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January 1

Paul and Jane Asher visited the McCartney family in Liverpool.

January 5

John got together with his father Freddie once more, this time at Kenwood, John's House in Weybridge. Freddie had been washing dishes in a nearby hotel. John told the Daily Mirror that he had ended his feud with his father: "From now on I hope we'll be in close contact all the time."

George worked on the soundtrack to the film Wonderwall at Abbey Road.

Magical Mystery Tour was repeated on BBC2, this time as it was originally intended to be seen, in colour.

January 6

The Daily Telegraph reported that Brian Epstein had left £486,032 (£266,032 net) and that his mother was to control the estate.

January 7

George flew from London to Bombay, with stopovers in Paris, Frankfurt and Teheran, to record the Wonderwall film soundtrack using local Indian musicians.

January 9

George began work at EMI's Bombay recording studios.

January 11

George recorded the backing track for 'The Inner Light'.

January 12

The Beatles Film Productions Limited changed its name to Apple Film Limited and Apple Music Limited changed its name to Apple Corps Limited.

George completed the recordings needed for Wonderwall and began recording ragas and other traditional pieces of music for possible use on Beatles records, one of which was the basic track for 'The Inner Light'.

January 17

John, Ringo and Paul attended a press reception organised by RCA Records to celebrate the release of 'Dear Delilah', the first single by the Apple-managed group Grapefruit.

January 18

George flew back to London from Bombay with the Wonderwall tapes.

January 19

The single 'Dear Delilah' by Grapefruit was released in the UK. The press were informed that John and Paul helped produce the session.

January 22

Apple Corps opened offices at 95 Wigmore St, London.

Paul attended Diana ROSS & The Supremes' opening night of their season at the Talk Of The Town club in London.

January 25

Twickenham Film Studio. The Beatles filmed their cameo appearance that was featured at the end of the animated cartoon Yellow Submarine. Afterwards John and George attended Ossie Clark's fashion show in London.

January 26

Paul joined his brother Mike McGear and poet Roger McGough for a recording session at Abbey Road.

January 27

John was interviewed by Kenny Everett at Kenwood, Weybridge, for BBC Radio 1's The Kenny Everett Show.

January 28

Paul taught Cilia Black 'Step Inside Love', the hastily composed song he'd written for her forthcoming TV series. At this point, the song only consisted of one verse and a chorus.

January 30

Cilla Black's television series Cilla went on the air using Paul's 'Step Inside Love', sung by Cilla, as its signature tune. George completed work on the soundtrack for the film Wonderwall at Abbey Road.

February 1

Ringo attended rehearsals at the BBC Rehearsal Rooms in North Acton, London, for his live appearance on Cilia Black's new television show, Cilia.

February 2

Ringo attended a second day of rehearsals for Cilla. Meanwhile, Paul completed his song 'Step Inside Love', ready for Cilla to record a full-length rendition as her next single.

February 3

Abbey Road. Work began on Paul's 'Lady Madonna'.

February 4

Abbey Road. Work began on John's 'Across The Universe'. Two fans, waiting outside, were brought into the studio to provide the high falsetto harmonies needed.

John's interview on BBC Radio 1's The Kenny Everett Show was broadcast.

February 5

Ringo attended camera position rehearsals for his appearance on Cilla at the BBC Television Theatre, Shepherd's Bush, London.

Paul appeared at a press conference held at the Royal Garden Hotel, London to publicise the Leicester Arts Community Festival. He was persuaded to do it by a student who managed to talk his way into Paul's Cavendish Avenue house.

February 6

Ringo appeared live on BBC Television's Cilla, taking part in sketches, singing and even tap dancing.

Abbey Road. The other three Beatles worked on 'The Inner Light' and completed 'Lady Madonna' (taking a break to watch Ringo's appearance on Cilla). 'Lady Madonna' featured the saxophone talents of Ronnie Scott, Harry Klein, Bill Povey and Bill Jackman. Paul played all the piano, and the comb and paper routine was actually just him singing through cupped hands.

February 8

Abbey Road. 'The Inner Light' was completed and most of the session was spent working on 'Across The Universe'. John remained unsatisfied with the results. Spike Milligan, who watched the session as George Martin's guest, asked if he could use 'Across The Universe' on a wildlife charity record he was organising and The Beatles agreed.

February 9

The New Musical Express carried the first of a series of ads, carrying the one-word message "Apple", and intended to raise public awareness of The Beatles' latest business venture.

February 10

Paul and Jane saw Paul's brother Michael in a Scaffold concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

February 11

Abbey Road. The Beatles intended to shoot footage of the recording of 'Lady Madonna', their next single, as a promotional film, but chose instead to record a new song, 'Hey Bulldog'. The filming was directed by Tony Bramwell, head of Apple Films.

Yoko Ono attended a Beatles session for the first time as John's guest, and embarrassed her host by demanding to know why all The Beatles' songs used exactly the same rhythm, and why they didn't attempt something more adventurous.

February 14

Mal Evans collected luggage belonging to George and Patti, her sister Jenny, John and Cynthia, and took Qantas flight 754 to Delhi. The excess baggage charge was £195.19.6d. He went a day early in order to organise transport for John and George when they arrived on the 16th to begin their much delayed study of transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

February 15

George, Patti, John and Cynthia flew from London Airport to India.

February 16

George, Patti, John and Cynthia arrived in Delhi at 8.15am, on the overnight flight. Mal met them at the airport with Mia Farrow, who had already decided that she was part of The Beatles' entourage. Mal had organised three cars for the 150-mile drive from Delhi to Rishikesh.

February 18

On the eve of his departure for India, Paul was interviewed by the London Evening Standard newspaper.

February 19

Paul, Jane, Ringo and Maureen flew from London Airport to India.

February 20


Paul, Jane, Ringo and Maureen arrived in Delhi, attracting much more press attention as the media were now alerted to what was going on. A film crew was on hand as they stepped from the plane after the exhausting 20-hour flight, jet-lagged from the five time zones. Mal Evans and Raghvendra, from the ashram, placed garlands of red and yellow flowers around their necks as a traditional token of greeting. Ringo's arm was giving him pain from the required injections so they set off to find a hospital. Their driver lost his way and finished up in a dead end, followed by a whole convoy of press cars, one of which came to the rescue and led them to the hospital.

The Academy of Transcendental Meditation was built 150 feet above the Ganges surrounded on three sides by jungle-covered mountains. The students lived in six stone cottages. Each room had twin beds and modem bathroom facilities though the water supply sometimes broke down.

Breakfast from 7 until 11am consisted of porridge, puffed wheat or cornflakes; fruit juice, tea or coffee, toast, marmalade or jam. Breakfast was followed by meditation practice, with no rules or timetable. Lunch and dinner both consisted of soup followed by a vegetarian main dish, tomato and lettuce salads, turnips, carrots with rice and potatoes on the side. John and George were already vegetarians so the diet was nothing strange, but Ringo found the spices too hot for his taste. Mal assembled a stock of eggs so that he could cook Ringo fried, boiled, poached or scrambled eggs.

The Beatles were three weeks behind the other students so the Maharishi gave them extra tuition and lectures in the afternoons. These took place in the open air, sometimes on his flat sun roof. If it was a cool day, they would go to his bungalow and sit on cushions. Mal had his own chair because he was unable to cross his legs comfortably.

The Beatles were on a TM teachers' course: there were 90-minute lectures at 3.30 and 8.30pm with questions and answers, and progressively longer meditation sessions. Other students included Paul Horn, Mike Love and Donovan.

February 23

The Daily Express newspaper in London published colour photographs of each of The Beatles, taken by Richard Avedon, and offered readers the chance to buy enlargements of the set, plus a special Beatles poster.

February 24

The London Evening Standard ran an interview with Paul in which he said, "Instead of trying to amass money for the sake of it, we're setting up a business concern at Apple -rather like a Western Communism ... we've got all the money we need. I've got the house and the cars and all the things that money can buy."

February 29

Yoko Ono appeared at the Royal Albert Hall with avant-garde jazz trumpet player Ornette Coleman. Both the performance and the afternoon rehearsal were recorded.

Within a few days, Yoko had separated from her husband, fellow performance artist Tony Cox. Having been given an address for John in India, she began to write regularly to him. Slowly the tone of her correspondence turned from artistically intriguing to flirtatious. Among the 'instructional' pieces she sent him was one enticingly titled "John Lennon As A Young Cloud".

March 1

Ringo and Maureen left Rishikesh much earlier than anticipated. They were unhappy away from their children and did not like the food. Ringo told the press it was like a Butlin's holiday camp.

March 3

Ringo and Maureen arrived back in London, and immediately parcelled up several rolls of 16mm cine film to be sent out to the other Beatles.

March 8

The single 'Step Inside Love' by Cilla Black, written for her by Paul McCartney, was released in the UK as Parlophone R 5674.

The single 'And The Sun Will Shine' by Paul Jones, featuring Paul on drums, was released in the UK as Columbia DB 8379.

March 9

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band won four Grammy awards at the annual ceremony in Los Angeles: Best Album of the Year, Best Contemporary Album, Best Engineered Record and Best Album Cover.

March 13

Ringo gave an interview to the New Musical Express, to explain why he had returned from India before the rest of The Beatles, and to talk about their long-delayed third feature film.

Ringo: "We plan to start in June. Scripts are being considered right now. I don't know which one we'll choose, but I'd like it if we all played more than one role. The ideas we considered for a film western, and for us to play the split personality of one person, were fine in theory. But they just didn't work out as a 90-minute script.

"So far, no one seems to have thought very much about using us more as individuals than as a group. For instance, if we could all take several roles, one minute I could pop up as a chauffeur and the next as King Kong. I hope people wouldn't recognise me."

March 14

Tony Bramwell's promotional film for 'Lady Madonna' (which actually showed them recording 'Hey Bulldog') was shown on BBC TV's Top Of The Pops.

March 15

The single 'Lady Madonna'/'Inner Light' was released in the UK as Parlophone R 5675.

The promotional film for 'Lady Madonna' was shown on BBC Television's All Systems Freeman presented by Alan Freeman.


From its piano intro (lifted almost directly from Humphrey Lyttleton's mid-Fifties British jazz classic, 'Bad Penny Blues') to its rock'n'roll horn section, 'Lady Madonna' was the first Beatles single of 1968. It made a perfect introduction to a year when Fifties rock'n'roll made a reappearance in the charts and the concert halls. The song itself was a more oblique piece of social comment than 'She's Leaving Home' the previous year, but its vague air of concern fora single mother fitted in with the contemporary trend for kitchen-sink drama in the theatre and on TV.

A bunch of Britain's top jazzmen were dragooned at short notice to play on the track, while Lennon, McCartney and Harrison faked one brass solo by blowing air through their cupped hands like children.


