Thursday, June 30, 2011
This photo of the Beatles holding a fan-made heart is pretty well-known and common. It was on one of the Beatles trading cards from the 1960's and so it is a photograph that has been out for the public to see for a very long time. However, did you ever wonder who made such an item for the guys? Well the answer comes to us via ebay, where there is currently an auction for the autograph the boys signed for the girls who made this heart. K. Rockliff (who we assume is Kathleen, whose name is seen stitched on the heart) says that all four of the Beatles signed an autograph for her in Liverpool on March 24, 1963 after her and two of her friends gave the boys a heart shaped present. You can see on the autograph that Paul autographed with a plug for their newest single by saying "thank you girl(s)" and George mentions the gift by saying "thanks a lot, a nice bit of knitting." Kathleen was very fortunate to have met the Beatles and gave them her gift and receive such a great autograph in return. I bet this will go for a lot on ebay!
I always enjoy reading stories of fans who met John in the 1970's and 1980 outside of the Dakota. Since I recently was in New York and stood outside of the Dakota, it is neat because I have a very clear visual of where they were standing when they spoke to John and Yoko. As I have said before, that is what I like to think of when I think of John and the Dakota. Him and Yoko speaking with those who appreciated them and their work.
Here is a wonderful story written by Lisa Grand. It was published in the Winter 1990 issue of the London Beatles fan club magazine. It is a real joy to read. What precious memories Lisa has of the times she met John and Yoko. (The photos do not directly go with the story. I do not believe Lida took photos or asked for an autograph.)
Bless you, wherever you are…
Encounters with John
By Lisa Grand
I was fifteen years old when I first went to the Dakota in February 1979, and I was filled with a mixture of terror and excitement over the prospect of seeing John. Since it was just a few days after Yoko’s birthday, I brought her a plant with purple flowers.
It was an icy-cold, blustery day, and I was accompanied by my 19-year old pen pal, Brenda, from Minnesota, who seemed like an adult to me, and a pen pal of hers, Cynthia. It was so bitterly cold that every part of my body was either stinging from near-frostbite or completely numb.
As if by magic, John and Yoko emerged from the darkness of the deep archway that leads into the Dakota. A woman appeared out of nowhere and asked John for his autograph. “I’m sorry, we don’t do that anymore, love,” was his gentle reply.
I carefully approached Yoko with the plant and wished her a happy birthday. I was at once overwhelmed by her calmness and beauty. She was dressed in a fur coat and she had tucked her wavy, black hair into it. Yoko had a creamy complexion and she radiated a beauty more intense than anything I ‘d ever seen. I was happily surprised to find that we were the same height (5 feet tall). There was such warmth emanating from Yoko that when I stared into her deep brown eyes, I felt compelled to hug her. I will never forget the softness of her fur coat of the silky smoothness of her cheek. I suppose I was aware of on some level that John was watching me, but whenever this though tried to enter my conscious mind, I simply blocked it out. Really, that was too much to bear.
No sooner did I hand Yoko that plant than John took it from her. He explained that they were on their way out, so he would take it into the office. His speech forced me to acknowledge his presence and I was jolted from my peaceful gaze into Yoko’s eyes to a state of shock.
Having said that, John spun around with the plant and headed back into the Dakota. Relieved that he had left, I re-focused my attention on Yoko. It was inconceivable to me that this was the same person I had seen in so many unflattering photos. Having read everything ever written on the subject of John and Yoko, I could not understand how so many writers could portray Yoko in a negative light. Surely these people had never met her.
I chatted with Yoko for just a short while before John began walking toward us. This time I was acutely aware of John studying me as I spoke to Yoko. We continued our conversation even after John rejoined our circle. When I asked how her birthday was she gushed, “It was beautiful.” Yoko glanced lovingly toward John as if to let us know that he was responsible for making her birthday beautiful. Moments like these were the most previous to me. John and Yoko’s love was such a fantastic thing to witness firsthand.
Over the next year and a half, I was to see John about a dozen times. Sometimes he was alone, and sometimes he was with Yoko. I couldn’t help noticing that when John was alone he seemed a little nervous-he walked at a fast clip – but when he was with Yoko he was patient, calm and reassured. I loved to watch them walking down 72nd Street together. They always held hands.
Getting back to that cold day in February, John knew right away from her bubbly personality and Midwestern accent that Brenda was not form New York. He asked her where she was from, how she liked New York, and whether she had come for the Beatlefest. We were shocked to hear John mention the Beatles – we thought that was a forbidden subject – and further surprised that he knew about the fan conventions. Brenda had planned her trip to New York to coincide with the Beatlefest, but John would not leave it at that. He was curious about the convention and he asked us what went on there. “What do they have there? Posters? T-shirts?” he asked. He seemed to view the whole thing in commercial terms. Sensing this, I asked him to elaborate. ‘They just make a lot of bread off you guys.” He added.
