Personalities | The Beatles | The Beginning of the End (1966) | Key Events


George Marries Pattie Boyd

George Harrison married model Pattie Boyd at Epsom registry office on 21 January. They had been going out together since meeting on the set of A Hard Day’s Night nearly two years earlier. Paul McCartney was the best man. John Lennon and Ringo Starr were both on holiday with their wives, planned as a decoy for the media, although there were dozens of photographers waiting for the happy couple after the ceremony. The bride was dressed by Mary Quant. The honeymoon was in Barbados.


Bernard Webb

Paul McCartney: ‘I tried to write a song under another name, just to see if it was the Lennon/McCartney bit that sold our songs.’ He chose pop duo Peter & Gordon. Peter Asher was girlfriend Jane’s brother, for whom he’d already written a couple of hits and wrote ‘Woman’ under the name of Bernard Webb. The single reached No. 83 in the US and No. 47 in the UK before the ruse was rumbled and Mr Webb’s real identity was confirmed. The single eventually reached No. 14 in the US and No. 28 in the UK.


‘More Popular than Jesus’

In an interview with ‘trusted’ journalist Maureen Cleave in the London Evening Standard John Lennon, talking about religion, remarked that The Beatles were ‘more popular than Jesus now’. The comment aroused no interest in Britain, but when it was reprinted in America a few days later there was instant outrage among Christian groups in the Midwest and South. Radio stations started banning Beatle records and the same fans who had been buying them by the million were now exhorted to destroy them. The Ku Klux Klan ceremonially nailed a Beatles record to a cross and burnt it. In South Africa the apartheid regime banned the state broadcasting company from playing Beatles records. The ban lasted beyond The Beatles’ break-up to include John Lennon solo records, although records by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were permitted.


Final UK Concert

The Beatles’ appearance at the NME Poll Winners Concert at Wembley Empire Pool on 1 May was their final public concert in the UK. They topped a bill that featured The Rolling Stones, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, The Small Faces, Dusty Springfield, The Who, Roy Orbison and The Walker Brothers. The Beatles’ 15-minute set featured ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘Nowhere Man’, ‘Day Tripper’, ‘If I Needed Someone’ and ‘I’m Down’. Tickets for the North Upper Tier were 25 shillings (£1.25p).

‘Paperback Writer’/‘Rain’

Two contrasting songs heralded the next phase of The Beatles’ recording career. The sprightly, commercial ‘Paperback Writer’ was written by Paul McCartney in response to his aunt Lil who was tired of all his love songs. ‘Rain’ was John Lennon’s first foray into psychedelia, complete with a backwards tape layered on at the end, an effect he discovered at home late one night when he wrongly threaded...

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