After several commentators had accused George Harrison of'stealing' the lyrics to this, his final Indian-flavoured Beatles song, from the teachings of the Tao Te Ching, George put the matter straight in his autobiography. In that book, he printed a letter from Juan Mascaro, who translated the Tao, and actually sent George a copy of his translation of section XLVII, inviting him to set it to music.

Harrison duly did just that, composing perhaps the most beautiful melody of any of his Sixties songs - which deserved a better fate than to languish on the flip of'Lady Madonna'. The basic track for 'The Inner Light' was recorded at the same sessions as George's soundtrack music for the film Wonderwall, many thousands of miles away from Abbey Road - at EMI's studio in Bombay, India, to be exact. Various Indian musicians provided the instrumental backing. Several other raga-styled pieces were taped at the same session, but they remain unreleased.

March 18

The single 'Lady Madonna'/'The Inner Light' was released in the USA as Capitol 2138.

March 26

Paul, Jane and Neil Aspinall flew back to England from Rishikesh, leaving George and Patti, John and Cynthia and "Magic" Alex who had come out to join them.

March 27

Paul, Jane and Neil Aspinall touched down at London Airport.

March 31

The Beach Boys announced that they would soon be staging a joint concert tour with the Maharishi, under the banner 'World Peace 1', and hinted that one or more of The Beatles would also be taking part.


Paul spent much time at his farm in Scotland.

April 2

A new Beatles music publishing company, Python Music Limited, was formed.

April 8

Paul directed a promotional film for 'Elevator', the next single by Grapefruit, the group contracted to Apple Music. The filming took place at and around the Albert Memorial in London's Kensington Gardens.

Derek Taylor began work as Apple and Beatles press officer, having been persuaded by The Beatles to return to Britain from Los Angeles.

April 12

John and Cynthia, George and Patti and "Magic" Alex left in a hurry from Rishikesh, India, after "Magic" Alex convinced John and George that the Maharishi was using his position to gain sexual favours from at least one of the female meditators. The Maharishi had never claimed to be celibate, and since he was not given a chance to explain or deny the charge, the reasons for their departure remain unclear. Alex Mardas certainly did not want to relinquish his claim to be John's "guru" and it would appear that he engineered the whole thing. At Delhi Airport, John wrote 'Sexy Sadie', at that time called 'Maharishi'.

John: "There was this big hullaballoo about him trying to rape Mia Farrow or somebody and trying to get off with a few other women and things like that. We went to see him after we stayed up all night discussing was it true or not true. When George started thinking it might be true, I thought well, it must be true; because if George started thinking it might be true there must be something in it.

"So we went to see Maharishi, the whole gang of us, the next day, charged down to his hut, his bungalow, and as usual, when the dirty work came, I was the spokesman -whenever the dirty work came, I actually had to be leader - and I said, 'We're leaving.'

" 'Why?' he asked, and all that shit and I said, 'Well, if you're so cosmic, you'll know why.' He was always intimating, and there were all these right-hand men always intimating, that he did miracles. And I said, 'You know why,' and he said, 'I don't know why, you must tell me,' and I just kept saying, 'You ought to know' and he gave me a look like, 'I'll kill you, you bastard,' and he gave me such a look. I knew then. I had called his bluff and I was a bit rough to him."

While John and Cynthia returned to London, George and Patti flew to Madras to visit Ravi Shankar.

During the flight back to London, John informed his wife of the extent of his unfaithfulness during the Beatlemania years.

April 16

Apple Publicity Limited was formed.

Apple 17

George and Ravi Shankar were filmed playing sitars, in a clip intended for the documentary movie Raga.

April 18

John and Ringo went to the launch party of Bell Records at the Revolution Club, London.

April 19

Apple Music published an advertisement in the New Musical Express soliciting tapes from unknown artists. Apple was promptly inundated and only a tiny percentage of them were actually played.

Apple's advert: "This man has talent. One day he sang his songs to a tape recorder (borrowed from the man next door). In his neatest handwriting he wrote an explanatory note (giving his name and address) and, remembering to enclose a picture of himself, sent the tape, letter and photograph to Apple Music, 94 Baker Street, London W1. If you were thinking of doing the same thing yourself - do it now! This man now owns a Bentley!"

April 21

George and Patti returned to London from India.

April 25

George spoke to newspaper reporters in London about his experiences in India.

April 28

John and Ringo attended a performance of the musical Charlie Girl in London, starring their NEMS stablemate Gerry Marsden.

May 5

Twiggy saw Mary Hopkin on the television talent show Opportunity Knocks and telephoned Paul to suggest she would be a good person for Apple to sign.

May 6

The single 'Step Inside Love' by Cilia Black and written by Lennon and McCartney was released in the US as Bell 726.

May 9

John and Ringo held a meeting at Apple with Derek Taylor and Alex Mardas, plus John's former schoolfriend Ivan "Ivy" Vaughan, to discuss the possibility of an Apple children's school, which would be run by Vaughan, now a qualified teacher. Vaughan was hired at £50 a week ("the average wage for a Headmaster", according to the minutes of the meeting) to investigate accommodation, staffing, and the cost of books and equipment.

During the meeting, John insisted that "there should be no discrimination regarding background", and that "all the arts including music, dancing, theatre, films etc. should be in the school timetable. The art of propaganda in the advertising field must also be taught."

May 11

John and Paul, accompanied by "Magic" Alex, Neil Aspinall, Mal Evans, Ron Kass and Derek Taylor, flew to New York to launch Apple in the US. They stayed with their lawyer, Nat Weiss, at his apartment at 181 East 73rd Street but conducted most of their interviews from hotels.

May 12

John and Paul had an Apple "business meeting" with the newly appointed US head of the company, record executive Ron Kass, while cruising round the Statue of Liberty in a Chinese junk.

May 13

John and Paul conducted interviews with The New York Times and other newspapers all day from a suite at the St. Regis Hotel.

May 14

John and Paul gave a press conference at the Americana Hotel on Central Park West.

John: "The aim of the company isn't a stack of gold teeth in the bank. We've done that bit. It's more of a trick to see if we can't get artistic freedom within a business structure;

to see if we can create things and sell them without charging three times our cost."

At the Americana press conference Paul met up once again with Linda Eastman, who wrote her telephone number on an unused cheque and gave it to him.

The Beatles taped an interview with Mitchell Krause for WNDT, the non-commercial Channel 13's programme Newsfront,

That evening they appeared on NBC's The Tonight Show where they were interviewed by Joe Garagiola as Johnny Carson was away. As well as discussing their plans for Apple, John used the opportunity to denounce the Maharishi.

John: "We made a mistake. He's human like the rest of us."

May 15

Accompanied by Linda, Nat Weiss drove John, Paul and "Magic" Alex to the airport for their flight back to London.

George, Patti, Ringo and Maureen flew to Cannes, in the south of France to attend the premiere of Wonderwall at the Cannes Film Festival.

Channel 13 in New York screened their interview with John and Paul.

May 16

John, Paul and "Magic" Alex arrived in London on TWA's early flight. Apple Management Limited was incorporated.

May 17

The album McGough & McGear by Roger McGough and Mike McGear, produced by Paul McCartney, was released in the UK as Parlophone PCS 7047. The album was launched with a small lunch party, and the copies given to those attending had a typed (multiple carbons) press release enclosed written by Derek Taylor in very stoned mode, which has become very collectable. It read:


Thank you for coming to lunch.

It is very nice of you and we are your friends.

Now then, what do you want to know about it all?\

"Oh well of course" you may say "How do we know what we want to know; surely you would be the best judge ofthat. After all is said and done, what is there to know?"

It is so much a case of guessing, for there's no knowing what anyone would want to know.


Let us guess.

Eyes down.

"Our father, all the eights, 88 ......"

We are already confusing the issue.

This approach is what the psychiatrists call "maze making" or "problem posing" or "crisis creating" brought about in order to find a solution, or an exit line.

Now ....... some names ........

Jane and Mrs. Asher ... William I Bennet (WIB) ... Spencer Davies (is) ... Barry

Fantoni... Mike Hart... Jimi Hendrix ... Vera Kantrovitch ... Gary Leeds ... Dave

Mason and Carol... MIKE McGEAR... ROGER McGOUGH ... John Mayall...

Paul McCartney ... John Mitchell... Zoot... Graham Nash ... Viv Prince (yes) ... Andy Roberts ... Prince "Stash" de Rola ... Paul Samwell-Smith ... Martin Wilkinson...

What have they in common? What have they not? They are all beautiful. The two in capital letters are here today. They made the album. You have in your hand or adjacent. They are in he Scaffold. (The capital letters were mine not theirs. McGear and McGough have no egos.)

The other people are friends. Friends. Friends who all contributed to the album in one way or many or all or a little.

At any rate they all went into the recording session and sang or played or beat some tangible hing or simply waved their arms to create in the air some benign (we mean, of course, benign) urbulence

McGear and McGough are from Liverpool poetic and funny, concerned and open . . ..

Well listen, we are all here together now aren't we? In circumstances such as these,

who needs a press release?

Have we not tongues to speak.

You are kind.

Thank you.


The world premiere of Wonderwall was given at the Cannes Film Festival, France with George, Patti, Ringo and Maureen in attendance.

May 19

With Cynthia taking a short holiday, John called Yoko Ono and invited her out to Kenwood. They made a random sound tape, which was later issued as Two Virgins with the notorious sleeve showing them both naked. When Cynthia returned, she found Yoko ensconced in the bedroom, wearing Cynthia's dressing gown.


John: "I'd never known love like this before, and it hit nie so hard that I had to halt my marriage to Cyn. And don't think that was a reckless decision, because I felt very deeply about it and all the implications that would be involved. When we are free - and we hope that will be within a year - we shall marry. There is no need to marry - as Mick and Marianne say - but there's nothing lost in marrying either.

"Some say my decision was selfish. Well, I don't think it is. Are your children going to thank you when they're 18? There is something else to consider, too - isn't it better to avoid rearing children in a strained relationship?

"My marriage to Cyn was not unhappy. But it was just a normal marital state where nothing happened and which we continued to sustain. You sustain it until you meet somebody who suddenly sets you alight.

"With Yoko I really knew love for the first time. Our attraction was a mental one, but it happened physically too. Both are essential in the union - but I never thought I would many again. Now the thought of it seems so easy.

"When we got back from India we were talking to each other on the phone. I called her over, it was the middle of the night and Cyn was away, and I thought well now's the time if I'm gonna get to know her anymore. She came to the house and I didn't know what to do; so we went upstairs to my studio and I played her all the tapes that I'd made, all this far out stuff, some comedy stuff, and some electronic music. She was suitably impressed and then she said well let's make one ourselves so we made 'Two Virgins'. It was midnight when we started 'Two Virgins', and it was dawn when we finished, and then we made love at dawn. It was very beautiful."

George, Patti, Ringo and Maureen returned to London from Cannes. George and Patti drove immediately to Warrington, to attend the christening of George's nephew Ian.

May 21

Paul and Jane had lunch with Andy Williams and his French wife Claudine Longet. That evening they attended his final Royal Albert Hall show and the end of the show party afterwards.