I protested that it really meant something to us, but John went on to explain why he mistrusted the producers’ motives. “Originally all the money was supposed to go to charity, but now they just make a lot of bread off you guys.” With the repetition of this phrase I realized that John was expressing his concern over what he considered to be the exploitation of his fans.
We mentioned having seen Sean, who was just three years old at the time, earlier that day and John’s face lit up. When Sean left that morning with Helen Seaman, his nanny (and Fred’s aunt) we noticed that he didn’t look too happy. John explained that Sean had been to a party the night before and had eaten “too much junk.” This, of course, was during John and Yoko’s macrobiotic (or at least health-food conscious) period, so they were pretty upset about this. “I’d rather he’d thrown it up.” Added John.
Knowing full well that Sean was their favorite topic, we continued talking about him. I told Yoko that we had been listening to her Plastic Ono Band album and that when we turned it over we were amazed to see that Sean had the same eyes as hers when she was a little girl. Yoko just smiled at our observation, but John got very excited. “Fred said that last night!” He repeated this in a tone of amazement a couple of times and finally concluded, “I’m glad he doesn’t have my eyes. They’re rotten.” “No they’re not” I muttered as an automatic reflex. I didn’t stand for anyone putting John down, not even John himself.
At about this time I noticed that the sun had broken through the clouds and was shining brightly on John’s hair revealing a beautiful auburn color. He really seemed to be glowing. As the conversation drew on, I found it increasingly difficult to maintain physical appearance. I had been expecting him to look very old and have short hair, just as he did when he received his green card, as these were the most recent pictures I’d seen of him. Boy was I in for a shock. John looked as though he’d just stepped off the cover of Abbey Road, but with a more closely-trimmed beard.
He was exquisitely dressed in pleated corduroy trousers, a shirt and a jacket, the browns, reds and golds of which all blended together, and his Frye boots made him well over six feet tall. He was absolutely gorgeous. The combination of John’s presence and the sun made me feel very warm.
Very early that morning, before we left the house, Brenda and I had been listening to a Beatles bootleg called Indian Rope Trick. For some strange reason, there was a version of “Cheese and Onions” on that record that sounded a whole lot like John singing. It was strange also to find a Rutles’ song on a Beatles bootleg. With this still very much on my mind, I asked John whether he knew the song “Cheese and Onions.” To this day I think he was trying to freak me out, but I carried on with the conversation asking if he’d ever recorded the song. “No.” he replied. “That’s uh Monty Python.” I knew it was bothering him that he couldn’t think of the name of the group, so I asked him whether he liked the Rutles. “Well I wouldn’t get out of bed for them,” he answered with dry Liverpudlian humor.
At about this time, a woman came by walking three white poodles. The smallest one looked hopelessly confused as he kept getting his leash tangled with those of the other three. John stared down at this tiny creature and asked it in a tone of mock-anger, “What’s the matter with you?” It was hilarious.
The reason we had such a long time to talk to John and Yoko was that the entire time their doorman was desperately trying to hail a cab from them (We thanked him later for being so inept). After about ten or fifteen minutes John suggested they go to the corner to get a cab, but Yoko gave him an emphatic “No” which we interpreted to mean “No, we’re talking to these girls.” We loved her. Eventually they decided to go back inside and call their limo service. “The moment they pulled away, the doorman from across the street came running over to tell us that we had spoken to John and Yoko for over twenty minutes. Was he timing us?
Another especially memorable time for me at the Dakota was in June of the same year. I peered into the dark driveway and saw a familiar-looking silhouette. After a few seconds it dawned on me that it was John and Yoko kissing! John was leaning over and Yoko had her head tilted back at such an angle that she had to hold her floppy hat on her head with one hand. The reason this looked so familiar to me was that it was the same image that appeared on the screen at the beginning of the waltz John and Yoko did to George’s I, Me, Mine in Let It Be.
When John and Yoko broke their embrace, they headed out towards the sunlit day, both smiling. As if this was not enough, little Sean suddenly ran out in front of them hysterically laughing. With such beautiful scenes as these imbedded in my mind, it is impossible for me to be affected by any of the trashy books that come out.
The last time I saw John was in September of 1980. “Starting Over” had just been released and I knew that things would be different now that John and Yoko had decided to go public again. John looked better than ever before in his life as far as I was concerned. He was tanned, clean shaven and had cut his hair much shorter than it had been the year before.
John, Yoko and David Geffen made their way form the Dakota to a limo waiting by the curb, and John stopped for a moment when he saw Jude, Jeri and me. I felt stongly that I wanted to make a connection with John, so I extended my hand to him. He quickly transferred whatever he was holding form his right to his left hand, and took my hand. I remember how big and warm his hand was and how wonderful it felt. John was in a calm, sweet, mood. David Geffen asked him who I was, and without missed a beat John replied, “Oh her? She’s a regular.” It was a nice goodbye.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Lowering the boot into place. This large boot would eventually come to John Lennon's home at Kenwood.
