couldn't say "thank you," but her six-foot-deep smile seemed to fit the bill.

Before I finish off for this month I must tell you a bit about the very special photo session we had one Sunday just a few weekends ago. The idea was to get together a whole new collection of pictures, really good ones, from which the fan clubs could have fresh supplies. This time the Beatles were determined to do something a bit better than just putting their four heads together in front of a wall. After all, a selection of pictures would be going all the way round the world to more than 40 different branches of the Beatles Fan Club, so it was worth a bit of special effort to turn out good ones.

We met at Paul's house around lunchtime and set out in a little cavalcade of vehicles. John came with me in my car and I'd brought my small son Gary along for the ride. The others piled into Ringo's white Mercedes and a van carrying all the different costumes and clothes trailed behind us as we crossed London from St. John's Wood through the West End to Fleet Street and beyond. First stop was the Sunday Times building where we used the roof to do the first set of pictures. And we used a wind machine to get nice effects on the fellows' hair. In fact I think it helped to produce some of the first group photographs to show all four Beatle foreheads uncovered beneath wind-swept hair!

Next we turned West again and headed for Bayswater. Our destination was a little place called the Mercury Theatre which is situated not too far from the headquarters of The Beatles Monthly. Good job it was a Sunday with all this town travelling to be done. To try criss-crossing London by road on a weekday would have meant spending half the afternoon getting out of traffic jams!

At the Mercury we dug out loads of strange costumes, had tea in the theatre bar and then did some more pictures. A zoological man brought along a brightly-coloured parrot which settled peacefully upon Ringo's left shoulder and didn't mind having his picture taken!

From there we went East again stopping in a suburban residential area to do a few street shots in front of houses before heading for the London Docks.

Finally, we returned to St. John's Wood and Paul's house for more tea and the last lot of photographs. This time Paul's massive dog Martha got into the act like she always does. Not that anyone minded because she's a great dog and very photogenic what's more!

Paul had the ideal spot for picture-taking. We trooped down to the foot of his garden. There, hidden away behind all the trees, Paul has this fantastic glass-domed sun-thingy. I know there's a special word for it but I'm sure you know what I mean, anyway! It's quite high, a square building at the bottom with glass walls. Four pillars go right up to the glass roof and there's a round hydraulic lift. You just stand on the step and up you go into the dome. Got some great pictures up there with Paul, Ringo and Martha, plus a few shots of all the four fellows. Anyway, if and when you start collceting the new set of photographs which the Fan Club is offering, you'll know all about the background to them. Oh yes . . . and the ones in goggles and crash helmets were done on the Sunday Times roof, too. So now you know!



Planet Mondo said...

I met Tom Murray who was involved in the mad day out shoot last year - you can check it out here

Don Newbury said...

Do you think the 'White Album' sessions were as horrible as they say? I have heard so many conflicting reports over the years and Ringo has always said that was his favorite album to record. I always kind of thought that he was putting people on somewhat but I'm not sure. Keep up the good work, by the way.