May 22

George and John, accompanied by Yoko, attended the press launch and press conference for Apple's second boutique, Apple Tailoring (Civil and Theatrical) housed at 161 New King's Road, London and run by designer John Crittle.

George: "We bought a few things from him, and the next thing I knew, we owned the place!"

May 23

Apple Tailoring opened its doors to the public.

Paul and Ringo were interviewed at Abbey Road for Tony Palmer's BBC Television Omnibus documentary on pop music called All My Loving.

May 26

Paul directed a promotional film for Grapefruit's new single, 'Elevator', at the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, London.

Cynthia returned home from a brief holiday in Greece, to discover Yoko Ono in residence with John.

Cynthia: "Facing me was John sitting relaxed in his dressing gown. With her back to me, and equally as relaxed and at home, was Yoko. The only response I received was "Oh, hi", from both parties. They looked so right together, so naturally self-composed under the unusual circumstances. I felt totally superfluous. I was a stranger in my own home. All I could think of saying was, 'We were all thinking of going out to dinner tonight. We had lunch in Rome and we thought it would be lovely to have dinner in London. Are you coming?' It sounded so stupid in the light of the changed circumstances. The only reply I received was "No thanks". And that was it. I wanted to disappear, and that is just what I did."

Towards the end of May, The Beatles gathered at George's American-style bungalow "Kinfauns" in Esher, to record a demo tape of songs from which they would choose what to put on their next album. Most of the songs had been written during their visit to India. They first recorded John's songs: 'Cry Baby Cry', 'Child Of Nature', 'The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill', 'I'm So Tired', 'Yer Blues', 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey', 'What's The New Mary Jane' and 'Revolution'. Then came George's new compositions: 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', 'Circles', 'Sour Milk Sea', 'Not Guilty' and 'Piggies'. They returned to John's notebook for 'Julia', then came Paul's songs: 'Blackbird', 'Rocky Racoon', 'Back In The USSR', 'Honey Pie', 'Mother Nature's Son', 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' and 'Junk'. They finished with two more of John's: 'Dear Prudence' and 'Sexy Sadie'.

George: "There's about 35 songs we've got already, and a few of them are mine. God knows which one will be the next single. I suppose we've got a vague overall conception of the kind of album we want to do, but it takes time to work out. We could do a double album, I suppose - or maybe a triple album. There's enough stuff there."

May 30

Abbey Road. Work began on what was to become the double album The Beatles, usually known as The White Album. The first song worked on was John's 'Revolution 1'.

May 31

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Work continued on 'Revolution 1' and the last six minutes was removed to form the basis of the chaotic 'Revolution 9'. Yoko screamed on the track, her first appearance on a Beatles recording.

Paul and Jane were in the audience as Scaffold recorded a live LP at their concert at the Lewisham Odeon in South London. Also on the bill were The Hollies and Paul Jones.

June 4

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Further work on 'Revolution 1'.

Paul began seeing Francie Schwartz.

June 5

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Recording began on Ringo's 'Don't Pass Me By', his first composition used on a Beatles record.

June 6

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Further work on 'Don't Pass Me By'.

Kenny Everett visited the studio to record an interview for his BBC Radio 1 programme The Kenny Everett Show.

John and Victor Spinetti were filmed for the BBC2 arts programme Release discussing The John Lennon Play: In His Own Write, directed by Victor Spinetti, which was due to open in London on the 18th.

Around this time, Cynthia returned from a brief holiday abroad, to be informed by Magic Alex that John intended to divorce her, and that he wanted her and their son Julian to move out of Kenwood.

June 7

George, Patti, Ringo, Maureen and Mal Evans flew to California to enable George to film a guest appearance in Ravi Shankar's film Raga.

June 8

Paul was the best man at his brother Michael's wedding to hair stylist Angela Fishwick, held at St. Bridget's Parish Church in Carrog, Merioneth, North Wales - the same church where Paul and Mike's father Jim married his second wife in 1966. The other Beatles sent congratulatory telegrams. The reception was held at Jim McCartney's home in Gayton, Cheshire, and featured a family sing-song, led by Paul at the piano. George and Ringo visited folksinger Joan Baez at her home in Carmel, California.

June 9

BBC Radio One broadcast The Beatles' interview on The Kenny Everett Show.

George and Ringo played golf in Monterey.

June 10

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. John worked on 'Revolution 9', adding more sound effects.

June 11

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. John did further work on 'Revolution 9', while Paul, in a separate studio, recorded and mixed 'Blackbird', without the aid of the other Beatles.

Tony Bramwell from Apple Films shot a colour promotional film of Paul with Mary Hopkin, to help in the launch other record.

In California, George and Ravi Shankar were filmed walking along the coast-cliffs in Big Sur, and taking part in a "teach-in".

June 13

George and Ringo jammed with David Crosby, Peter Tork and Peter Asher at Tork's Los Angeles home.

June 15

John and Yoko held their first public event by planting acorns for peace at Coventry Cathedral. Their intended site had to be altered because Canon Verney refused to allow an unmarried couple to bury anything in consecrated ground. The original acorns were soon stolen by Lennon fans, and the replacements sent by John and Yoko had to be placed under 24-hour guard.

George and Ringo flew from Los Angeles to New York, where Ringo and Maureen met Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, and attended a Jimi Hendrix show at the Scene on 46th Street.

June 16

Intertel TV Studios, Wembley. David Frost interviewed Paul before a live audience for an all-British Frost programme taped for transmission in America. The programme was called David Frost Presents . . . Frankie Howerd, and on it, Howerd interviewed Paul about Apple, then Paul introduced Mary Hopkin and she sang two songs.

June 18

George, Patti, Ringo and Maureen flew back to London from New York. The National Theatre production of The John Lennon Play: In His Own Write, directed by Victor Spinetti, opened at the Old Vic Theatre, London. John and Yoko's arrival together at the theatre was seized upon by the press, several of whom called out to John, "Where's your wife, Mr Lennon?"

Paul celebrated his 26th birthday at the Apple offices, inviting several fans inside to join him for lunch. That evening, while the other Beatles were at the Old Vic, Paul attended another theatrical performance, the opening of a new play starring Jane Asher.

June 19

John had lunch with Victor Spinetti and Derek Taylor to reflect on the aftermath of the In His Own Write premiere.

June 20

Paul, Tony Bramwell and Ivan Vaughan flew to Los Angeles where Paul was due to address the Capitol Records Sales Conference (Capitol were the American distributors of Apple records). He contacted Linda Eastman who flew out from New York the next day to join him.

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. John and Yoko utilised three studios to continue the assembly of loop tapes for 'Revolution 9'. One was made from a Royal Academy of Music examination tape in which an anonymous man, asking question number nine, had his voice turned into an endless loop which John and Yoko faded in and out at will.

June 21

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. 'Revolution 1' was finished with the addition of the horn section and guitar solo.

In Los Angeles, Paul addressed a Capitol Records Sales Conference and announced that in future all Beatles records would appear on the Apple label, although the group technically was still on EMI/Capitol.

June 22

John and Victor Spinetti appeared on the BBC2 arts programme Release, discussing the In His Own Write play.

Paul attended a Capitol Records staff barbecue in Los Angeles, and then watched a concert by Albert King at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Hollywood.

Apple paid Half a million pounds for a new headquarters building at 3 Savile Row, the former home of Nelson's Lady Hamilton.

June 24

Abbey Road. George began work as a producer, recording 'Sour Milk Sea' with new Apple signing, Jackie Lomax, an old friend from Liverpool.

The White Album sessions. John and Yoko worked on the stereo mixes of 'Revolution 9'.

Paul gave impromptu renditions of some of the songs that The Beatles were about to record, for a party of fans gathered outside his Los Angeles hotel. Later, he flew back to London, via New York.

June 25

Abbey Road. George continued work with Jackie Lomax on 'Sour Milk Sea'.

The White Album sessions: John and Yoko cut one minute from 'Revolution 9', though it was to remain the public's least favourite "Beatles" track.

Paul, Tony Bramwell and Ivan Vaughan returned to London from Los Angeles.

June 26

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions: work on John's 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey'.

June 27

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Further work on John's 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey'.

June 28

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Recording began on 'Good Night', John's lullaby for five-year-old Julian. John sang it through in the studio several times so that Ringo would get the phrasing but declined to record it himself, thinking it was too "soft" for his hard image. Unfortunately no recording of John's acoustic version was made.

June 29

NEMS executive Vic Lewis flew to Moscow, to discuss the possibility of The Beatles playing a series of live concerts in the USSR.

June 30

Paul recorded The Black Dyke Mills Band in Saltaire, near Bradford, playing one of his own compositions, 'Thingumybob' (which he wrote as the theme tune for a London Weekend Television comedy series of the same name) and 'Yellow Submarine' as a B-side.

While in Saltaire he was interviewed by Tony Cliff for the local BBC Television programme Look North.

On the way home Paul, with Derek Taylor and Peter Asher, stopped in Harrold, a small Bedfordshire village, where Paul entertained the locals at the piano in the village pub - premiering, among other songs, his new composition 'Hey Jude'.

July 1

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. John added the lead vocal to 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey'.

Before the session, John and Yoko arrived dressed in white at the opening of John's first full art exhibition, You Are Here, at the Robert Fraser Gallery, London, which consisted mostly of charity collecting boxes. The exhibition was subtitled: "To Yoko from John Lennon". John marked the opening by releasing 365 helium-filled balloons over London. John: "I declare these balloons high." Each balloon was launched with a postcard attached, and a message asking the finder to return them to Apple. John was discouraged to learn that a high percentage of finders chose to decorate their cards with racist comments about Yoko.

BBCl's Yorkshire local news programme Look North broadcast the interview with Paul.

July 2

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Ringo recorded more vocals for 'Good Night'.

Paul had lunch with Sir Joseph Lockwood, chairman of EMI, and Lord Poole at Lazards, the City merchant bank, to discuss Apple.

July 3

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Work on Paul's 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da'.

July 4

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. More work on 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da'.


Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Horns added to 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da'.

July 8

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Paul did not like the results so far on 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' and started afresh - to the disgruntlement of John and George, who had already made their lack of enthusiasm for the song clear.

Rehearsals began for 'Revolution', intended by John as an A-side for the next single (but ultimately used as the B-side).

The actor David Peel approached Paul about Apple paying for a children's beach show at Brighton. David Peel: "He agreed to help straight away, as well as suggesting our title." The Punch and Judy puppet shows were called Apple Peel.

Paul, George and Ringo attended a press screening of Yellow Submarine at the Bowater House Cinema in Knightsbridge. This was the first time any of The Beatles had seen the animated movie.

July 10

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. More work on John's 'Revolution'. Both Yoko Ono and Paul's American friend Francie Schwartz attended the session.

July 11

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Piano and bass added to 'Revolution' and horns added to 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da'.