Ahhh! Nudie (well sort of) Paul!
Those slippers are too funny!!!
Not fan photos...but awesome still. Big thanks to a long time Beatles pal, Beatlebren, for scanning these and sending them to me!
That doesn't appear to be a peace sign, Ringo.....
Showing off the rings for the camera?
I would guess these photos were from the early 1980'sand Ringo does not appear to be very pleased with the photo taking going on....
Blog reader, Richard Oliff , helped me solve a little mystery from October 2010. I posted a great fan photo of Ringo going to the Apple Building on Savile Row and there was a sign that said "Banard". I asked what or who Barnard was. Well Richard just happened to know and even sent along this photo to help out. F.W. Barnard was the company of contractors hired to work on the Apple Building. Richard went to the building Oct 30, 1971, when the photograph was taken. A big thank you goes out to Richard for helping solve this mystery!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Popular comedy writer, Ken Levine, wrote a great story on his extremely popular blog about the time in 1972 when he met John. It is a great story and really shows how John really had a sense of humor, even during what many think of as a "serious period" of his life. Since I hate posts without photos, I am posting a "new" found photo of John taken in 1972 at the Bank Street apartment.
It was the summer of ‘72. This is another radio story. I was an engineer at KABC/KLOS in Los Angeles. It was a Saturday night. Elliott Mintz hosted a weekend talk show on KABC. He was (and is) very close to Yoko Ono. I believe been her publicist for all these years.
On this particular Saturday night he had arranged for John and Yoko to be his guests. I knew nothing about it. But I happened to be on a break, and as I turned into the long hallway that ran the length of the station I spotted John and Yoko at the side door.
Holy shit! I couldn’t believe it.
So I barreled down the hallway to let them in. John was wearing a jean jacket and sported the familiar round wire glasses, hair parted down the middle. Yoko was wearing a giant black fur. I think it was August.
I let them in and said I’d escort them to the booth. I introduced myself and shook hands with both. John’s handshake was very limp. Yoko’s was very firm.
Like I said, this was a long hallway. What do you say to John Lennon? I didn’t want to just gush and be yet another tiresome groupie. And there was hardly time to engage him in a lengthy discussion.
There was, at the time, a NATIONAL LAMPOON comedy album that was quite popular. One of the cuts was a parody of John Lennon. In it, the Lennon impersonator keeps boasting, “I’m a fuckin’ genius! I’m a fuckin’ genius!”
So, throwing caution to the wind, I asked the great John Lennon, “So what’s it like being a fuckin’ genius?” I know. You’re horrified. What the hell was I thinking?
John smiled at me and said, “Pretty nice, actually!”
We shook hands again and he and Yoko disappeared into the studio. In addition to everything else, he really did have that sense of humor.
I still can’t believe he’s gone. And for so many years.
He was a fuckin’ genius.
Monday, June 27, 2011
In this (sadly very small) Pat Kinzer photo, you see the George is signing Beatle Book Monthly issue number 59 (June 1968). This issue features a color photo of George from the "Lady Madonna" photo shoot in the centerfold and by the way George is holding the magazine, one can assume that he is signing this photo for Pat and her fan club.
The Beatles Book Monthly seems to have been a very popular item for fans to get signed. You often see photos of a Beatle signing one, and they are frequently up for sale these days on various sites that sell Beatles autographs. Obviously if you were a Beatles fan in the 1960's, then you read Beatles Book Monthly. It was the only Beatles magazine that was sanctioned by the Beatles and was promoted by the fan club. And while it might give a sugar-coated view of the Fab 4 (they didn't want anything negative in their own magazine), you were sure to get the latest Beatles news and exclusive photographs in it. And in a day and age before the Internet, I can only imagine how important the magazine was to fans.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
the top photo is a "new" one and once I found it, I realized that I had another photo with the same girl in my files. I really like it when I realize that photos were taken on the same day.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
If I didn't read the caption of this photo, the Hawaiian shirt would have made me think that this was a photo of George in Brazil. But the caption says that it was taken in Monza, Italy in 1978. So now we know....
This is a photo that is current up for sale on ebay. It is really a neat photo. Here is the little story that the seller tells with the photo
While we were driving through London looking for Paul's McCartneys Office, Abbey Road Studio and other Beatle related sites I was pleasantly surprised.What are the chances of seeing Paul walking by his London home holding a Linda McCartney photo of himself that was taken at the same place? I mean really? Why can't stuff like this happen to me?
There he was, walking down the street, carrying a wooden plaque.