John and Yoko attended the London wedding of "Magic" Alex Mardas.

July 12

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions: 'Don't Pass Me By' was virtually completed and from midnight on, a new bass and guitar part was added to 'Revolution'.

July 13

During a break in The Beatles' sessions at Abbey Road, John introduced Yoko to his Aunt Mimi at her home in Poole.

July 15

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Paul added a new vocal to 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' and John remixed 'Revolution'. After this they rehearsed 'Cry Baby Cry'.

July 16

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. More work done on 'Cry Baby Cry'.

Balance engineer Geoff Emerick finally quit working with the group. He could no longer tolerate the swearing and ill-mannered attitude shown towards the engineers (particularly from John), and the tense atmosphere in the studio.

July 17

The world premiere of the animated Yellow Submarine film was held at the London Pavilion in Piccadilly Circus. Fans as usual brought traffic to a standstill and blocked the Greets. Ringo and Maureen, John and Yoko and George and Patti were present but Paul attended alone.

Afterwards they attended the celebration party at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, where the discotheque had been renamed Yellow Submarine for the occasion (and was to remain so for several years after). At the party, Paul spent some time talking to Clem Curtis, lead singer of The Foundations, and promised to write the group a song.

July 18

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. More work on 'Cry Baby Cry' and rehearsals for Paul's 'Heiter Skelter', including the taping of a legendary 27-minute rendition of the latter song.

July 19

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Work began on John's send-up of the Maharishi, 'Sexy Sadie'.

The BBC's TV arts programme How It Is focused on John's In His Own Write play and the forthcoming Yellow Submarine cartoon film, broadcasting extracts from them both.

July 20

Jane Asher, appearing on Simon Dee's BBC Television show Dee Time, said that her engagement to Paul was off-but that it was not she that had broken it. She told Dee that they had been engaged for seven months, after knowing each other for five years. (She had arrived back at Cavendish Avenue one day to find Paul in bed with a girl named Francie Schwartz.)

July 22

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. 'Don't Pass Me By' was completed, then a new version of 'Good Night' was recorded with the orchestra and Mike Sammes Singers. Ringo did his vocal track just after midnight.

July 23

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey' was completed.

July 24

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. More work on John's 'Sexy Sadie'.

July 25

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Work began on George's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'.

July 28

The Beatles spent almost the entire day in and around London on various promotional photographic assignments, as part of what came to be known as their 'Mad Day Out'. Photos were taken in Hyde Park, in London's Docklands, and in the garden of Paul's St. John's Wood home.

July 29

Abbey Road. Work began on Paul's 'Hey Jude', destined to become the next single.

July 30

Abbey Road. More work done preparing 'Hey Jude' for final recording which was to take place in an independent studio.

The Beatles were filmed at work by James Archibald for a documentary film intended for cinematic exhibition called Music.

The Beatles decided to close down the Apple Boutique from tomorrow, giving away all the stock, having taken their choice of items off the shelves.

Paul: "We decided to close down the shop last Saturday - not because it wasn't making any money, but because we thought the retail business wasn't our particular scene. We want to be free to devote more time to recording and films. So we went along, chose all the stuff we wanted - I got a smashing overcoat - and then told our friends. Now everything that is left is for the public."

July 31

Trident Studios, Soho. The backing track for 'Hey Jude' was laid down.

Queues formed all night around the block for a chance to grab free clothing from the Apple Boutique. The shop was completely stripped, with people taking away shop fittings and even the carpet. Apple gave the other boutique at 161 King's Road to the store manager.

Paul's official press release: "We decided to close down our Baker Street shop yesterday and instead of putting up a sign saying, 'Business will be resumed as soon as possible', and then auction off the goods, we decided to give them away. The shops were doing fine and making a nice profit on turnover. So far, the biggest loss is in giving the things away, but we did that deliberately. We're giving them away - rather than selling them to barrow boys - because we wanted to give rather than sell.

"We came into shops by the tradesman's entrance but we're leaving by the front door. Originally, the shops were intended to be something else, but they just became like all the boutiques in London. They just weren't our thingy. The staff will get three weeks' pay but if they wish they'll be absorbed into the rest of Apple. Everyone will be cared for. The Kings Road shop, which is known as Apple Tailoring, isn't going to be part of Apple anymore but it isn't closing down and we are leaving our investment there because we have a moral and personal obligation to our partner John Crittle, who is now in sole control. All that's happened is that we've closed our shop in which we feel we shouldn't, in the first place, have been involved.

"Our main business is entertainment - communication. Apple is mainly concerned with fun, not with frocks. We want to devote all our energies to records, films and our electronics adventures. We had to re-focus. We had to zoom in on what we really enjoy, and we enjoy being alive, and we enjoy being Beatles."


John and Yoko collaborated on their first film projects, Film No. 5 (Smile) (a slow-motion record of John doing just that) and Two Virgins (in which the couple's faces merged into one).

Yoko: "They were done in a spirit of home movies. In both films, we were mainly concerned about the vibrations the films send out - the kind that was between us. Imagine a painting that smiles just once in a billion years. John's ghostly smile in Film No. 5 might just communicate in a hundred years' time, or maybe, the way things are rolling, it may communicate much earlier than that. I think all the doors are just ready to open now."

August 1

Trident Studios, Soho. The orchestra, bass and lead vocals were added to 'Hey Jude' using Trident's eight-track facility (EMI still used 4-track). There were fierce arguments between John and Paul about who was to get the A-side of the new single, their first on the Apple label, but Paul eventually won and 'Hey Jude' became the first Apple release (and the biggest selling Beatles single of all time).

August 2

Trident Studios. 'Hey Jude' was completed with overdubs and mixed.

The London Weekend Television series Thingumybob, starring Stanley Holloway and with Paul's title tune, began transmission.

August 3

Paul and Francie Schwartz spent an evening at the Revolution Club. She later wrote a kiss-and-tell biography about her brief relationship with him called Body Count.

August 4

Yellow Submarine went on general release across the UK.

August 6

Trident Studios. 'Hey Jude' was mixed from stereo to mono.

John, Patti Harrison and fashion editor Suzy Menkes attended a fashion show at Revolution. John was interviewed by Matthew Robinson for that evening's edition of the BBC Radio programme Late Night Extra.

August 7

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Work continued on George's 'Not Guilty'. The session didn't end until 5.30am, after which Paul went with Francie Schwartz to the now empty Apple Boutique and traced the name of The Beatles' new single on the whitewashed windows: 'Hey Jude' and 'Revolution'. When local Jewish traders misunderstood the title 'Hey Jude' and complained, Paul said he was sorry if he offended them, it was nothing to do with Jews and told the Evening Standard: "We thought we'd paint the windows for a gas. What would you do if your shop had just closed?"

August 8

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. George's 'Not Guilty' reached take 101. It was not included on the final album.

August 9

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. More work on 'Not Guilty'.

After the session, Paul alone recorded 'Mother Nature's Son' which the other Beatles did not play on.

August 10

Paul gave a controversial interview to Alan Smith of the New Musical Express. He admitted: "The truth about me is that I'm pleasantly insincere."

Paul: "Starvation in India doesn't worry me one bit, not one iota. It doesn't, man. And it doesn't worry you, if you're honest. You just pose. You've only seen the Oxfam ads. You can't pretend to me that an Oxfam ad can reach down into the depths of your soul and actually make you feel for those people - more, for instance, than you feel about getting a new car."

August 11

Apple Records was officially launched with "National Apple Week". The press received a special pack, labelled "Our First Four", containing copies of'Hey Jude' by The Beatles, 'Sour Milk Sea' by Jackie Lomax, 'Thingumybob' by The Black Dyke Mills Band and Mary Hopkin's 'Those Were The Days'. 'Hey Jude' became the biggest selling Beatles single ever, selling six million copies in four months (ultimately eight million worldwide). In addition, Mary Hopkin's 'Those Were The Days' sold four million copies worldwide in four months, getting Apple Records off to a good start.

August 12

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions: George's vocal on 'Not Guilty' was taped in the control booth, with the microphone plugged straight into the board.

John and Yoko attended an Ossie Clark fashion show in Chelsea.

August 13

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. 'Sexy Sadie' was remade and John's 'Yer Blues' begun. The group crowded into a small tape room off the main studio to try and re-create the cramped Cavern feeling for Yer Blues' and were very pleased with the acoustics there. Worries about leakage proved unfounded.

August 14

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. 'Yer Blues' was virtually finished, then, after Paul and Ringo left, John and George recorded 'What's The New Mary Jane', one of John's "experimental", Yoko-influenced numbers. John: "That was me, George and Yoko, out of our heads on the floor at EMI."

August 15

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Paul's 'Rocky Raccoon' recorded.

August 16

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. New version of George's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'.

August 17

George and Patti flew to Greece for a short break with Mal Evans.

August 20

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions continued in George's absence. 'Yer Blues' finished off.

Paul added the brass overdubs to 'Mother Nature's Son'. After this he recorded the short 'Wild Honey Pie' and 'Etcetera' (for use as a demo by Marianne Faithfull - she declined to record it). The tension in the studio between the members of the group was reported as being very bad at this point.

August 21

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. John added a new lead vocal to 'Sexy Sadie'.

George and Patti returned to London from Greece.

August 22

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. They recorded 'Back In The USSR' - without Ringo, and with Paul playing drums.


The bad feelings between the group reached crisis point and Ringo announced he was quitting. He left to consider his future. The actual incident that caused him to storm out was a fluffed tom-tom fill. Ringo flew to the Mediterranean to spend a fortnight on Peter Sellers' yacht. It was there, after refusing to eat the squid served to him, that Ringo wrote 'Octopus's Garden'.

Cynthia filed for divorce, citing John's adultery with Yoko as the reason. John did not contest the order.

August 23

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. 'Back In The USSR' was finished.

In what had now become an annual event, New York Beatles fans gathered at Shea Stadium to commemorate the anniversary of the group's last live appearance in the city.

August 24

John and Yoko appeared live, talking about art, happenings and peace, on David Frost's London Weekend Television programme Frost On Saturday, broadcast from Wembley.

Ronan O'Rahilly, the former head of Radio Caroline (before the government closed the pirate ships down), joined Apple as a "business adviser". Derek Taylor's press release said, "John admires him very much for what he did with Radio Caroline."

August 26

The single 'Hey Jude'/'Revolution' was released in the US as Apple (Capitol) 2276.

The single 'Thingumybob'/Yellow Submarine' by John Foster & Sons Ltd., Black Dyke Mills Band, written and produced by Paul McCartney, was released in the US as Apple 1800.

The single 'Those Were The Days'/'Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)' by Mary Hopkin, and produced by Paul McCartney, was released in the US as Apple 1801.

The single 'Sour Milk Sea' by Jackie Lomax and written and produced by George Harrison was released in the US as Apple 1802.


A couple of verses, a middle section or two, a fade-out: you can't explain the impact of'Hey Jude' by analysing the song. McCartney wrote the lyrics as a message of encouragement to young Julian Lennon, while his parents were in the throes of a very public separation. At times, the words veered into meaninglessness - "the movement you need is on your shoulder" indeed - and the tune was nothing complex. Neither was the production, which started simple and built towards an orchestral finale.

So why was 'Hey Jude' so important? Partly because of its length, though it was still shorter than another major 1968 hit, 'MacArthur Park' by Richard Harris. Mostly, though, 'Hey Jude' sounded like a community anthem, from the open-armed welcome of its lyrics to its instant singalong chorus. The fact that it didn't come with a controversial political message made its universal application complete.

At Trident Studios, The Beatles and a 36-piece orchestra recorded this remarkable record in two days-plus two beforehand for rehearsals. George Harrison's idea to answer McCartney's vocal lines with his electric guitar was vetoed, but John Lennon made his own distinctive contribution to the record with a four-letter word, hidden deep in the mix around the three-minute mark.


'Revolution 1' (see 'THE BEATLES') was meant to be a single, hut wasn't immediate enough. So John Lennon persuaded The Beatles to try again, setting his noncommittal response to the worldwide uprisings of May 1968 to a fierce electric rhythm. With fuzzy, distorted guitars and a screaming vocal, 'Revolution' cut to the bone; it remains by far the toughest rock song The Beatles ever issued on a single. But Lennon's ambitions for the track weren't quite fulfilled, because the emergence of McCartney's 'Hey Jude'a month later made it quite clear what the lead track of The Beatles' first single on the Apple label would be. Still, John did have the compensation of knowing his song was on theflipside of the best-selling Beatles 45 of all time.

August 27

While visiting his family, Paul went to a Liverpool v. Everton football match.

August 28

Trident Studios, Soho. The White Album sessions. The Beatles, minus Ringo, began work on John's 'Dear Prudence'.

August 29

Trident Studios, Soho. The White Album sessions. Overdubs were added to 'Dear Prudence'.

August 30

Trident Studios, Soho: The White Album sessions. The completed 'Dear Prudence' was mixed.

Presentation copies of the 'Our First Four' press pack were delivered to politicians and members of the royal family.

The single 'Hey Jude'/'Revolution' was released in the UK as Apple (Parlophone) R 5722.

The single 'Those Were The Days'/'Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)' by Mary Hopkin and produced by Paul McCartney was released in the UK as Apple 2.

The single 'Sour Milk Sea' by Jackie Lomax and written and produced by George Harrison was released in the UK as Apple 3.

Neil Aspinall married Susan Ornstein at Chelsea Register Office. The Beatles gave them a house as a wedding present, but Paul was the only member of the group to attend the ceremony.

August 31

Private Eye announced that John and Yoko's forthcoming album would have a full-frontal nude cover.

September 3

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions.


Having decided to remain in the group, Ringo returned to the studio to find his drum kit smothered in flowers. In fact he did not record that day; the time was spent "liberating" EMI's new eight-track machine which was still being "evaluated" by EMI technical experts. Ringo: "I felt tired and discouraged . . . took a week's holiday, and when I came back to work everything was all right again." However, he added, "Paul is the greatest bass guitar player in the world. But he is also very determined; he goes on and on to see if he can get his own way. While that may be a virtue, it did mean that musical disagreements inevitably arose from time to time."

September 4

Twickenham Film Studios. Promotional films, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, were made for both 'Hey Jude' and 'Revolution'. While at the film studios, David Frost taped an introduction to the clips to use on his Frost On Sunday programme, giving the viewers the illusion that The Beatles were playing live on his show and fooling the Musicians' Union into believing that no miming was involved. On the promotional films, an orchestra was present and The Beatles had their instruments, but it was only the lead vocals that were actually live - and even they were taped on top of the existing vocals on the track, to guard against mistakes.

September 5

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. More work done on George's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. John played the original lead guitar part on this song.

September 6

Thames Television filmed Paul and Mary Hopkin at the Apple Building, 3 Savile Row, for their new children's series, Magpie.

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Eric Clapton added his famous solo to George's 'While My Guitar Gentle Weeps', wiping out John's less proficient effort of the previous day, with Ringo on percussion and Paul playing fuzz bass and doing vocal harmonies as George recorded his lead vocal.

The single 'Thingumybob'/'Yellow Submarine' by John Foster & Sons Ltd., The Black Dyke Mills Band, written by Lennon & McCartney and produced by Paul McCartney was released in the UK as Apple 4.

September 8

The film clip of 'Hey Jude' was given its premiere performance on London Weekend Television's Frost On Sunday.

September 9

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. A new version of Paul's 'Helter Skelter' was recorded.

September 10

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Overdubs added to 'Helter Skelter'.

Thames Television's children's programme Magpie, showing Paul and Mary Hopkin with the show's presenter Pete Brady, was broadcast.

September 11

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Work began on John's 'Glass Onion'.

EMI announced that 'Hey Jude' has already sold more than two million copies around the world.

September 12

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. More work on 'Glass Onion'.

September 13

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Drums and piano for 'Glass Onion'.

September 15

Around this date, John and Yoko photographed themselves in the nude, from the front and rear, intending to use the shots as cover artwork for their first collaborative album.

September 16

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Recording began on Paul's 'I Will' and overdubs were added to 'Glass Onion'.

September -17

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Paul's 'I Will' was completed.

September 18

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Paul arrived at the session early and had already blocked out 'Birthday' before the others arrived. By mid-evening most of it was finished. All of The Beatles, plus Yoko, Patti Harrison, acting producer Chris Thomas and others, walked round the corner to Paul's house to see The Girl Can't Help It, Jayne Mansfield's first film, featuring Little Richard, Fats Domino, The Platters, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran which was screened on BBC2 at 9.05pm. Afterwards they returned to the studio and by 5am they had finished and mixed the song.

George was interviewed by Alan Smith for BBC Radio 1's Scene And Heard.

John was interviewed by Jonathan Cott for Rolling Stone magazine.

September 19

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. George's 'Piggies' was recorded, with producer Chris Thomas on harpsicord.

The promotional film for 'Revolution' is screened for the first time in the UK on BBC TV's Top Of'The Pops.

September 20

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. 'Piggies' was completed.

September 22

Apple announced that The Beatles' next album would be a 24-song, two-record set.

September 23

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Work began on John's 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun', which he had written with uncredited assistance from Apple press officer Derek Taylor.

September 24

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. More work was done on the rhythm track for 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun'.

September 25

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Recording of 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' was completed.

September 26

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' was mixed and John spent most of the session making a sound effects tape for 'Glass Onion' which went unused.

Apple booked the Royal Albert Hall for several days in December, in preparation for a possible live performance by The Beatles, alongside other Apple artists like Mary Hopkin and Jackie Lomax.

September 28

George's interview for Scene And Heard was broadcast by BBC Radio 1.

George: "It would be great if The Beatles and Elvis Presley could get together for an album."

September 30

Hunter Davies's authorised biography of The Beatles, The Beatles, was published in the UK by William Heinemann Limited.

Throughout September Paul's father, James, was ill in hospital. Paul visited Liverpool frequently to see him.

October 1

Trident Studios, Soho. The White Album sessions. Paul's 'Honey Pie' was virtually completed.

October 2

Trident Studios, Soho. The White Album sessions. Paul added the lead vocal and guitar to 'Honey Pie'.

George joined a Cream recording session to add backing vocals and rhythm guitar to 'Badge', a song he had written with guitarist Eric Clapton.

October 3

Trident Studios, Soho. The White Album sessions. George's 'Savoy Truffle' was begun. It was inspired by the contents of a box of Mackintosh's Good News chocolates - Eric Clapton's favourite.

October 4

Trident Studios, Soho. The White Album sessions: Paul and a 14-piece orchestra recorded 'Martha My Dear' and added the finishing touches to 'Honey Pie'.

October 5

Trident Studios, Soho. The White Album sessions. George added the lead vocal, and Paul the bass and drums to 'Savoy Truffle'.

October 7

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. A long session, from 2.30pm until 7 the next morning, was spent on the rhythm track for George's 'Long Long Long'. John was not there.

October 8

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Another long session, 4pm until 8am the following morning, during which John's 'I'm So Tired' and 'The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill' were both recorded and finished, and more work was done on George's 'Long Long Long'. Yoko Ono made a cameo vocal appearance on 'The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill'.

October 9

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Final work was done on 'The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill' and 'Long Long Long'. While this was going on, Paul quickly recorded 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road' in the next door studio. Once again, John was absent.

The David Frost Show on US TV broadcast a clip of Paul introducing Mary Hopkin to the American audience.

October 10

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. 'Piggies' and 'Glass Onion' were completed, and Paul again slipped away, this time with Ringo, and the two of them completed 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road'.

George Harrison formed a new music publishing company, Singsong Limited.

Paul told reporters that The Beatles were planning to stage a live show in the near future, which would be filmed for subsequent TV transmission.

October 11

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Six saxophones were added to 'Savoy Truffle'. The single 'I'm The Urban Spaceman' by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, produced by Paul McCartney as Apollo C. Vermouth,was released in the UK as Liberty LBF 15144.

October 12

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. The whole evening was spent mixing various tracks.

Jane Asher told the London Evening Standard: "I know it sounds corny but we're still very close friends. We really are. We see each other and we love each other, but it hasn't worked out. That's all there is to it. Perhaps we'll be childhood sweethearts and meet and get married when we're about seventy."

October 13

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. John recorded and mixed his ballad, 'Julia', without the aid of the other Beatles.

October 14

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Overdubs were added to 'Savoy Truffle' and the rest of the session was spent mixing the tracks for the now complete double album.

No longer needed for the final mixing and sequencing of the album, Ringo went for a holiday in Sardinia with Maureen.

October 15

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Mono and stereo mixing sessions.

October 16

Abbey Road. The White Album sessions. Paul, John and George Martin held a 24 hour session, beginning at 5pm and ending at 5pm the following day, choosing the songs and working out the sequencing of the four sides of the double album. They were up against a tight deadline, and every studio and listening room at Abbey Road was used for this marathon task: studios one, two and three as well as listening rooms 41 and 42. In the end 30 songs were presented to the public as The Beatles (and, as usual, the two sides of their new single was not included).

George was not involved in the final selection and sequencing because he flew to Los Angeles that day to continue working with Jackie Lomax on his forthcoming Apple album.

October 18


The Drugs Squad raided John and Yoko who were living at 34 Montagu Square, London, on loan to them from Ringo. John had earlier received a tip-off from a member of the press that the police were planning to raid his home, and had 'springcleaned' the flat to make sure that it was clear of drugs.

They found 219 grains of cannabis resin and took the couple to Paddington Green police station where they also charged them with obstructing the police in the execution of a search warrant.