"Hello Paul, may I take your picture?"..... "No, but I'll show it to you"
One snap with my cheap camera. "Bye" "Cheers"
Not part of the tour...just me being a dork and trying to do the John Lennon pose at the Statue of Liberty
The Dakota building
Myself with my cousin and mom at Strawberry Fields
Radio city Music hall
Ed Sullivan theater
The Plaza hotel
I enjoy traveling and being the Beatlefan that I am, wherever I go, I like to find the Beatles connections to the places where I visit. This year I went to visit my cousin who lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She moved from southern Illinois to the east coast 15 years ago for work. She is someone that I grew up and it meant a lot for me to come visit her. My mom wanted to come along as well, so we flew out to see her. She promised us a few days in New York City (where she works) and a Broadway musical. When she said that we could go into New York city, there was one thing on my mind: The Beatles!
The Beatles history is rich in New York. Not only did John Lennon live there for almost 10 years, but it is where the Beatles first came to when they arrived in the United States in 1964. I wanted to see those places that I have watched so many times on newsreel footage. And so through the fest for Beatle fans, I found out about Susan Ryan and her Feb 4 walking tour of New York.
The tour was a lot of fun (well maybe not for my cousin who isn't a fan, but oh well). I was able to see a lot of the places that were connected to the Beatles (Ed Sullivan theater, Warwick Hotel, Radio City Music Hall) and hear the stories behind the places. I think I was the most excited about see the Plaza Hotel, where the Beatles stayed in February 1964. It looked just like it did on in the video and photos that I could almost still hear the sounds of "We love you Beatles" being sung outside. Like any good Beatles New York tour, it ended with a trip through Central Park and a stop at the Imagine Mosaic at Strawberry Fields and the Dakota Building. It was very special for me to go there (even though I had already visited those spots in 2000), because I knew John Lennon enjoyed living there and walking in that area so much. I chose not to dwell on John's awful death that occurred at the Dakota, but instead on the enjoyment of meeting his fans and taking Sean for walks through that doorway.
Susan is a great tour guide. Sure I already knew 99% of the things she said, but it still was great to hear her personal stories that went along with the places and just to be re-reminded of things while you look at the actual building. I was disappointed that we didn't see Paul's offices in New York. She didn't want to stop by because Paul might be in town (more the reason to stop by if you ask me....but oh well) although she did point out where it was located and said that is something we could do on our own. I also would have liked to have seen John and Yoko's Bank Street apartment, but even I realize that you can't do everything in a Beatles tour in one block of time.
All in all this tour was well worth the time and if you enjoy seeing Beatles history in person like I do, then you should book a tour with Susan the next time you travel to New York City.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
If you are not a visitor of the McCartney Photo blog then you need to start visiting it on a regular basis. As everyone here knows, I am a John girl, but I am a fan of Paul and his family and I do encourage you all to visit this page even if the McCartney clan isn't your all time favorite. This photo is one that was recently posted there and I like it. Anyone know this fan?
I have a really wonderful Beatles treat to share with you. These two photos are currently up for auction on ebay. They are being sold by someone who's grandfather took the photos himself. You can see George is lifting up his shirt (huh?) and Cynthia Lennon is in the background of one of the photos. What treasures!!!!
Here I am posing with John Lennon's suit and TWA bag that was on display at the New York Hard Rock Cafe.
Hello Beatle fans from around the world! I am back from my holiday to Philadelphia and New York City. I had a fab time and will have a blog post soon that will highlight the Beatles tour that I went to in New York. I have spent the day trying to keep up with the Beatles news that I missed while I was away. I am a little disappointed that it once again looks like I will not be able to see Paul in concert. He will be in Chicago (6 hours away from me) on July 31. I am going up there for the Fest for Beatle fans on August 5. So close but yet....still won't work out.
Anyhow...wanted to say that I did miss working on the blog while I was gone, and I was anxious to get back to it. So away we go!
Monday, June 13, 2011
photo of a much thinner Sara S. at the Imagine mosiac the first time in New York in 2000. I bet things have changed in 11 years.
In less than an hour, I am leaving my town here in southern Illinois and flying off to the Big Apple. Yes...I am taking a holiday to John's 2nd "hometown" of New York City! I am super excited because I am also going on a Beatles walking tour there. So needless to say, I will not be updating this blog while I am away. Please continue to email me stories and photos. I will get them when I return and will get back to posting. Talk to you all soon!
I am putting this one up here because I am wondering if anyone has any information about it. John's short hair looks like it did in late June 1973 when John and Yoko went to Washington D.C. for the Watergate hearings. What do the shirts mean? Does it have something to do with Ms. magazine?
Big thank you goes out to Marcelo, who sent me the link for the auction (which ended last year) that sold these photos. These are amazing photographs! They were taken by Mia Farrow during the time in India in 1968. I especially enjoy the John Lennon photo. He looks so relaxed. Photos like these make me wonder just how many people have taken photos of the Beatles and have them sitting in their personal photo albums.