John: "So all of a sudden like, there was this knock on the door and a woman's voice outside and I look around and there is a policeman standing in the window wanting to be let in. We'd been in bed and our lower regions were uncovered like. Yoko ran into the bathroom to get dressed with her head poking out so they wouldn't think she was hiding anything. And then I said, 'Ring the lawyer, quick', but she went and rang Apple, I'll never know why. So then they got us for obstruction which was ridiculous because we only wanted to get our clothes on."

October 19

John and Yoko appeared at Marylebone Magistrates' Court. They were remanded on bail and their case was adjourned until November 28.

October 20

Paul and Linda travelled to New York for a brief holiday.

George produced a session for Apple artist Jackie Lomax in Los Angeles.

October 24

London advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, who had been invited by Apple to handle the promotion of The Beatles, recommended a campaign of TV advertising featuring Paul talking about the record; adverts in all the national newspapers every day during the week leading up to the launch; and hiring London buses which could be painted white and then decorated with portraits of The Beatles. None of these suggestions was accepted.

October 25

The single 'Quelli Erand Giorni'/'Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)' by Mary Hopkin and produced by Paul McCartney was released in Italy as Apple 2.

John and Yoko announced that Yoko was pregnant and they were expecting a baby in February 1969.

October 28

Cynthia Lennon's divorce petition was officially listed.

Ringo and Maureen returned to London from their Sardinian holiday.

October 30

John and Ringo attended Tiny Tim and The Bonzo Dog Band in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Paul and Linda returned to London from New York, having taken an overnight stop in Jamaica.

October 31

Linda Eastman moved to London to live with Paul, bringing her daughter Heather with her and enrolling her in a local private school.

Tony Palmer's BBC Television documentary on pop music, called All My Loving, was screened.


George spent nearly seven weeks in Los Angeles recording six more tracks with Jackie Lomax for the album Is This What You Want? at Sound Recorders Studio, using the best of the Los Angeles session men including Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on keyboards and Joe Osborn on bass.

November 1

The album Wonderwall Music (Original Soundtrack Album) by George Harrison & Band/Indian Orchestra, written and produced by George Harrison, was released in the UK by Apple as SAPCOR 1. Side One: 'Microbes', 'Red Lady', 'Medley', 'Tabia and Pakavaj', 'In The Park', 'Medley', 'Greasy Legs', 'Ski-ing and Gat Kirwani', 'Dream Scene'; Side Two: 'Party Seacombe', 'Medley', 'Love Scene', 'Crying', 'Cowboy Museum', 'Fantasy Sequins', 'Glass Box', 'On The Bed', 'Wonderwall To Be Here', 'Singing Ohm'.

November 3

George recorded his synthesiser 'composition', 'No Time Or Space', with the assistance of Moog maestro Bernie Krause in California.

November 4

Yoko Ono was admitted to Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London, after doctors feared that the stress of her recent arrest, and the press backlash which has been affecting the Lennons, might endanger her unborn child. John remained by her bedside, and over the next fortnight the couple made a series of verite recordings in the hospital.

November 5

Paul and Linda drove to Scotland for a long rest on his farm.

November 6

The Apple press office announced that The Beatles had booked the Roundhouse theatre in Chalk Farm, London, from December 14th to 23rd, to play one or more live concerts.

November 7

John penned a cartoon strip entitled 'A Short Essay On Macrobiotics' for the health magazine Harmony.

November 8

Cynthia was-granted a decree nisi in the London Divorce Court because of John's admitted adultery with Yoko. She retained custody of their son, Julian.

It was reported that George's five-year songwriting contract with Northern Songs Limited had expired in March and not been renewed.

John and Yoko financed newspaper advertisements for the Peace Ship, a radio station run by Ronan O'Rahilly and intended to end the conflict in the Middle East.

November 11

The album Unfinished Music No. 1 - Two Virgins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and written and produced by John and Yoko was released in the US as Apple T 5001. Side One: 'Two Virgins No.1', 'Together', 'Two Virgins (numbers 2 to 6)'. Side Two: 'Two Virgins', 'Hushabye Hushabye', 'Two Virgins (numbers 7 to 10)'.

The photograph of the two of them in the nude on the sleeve caused offence in some quarters, and EMI refused to distribute it. Track Records did the job instead. In the US, Capitol also refused to have anything to do with it, for fear that the Bible Belt would react with their customary prurience. A small label called Tetragrammaton, mostly known for spoken word records, took up the challenge but even they felt obliged to put the record into a brown paper sleeve, with a cut-away allowing John and Yoko's faces to peer through.

John: "Originally, I was going to record Yoko, and I thought the best picture of her for an album would be naked. So after that, when we got together, it just seemed natural for us both to be naked. Of course, I've never seen my prick out on an album before."

November 15

While in Los Angeles, George made a short, unannounced appearance on the CBS TV show The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour before a live audience in Hollywood.

November 13

The Yellow Submarine movie was belatedly premiered in the US. Despite staying only a few hundred yards from the Hollywood cinema which hosted the event, George declined to attend. "I've already seen it twice", he explained.

November 17

George's appearance on The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour was broadcast on the CBS network in the US.

November 19

Ringo, Maureen and their children moved from "Sunny Heights" in Weybridge to a new home, "Brookfields" near Elstead.

November 20

Paul was interviewed at his home in Cavendish Avenue, St John's Wood, by Tony MacArthur for a two-hour Radio Luxembourg special, The Beatles.

November 21

Yoko suffered a miscarriage other baby at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London, caused almost certainly by the stress of being arrested. John stayed at her side, sleeping overnight in a spare hospital bed. When the bed was needed for a patient, John slept on the floor.

The unborn child was named John Ono Lennon II, and was buried by the couple in a secret location.

November 22

The album The Beatles (known as The White Album) was released in the UK as Apple (Parlophone) PMC 7067-7068 (mono) and PCS 70677068 (stereo). Side One: 'Back In The USSR', 'Dear Prudence', 'Glass Onion', 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da', 'Wild Honey Pie', 'The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill', 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun'; Side Two: 'Martha My Dear', 'I'm So Tired', 'Blackbird', 'Piggies', 'Rocky Raccoon', 'Don't Pass Me By, 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road', 'I Will', 'Julia'; Side Three: 'Birthday', 'Yer Blues', 'Mother Nature's Son', 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey', 'Sexy Sadie', 'Helter Skelter', 'Long Long Long'; Side Four: 'Revolution 1', 'Honey Pie', 'Savoy Truffle', 'Cry Baby Cry', 'Revolution 9', 'Good Night'.

Robert Fraser proposed that, since Peter Blake had art directed Sgt. Pepper, Richard Hamilton, another leading figure in British Pop Art, should do the next. He was asked to meet The Beatles at the Apple office in Savile Row, and after being kept waiting for an hour or more he was ushered in. By then Hamilton was having second thoughts about getting involved with the pop music business and asked Paul, "Why don't you do it yourself? You don't need me. I'm the wrong sort of artist for you." He said that as Sgt. Pepper was so over the top, he would be inclined to do a very prissy thing, almost like a limited edition, and went on to propose a plain white album. He also suggested that they number each copy, a joke numbered edition of something like five million copies. Paul thought this was an amusing idea and agreed. Richard Hamilton: "Then I began to feel a bit guilty at putting their double album under plain wrappers; I suggested it could be jazzed up with a large edition print, an insert that would be even more glamorous than a normal sleeve.

"That's why the album ended up the way it did. Most people, among them Yoko, think it was Yoko's idea. I've no doubt that she would have been very supportive - from what I knew of her work and Fluxus background, the approach would have been right up her street. It was at the time when Yoko was really moving into the Beatle business and putting her oar in strongly. But my contact with the project was only through Paul -even EMI was held off."

Paul: "Richard and I worked together on the collage for The Beatles' White Album. Richard and I sat down all week while he did the collage from childhood photos of us all. The thing that impressed me at the end of the week was that after he'd filled the whole board with pictures and got his composition right, his final move was to take pieces of white paper and place them strategically to give space through the whole thing so that it wasn't just crammed with pictures. It was beautiful and I remember being very impressed with the way he put this negative space on - it was the first time that I'd ever seen that idea."


On one hand, The Beatles - The White Album, as all but pedants call it - was the most diverse record that The Beatles, or probably any pop band in history, has ever made. On the other, as Paul McCartney remembered, "That was the tension album. We were all in the midst of that psychedelic thing, or just coming out of it. In any case, it was weird. Never before had we recorded with beds in the studio and people visiting for hours on end: business meetings and all that. There was a lot of friction during that album. We were just about to break up, and that was tense in itself."

Lester Bangs described it perfectly: "The first album by The Beatles or in the history of rock by four solo ardsts in one band". In doing that, he was simply following John Lennon's lead: "If you took each track, it was just me and a backing group, Paul and a backing group - I enjoyed it, but we broke up then."

Although Ringo quit the group for more than a week, he is unlikely to have been at the centre of the dissension in the ranks: the main arguments were between George and Paul (Harrison reckoning that McCartney was treating him as a junior member of the band) and John and the rest of the band (over, on one side, Lennon's insistence on Yoko Ono joining the group in the studio and, on the other, her treatment at the hands of Paul and George).

There were plenty of other pressures at work. The lack of central management in the group's career since the death of Brian Epstein in August 1967 had presented them with additional financial and business decisions to worry about, ignore and occasionally even make. McCartney's keen interest in maintaining a steady ship rubbed up against Lennon and Harrison's more laissez-faire attitude to events.

The creation of Apple, their multi-genre business empire that was intended as a fantasy come true but rapidly disintegrated into chaos, took its toll on the group's unity and enthusiasm. So too did the aftermath of the Mahanshi episode, with even the most meditation-friendly of The Beatles suffering extreme disillusionment after their idyll with the Indian guru mutated into farce. Most of all, though, the group were individually and collectively aware that without leadership or a definite direction, they had no unifying purpose. From the start of 1968 onwards, they seemed to work to a 'two steps forward, three steps back, one step into another dimension' policy - with results that were often inspired, and just as often muddle-headed.

It's some kind of proof of their genius, then, that The White Album was so brilliant, and so vast. Producer George Martin always wanted the group to throw away the chaff and trim the 30-track, 90-minute epic into a tight 40-minute LP of polished gems. But half the attraction of The White Album is its sprawling chaos. Such a giant canvas allowed The Beatles, more often one at a time than not, to show off every aspect of their music. For the first and probably last time in pop history, a group demonstrated on one release that they could handle rock'n'roll, reggae, soul, blues, folk, country, pop and even the avant-garde with consummate ease - and still come out sounding like The Beatles. As a handy history of popular music since 1920, or simply a rich mine of battered gems, The Beatles is impossible to beat.

For the last time, both mono and stereo mixes of this double album were prepared, and The Beatles took great delight in making them as different from each other as possible. Almost every song on The White Album has variations between the two mixes: in one extreme case, the mono version is 20 seconds shorter than the stereo.


For many of the White Album sessions, The Beatles were able to work on separate, individual projects at the same time, and keep their four-man performances - and the resulting tension they caused - to a minimum. But on August 22, 1968, when all of The Beatles assembled to record Paul McCartney's 'Back In The USSR', tempers frayed, and it was Ringo Starr - pegged by the world as the least opinionated of the group - who walked out, announcing he'd quit the band.

In his place, McCartney played drums, with a little assistance from Lennon and Harrison; and the entire song was cut without Ringo. The result was a magnificent Beach Boys pastiche, which that group's lead singer, Mike Love, later claimed to have helped write. Hunter Davies's official Beatles biography, published in 1968, offered another story.


Prudence Farrow, sister of the actress Mia, was the subject of this generous, warm-hearted Lennon song. It was inspired by her behaviour at the Maharishi's Indian retreat, when Lennon was deputed to entice her out of her self-enforced hiding in her quarters. Lennon widened the song to take in a pantheistic vision of the world's beauty, one of the few positive statements to emerge from his stay in India. (Another, a song called 'Child Of Nature', wasn't considered for this album; instead, it was rewritten three years later as 'Jealous Guy' for John's Imagine LP, its original spirit of universal harmony replaced by fear and guilt.) This was another of the recordings done during Ringo Starr's departure from the group: strange that The Beatles should open their album with two tracks that were both recorded by a three-man line-up.


Like 'I Am The Walrus', 'Glass Onion' was written by John Lennon as a deliberate riposte to critics and fans who thought they were discovering the Holy Grail in some of his more recherche lyrical imagery. "I wrote 'The Walrus was Paul'in that song," John explained many years later. "At that time I was still in my love cloud with Yoko, so I thought I'd just say something nice to Paul -you did a good job over these few years, holding us together. I thought, I've got Yoko, and you can have the credit."

Besides the deliberately obtuse lyrics 'Glass Onion' boasted a searing Lennon vocal, and a mournful string coda that cut against the mood of the song.


Day after day, Paul McCartney dragged The Beatles through take after take, and arrangement after arrangement, of a throwaway, mock-reggae tune about a singer and a man who "has a barrow in the marketplace". Was it worth it? Well, the song has humour on its side, especially with the other Beatles throwing in the off-the-cuff comments that were fast becoming a trademark on their 1968 recordings. And 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' did become a No. 1 hit for Marmalade. But rarely in The Beatles' career did they spend so much time on something so ephemeral.


During the White Album sessions, Paul McCartney felt comfortable enough for the first time to capture some of his one-minute moments of madness on tape. He recorded this strange, whimsical ditty as a one-man band, overdubbing several vocal parts and guitars, and emerging with 53 seconds ofmusic that would never have been considered for release on any Beatles album but this one.


Anything went for this one-day session - a Spanish guitar intro borrowed from a sound effects tape, a vocal cameo from Yoko Ono, harmonies from Ringo's wife, Maureen Starkey, and mellotron from producer Chris Thomas. Lennon's lyrics told the semi-humorous story of a fellow Meditation convert, addicted to big game hunting, and everyone in the vicinity of the studio contributed to the singalong chorus.


George Harrison won such acclaim for this song that he was tempted to write a much less successful follow-up, 'This Guitar (Can't Keep From Crying)'. Ironically, the most famous guitar solo on any Beatles record was played by an outsider - Cream guitarist Eric Clapton, a close friend of Harrison's, who was invited to the session both for his musical skills and in an attempt to cool the frequently heated passions in the studio.

As it was originally written, and demoed via a solo performance at Abbey Road, Harrison's song had an additional verse, which didn't survive beyond this initial (and quite magical) acoustic performance.


The song's original title - 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun In Your Hand' - left its social message perfectly clear. But besides reflecting John Lennon's moral outrage at the American firearms lobby, it also had a second function, as John explained: "It's sort of a history ofrock and roll." And a third inspiration for the track was confirmed later, when he revealed that much of the most direct imagery in the song conveyed his sexual passion for Yoko Ono. Beatles and Apple Corps press officer Derek Taylor contributed some of the song's most mysterious lines.

Musically, the track was a tour de force, albeit without the theatrics and orchestrations of the Pepper album. It moved swiftly from a dream state to an air of menace, then a frenetic middle section, and finally a repeated four-chord chorus which somehow combined erotic fervour with an affectionate pastiche of Fifties rock'n'roll.


What began as a McCartney solo piece, a deliciously romantic piano piece in his utterly distinctive style, ended up with the accompaniment augmented by a troupe of brass and string musicians. Thankfully, they didn't bury the whimsical charm of the song, whose heroine took her name from McCartney's near-legendary sheepdog.


Like 'Yer Blues', 'I'm So Tired' wins the Lennon prize for irony, this paean of self-doubt and boredom having been composed in the supposedly spiritual surroundings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Indian retreat. The ennui and desolation of Lennon's vocal filled in the tiny fragments of obliqueness in one of his most direct songs, and made for an eerie counterpoint to the optimistic, joyous McCartney numbers which surrounded it.


Nature song? Love ballad? Message of support for the black power movement? McCartney's gently beautiful 'Blackbird' supported several interpretations, but required nothing more than appreciation for its flowing melody and its stark visual imagery. The recording was a solo performance, aided only by bird sounds borrowed from the EMI tape library. Paul never wrote a simpler or more effective song.


With the aid of his mother, who wrote the "damn good whacking" line, George intended 'Piggies' as humorous social satire - though its title soon meant that the counterculture adopted it as an anti-police anthem. Continuing the animal theme of 'Blackbird', pig noises were added to the basic track (Lennon's sole contribution to the song), which was also augmented by a hefty orchestral arrangement, and a harpsichord played by the man who produced several White Album sessions, Chris Thomas.


Anyone scouring The Beatles' catalogue for early signs of the playfulness in which Paul McCartney indulged - some would say overindulged - during his solo career could find plenty of evidence on the White Album. With the assistance of George Martin on saloon-bar piano, the group (minus Harrison) completed this attractive but lightweight mock-Western ditty in just one session.


After five years of trying, Ringo Starr finally got his first solo composition on a Beatles album. It turned out to be a country hoedown with playful lyrics and a generally lugubrious air, with some off-the-cuff fiddle playing by Jack Fallon, who'd met The Beatles six years earlier when he promoted one of their concerts in Stroud. For some reason - maybe because they felt it was one of the least important songs on the album - Lennon and McCartney chose to experiment with the mixing of this track, emerging with mono and stereo versions that run at recognisably different speeds, and have variations in the instrumental overdubs.


John Lennon called this near-solo McCartney performance "one of his best", which was either sarcasm or showed that he always valued his partner's off-the-cuff moments more than his controlled ones. Ringo added his drums to a basic piano, guitar and vocal track that Paul had recorded without the assistance or knowledge of the other group members. Raucous and good-humoured, it was a rare moment of levity from the man increasingly left to direct the group's activities.

The song's (very) slightly risque lyric, all two lines of it, heightened the vague air of controversy surrounding the album. McCartney was already in trouble with the press for allowing a minuscule nude picture of himself to be included on the set's free poster.


It took 67 takes for Lennon, McCartney and Starr to come up with a basic track for this gentle love song which met its composer's expectations. McCartney then added his tuneful vocal, sang his bass part rather than playing it, and still found time during the session to ad-lib a dreamy song called something like 'Can You Take Me Back', which duly found its way onto the finished album as an uncredited snippet between 'Cry Baby Cry' and 'Revolution 9'.


It was Donovan who taught John Lennon the finger-picking style that he used on this song, as well as 1969 recordings like 'Sun King' and Yoko Ono's 'Remember Love'. For the first and last time in The Beatles' career, this was an entirely solo performance by John -dedicated both to his late mother (Julia Lennon) and to Yoko. Translated into English, her name apparently means 'ocean child', a phrase which was incorporated into Lennon's lyric.


Either side of repairing to McCartney's house to watch the classic rock'n'roll movie, The Girl Can't Help It, on TV, The Beatles recorded this riff-based rocker - one of the last genuine Lennon/McCartney collaborations. Two Beatle partners, Patti Harrison and Yoko Ono, sang the answer vocals in the chorus, while the band rocked out as if they hadn't a care in the world. It was a rare show of old-style unity during a difficult few months of recording.


Written from the supposed haven of the Maharishi's camp in Rishikesh, Yer Blues' was an anguished confession of loneliness and pain, wrapped in a deliberately self-mocking title. "There was a self-consciousness about suddenly singing blues," Lennon explained in 1970. "I was self-conscious about doing it. "

With its references to Bob Dylan and rock'n'roll, 'Yer Blues' was obviously intended to be a definitive statement of Lennon's boredom with his role - definitive, that is, until the "I don't believe in Beatles" cry in 'God' on his Plastic Ono Band album. The song meant enough to him to be reprised both at The Rolling Stones Rock'N'Roll Circus TV show in December, and at the Toronto festival the following year.


Like 'Blackbird', 'Mother Nature's Son' was a gentle, pastoral acoustic song which captured McCartney's writing at its most inspired. Augmented by a subtle horn arrangement, it epitomised the devastating switch of moods and tempos that made this album - and indeed The Beatles' work in general - so remarkable.


Playing with lyrical opposites, then lapsing into nonsense for the chorus, John Lennon concocted a rock'n'roll song that suggested more than it meant. Such a tongue-in-cheek number deserved an appropriate arrangement, and The Beatles set out to enjoy the process of recording it - speeding up the tape of the backing track to heighten the frantic feel, and then hurling a motley collection of screams, cries and even some singing into the fade-out.


"That was about the Maharishi," explained John in 1970, when quizzed about the identity of the mysterious Ms Sadie. "I copped out and wouldn't write 'Maharishi, what have you done, you made a fool of everyone'."

In the studio, Lennon briefly demonstrated the song's obscene original lyrics, which made no attempt to shield the Maharishi by the use of poetry. On the record, though, the insult was softened by the sheer beauty of the music, which hinged around McCartney's brilliant piano playing, and some acerbic singing from John. Eight bars of instrumental work were removed from the fade-out during the final mix, incidentally.


"That came about because I read in Melody Maker that The Who had made some track or other that was the loudest, most raucous rock'n'roll, the dirtiest thing they've ever done," Paul McCartney explained. "I didn't know what track they were talking about but it made me think, 'Right. Got to do it.' And I totally got off on that one little sentence in the paper."

On July 18, then, The Beatles gathered at Abbey Road to match that description, and emerged with a 27-minute jam around a menacing guitar riff. Unreleased until 1995, and then only as a four and a half minute edit, this live-in-the-studio recording was the heaviest track The Beatles ever made. Played live by all four Beatles, on two guitars, bass and drums, it was a slow, lumbering McCartney song, moody and sombre.

Seven weeks later, they tried again, this time aware that they needed to make their statement in five minutes, not 27. Having cut the basic track, they added a chaotic barrage of horns, distortion and guitar feedback, and then prepared two entirely different mixes of the song - the stereo one running almost a minute longer than the mono, which omitted Ringo's pained shout, "I've got blisters on my fingers."

A year later, Charles Manson's followers wrote the words 'Heiter Skelter' in blood as they killed actress Sharon Tate and her friends in her Hollywood home. Bizarrely, John Lennon (rather than McCartney, the song's composer) was called as a witness in the trial, but refused to attend. "What's 'Helter Skelter' got to do with knifing somebody?" he complained. "I've never listened to the words properly, it was just a noise.


Without John Lennon, who as usual was mysteriously absent when a Harrison song appeared on the agenda, The Beatles managed 67 takes of this delicately lyrical number. Then they capped a low-key, almost inaudible performance with a few moments of chaos -capturing the sound of a wine bottle vibrating on top of a speaker cabinet, and matching it with a flurry of guitars, groans and drums.


For the first and last time, The Beatles succeeded on May 30, 1968 in recording the basic backing for two different tracks at exactly the same time. How? It was quite simple. At the first session for their new album, they recorded a ten-minute rendition of John's latest song -best interpreted as an overt political statement, backing the stance of the main Communist Parties in the debates over the student riots in Paris, rather than the calls from ultra-left parties for immediate revolution. (Later, Lennon would take entirely the opposite political Position.)

The first four minutes became 'Revolution 1', originally planned as a single but eventually deemed too low-key, and subsequently re-recorded in an entirely electric arrangement; the last six minutes, a cacophony of feedback and vocal improvisation, was transported to become the basis of 'Revolution 9'.


Not a revival of a flappers'favourite from the Twenties but a McCartney original, 'Honey Pie' must have owed something to the music of his father Jim McCartney's jazz band. Scratches from an old 78rpm record were added to one of the opening lines of the song, to boost its period flavour. George Martin scored the brass and woodwind arrangement, and that arch experimentalist, John Lennon, was quite happy to add electric guitar to a song that was the total opposite of all his contributions to the album.


George Harrison wrote this playful song, inspired by a close friend: "Eric Clapton had a lot of cavities in his teeth and needed dental work. He ate a lot of chocolates - he couldn't resist them. I got stuck with the two bridges for a while, and Derek Taylor wrote some of the words in the middle." Taylor therefore collected his second anonymous credit on the White Album, but no royalties. Harrison, meanwhile, borrowed most of the lyrics from the inside of a chocolate box, while John Lennon commented on proceedings by not turning up for any of the sessions where the song was recorded.


Consult Hunter Davies's book to find John Lennon's rather apologetic description of how he wrote this song - which in one of his final interviews he denied ever having been involved with, the two days of sessions obviously struck from his mental record.

Using characters that sounded as if they'd been borrowed from a Lewis Carroll story, Lennon spent some time (but not too much) working up a song which he seems to have regarded from the start as a blatant piece of filler.


On the raucous collage of sounds that was the second half of the original 'Revolution 1' (see above), John Lennon and Yoko Ono built an aural nightmare, intended to capture the atmosphere of a violent revolution in progress. By far the most time-consuming White Album track to complete, and then the most controversial when the record was released, 'Revolution 9' was John and Yoko's most successful venture into the world of sound-as-art.

The track began bizarrely enough, with a snippet of an unreleased Paul McCartney song (see 'I Will'), then an EMI test tape repeating the words "Number nine" over and over again. After that, there was chaos - a cavalcade of tape loops, feedback, impromptu screams and carefully rehearsed vocal overdubs, sound effects recordings and the noise of a society disintegrating. Reportedly, Paul McCartney agreed to the inclusion of the track only with severe misgivings, which George Martin expressed more forcibly.


The composer of this lush and sentimental ballad was not the lush and sentimental Paul McCartney, but the acerbic and cynical John Lennon, whose contributions to The White Album therefore ranged from the ultra-weird to the ultra-romantic within two consecutive tracks. Fast becoming the children's favourite of The Beatles, Ringo Starr sang this lullaby, to a purely orchestral accompaniment. None of the other three Beatles appears on the track.

November 23

In the wake of the controversy aroused by John and Yoko's nude album sleeve, the press were quick to seize upon a tiny nude photograph of Paul, which formed part of the collage on the poster accompanying The Beatles. Apple press officer Derek Taylor retorted: "All this work, all these tracks, all this talent - and all their dirty little minds focus on is one tiny picture."

November 24

Paul confirmed that Yoko's recent miscarriage might force the postponement of The Beatles' return to live performances.

The group Grapefruit left Apple. Their manager, Terry Doran, told The People: "I like The Beatles as friends, but not bosses ... there's too much driftwood at Apple."

November 25

The album The Beatles (White Album) was released in the US as Apple (Capitol) SWBO 101 (stereo only) with the same tracks as the UK release.

November 27

Invited to contribute an original piece of writing to Aspen magazine, John filled out a nonsensical version of 'My Diary', repeating the same banal information for each day's entry.

November 28

John pleaded guilty to the charge of unauthorised possession of cannabis resin at Marylebone Magistrates' Court. In an effort to gain sympathy for the couple, John's solicitor told the court that after the raid, Yoko had lost her baby and that this had been a terrible blow to them. John was fined £150 and ordered to pay costs of 20 guineas. He and Yoko were found not guilty on the charge of obstructing the police in execution of a search warrant. In court it was reported that while being questioned after the raid, in an effort to protect Yoko, whom he feared might be deported because she was not a British citizen, John asked, "Can I just ask a question? As this stuff is all mine, will it be me only who is involved?" This drug conviction was to haunt John for years and was used by the Nixon administration in repeated attempts to deny him a Green Card for residence in the US.

November 29

The album Unfinished Music No. 1 - Two Virgins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and written and produced by John and Yoko was released in the UK as Apple SAPCOR 2 with the same tracks as the US release.

November 30

New Musical Express reported that 'Hey Jude' was approaching sales of six million worldwide.


During December and January, John and Yoko made the film Rape for Australian television. A camera team hounded a young woman until she was near to tears. John: "We are showing how all of us are exposed and under pressure in our contemporary world ... what is happening to this girl on the screen is happening in Biafra, Vietnam, everywhere."

December also saw a continued media backlash against John and Yoko, inspired by the controversial Two Virgins album sleeve. Most US record stores refused to stock the record, even when its offending artwork was concealed beneath a brown paper bag. In the UK, EMI declined to distribute the LP, which was handled instead by the independent label Track Records.

John's new songs reflected his darkening mood: they included 'A Case Of The Blues', 'Everybody Had A Hard Year', and 'Oh My Love', the initial draft of which was a love song to the child that the couple had lost.

During this period, John and Yoko sank into the morass of heroin addiction, a burden which left its mark on his demeanour and enthusiasm for The Beatles over the next two months.

December 2

The album Wonderwall Music (Original Soundtrack Album) by George Harrison & Band/Indian Orchestra, written and produced by George Harrison, was released in the US as Apple ST 3350 with the same tracks as the UK release.

December 4

George circulated a memo to the staff of Apple warning them that he had invited a group of Californian Hell's Angels over to stay at 3 Savile Row:

"Hell's Angels will be in London within the next week, on the way to straighten out Czechoslovakia. There will be 12 in number complete with black leather jackets and motor cycles. They will undoubtedly arrive at Apple and I have heard they may try to make full use of Apple's facilities. They may look as though they are going to do you in but are very straight and do good things, so don't fear them or uptight them. Try to assist them without neglecting your Apple business and without letting them take control of Savile Row."

December 6

The readers of the New Musical Express gave The Beatles their customary victories in the "Best British Group" and "Best World Group" categories of the annual poll. 'Hey Jude' was voted "Best Single Of 1968".

The album James Taylor by James Taylor and featuring Paul McCartney on bass guitar (first track side two: 'Carolina On My Mind') was released in the UK as Apple SAPCOR 3.

December 7

The American correspondent for Disc and Music Echo reported that Paul had been going out with New York photographer Linda Eastman.

December 10

"Kenwood", John and Cynthia's house in the St George's Hill Estate in Weybridge, was put up for sale.

John and Yoko attended rehearsals at Wembley Studios for the next day's filming of The Rolling Stones' extravaganza: Rock And Roll Circus. John sang 'Yer Blues', and also took part in a jam session on some 50s rock'n'roll standards with Taj Mahal's guitarist, Jesse Ed Davis.

December 11

On the spur of the moment, Paul and Linda with Linda's daughter, Heather, flew to Praia da Luz in the Algarve, Portugal, to stay with Hunter Davies who had casually sent a postcard inviting them. They decided too late for a commercial flight, so Neil Aspinall hired a private jet. They arrived at Davies's rented villa at night and banged on the door, waking him up. They had no Portuguese currency so Davies had to pay the taxi.

John and Yoko, with John's son, Julian, spent the day and most of the night at Wembley Studios filming the all-star jam session: The Rolling Stones' Rock And Roll Circus. John led a band that called themselves The Dirty Macs and included Yoko, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards (on bass) and Mitch Mitchell (drums), performing Yer Blues' and a free-form jam that featured Yoko's unusual vocals and guest violinist Ivry Gitlis. In the event, Jagger thought The Stones were outperformed by The Who and the project was shelved until 1997 when it was released on video. Around midnight John and Yoko drove back to central London to appear live on BBC Radio's Night Ride where they talked to DJ John Peel about their Two Virgins album and played a few minutes of the new The Beatles album.

December 12

The arrival of a private jet at tiny, newly opened Faro Airport had attracted press attention and Paul had to conduct a press conference on the beach.

December 17

Candy, with Ringo in a starring role, was premiered in New York.

December 18

The single 'I'm The Urban Spaceman' by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (Paul as Apollo C. Vermouth) and produced by Paul McCartney was released in the US as Imperial 66345.

John and Yoko appeared on stage in a large white bag as part of a Christmas happening, the Underground Christmas Party, at the Royal Albert Hall. The bag, they explained, was a vehicle to ensure "total communication". During their brief appearance, a protestor ran to the edge of the stage, holding a banner complaining about the British government's involvement in the civil war afflicting Nigeria. "Do you care, John Lennon, do you care?", the demonstrator shouted to the figures in the bag.

Apple confirmed that The Beatles' long-awaited return to the concert stage had now been postponed until January 18.

John: "It's unfortunate that all the publicity came out about doing live shows when it did. We were only thinking about it vaguely, but it kind of got out of hand."

December 20

The fan club flexi-disc, The Beatles' 1968 Christmas Record, was released. It included John reciting a satirical poem, 'Jock And Yono', which contained a thinly veiled attack on the other members of The Beatles.

December 23

Apple's first Christmas party was held at 3 Savile Row, complete with what its suppliers assured everyone was the Largest Turkey in the World, Hell's Angels, and members of a visiting Californian hippie commune. John and Yoko, who had hardly been seen at Apple since it opened its new headquarters, dressed up as Father and Mother Christmas and handed out presents to all the children attending.

December 25

All the Beatles spent Christmas with their families in the UK, except George, who stayed with Bob Dylan in Woodstock, USA.

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