1.- The Bob Wooler Incident
It was Paul's 21st birthday, on June 18 1963. There was a birthday party held in a marquee in the back garden of his aunt Jin's house at 147 Dinas Lane, Huyton.
The Beatles' old friendBob Wooler, DJ of the Cavern, teased John about his trip to Spain with Brian Epstein but John was drunk and in a belligerent mood. He leapt on Bob Wooler and beat him up. John said: "He called me a queer so I battered his bloody ribs in". Next John attacked a woman who was standing nearby. When Billy J. Kramer intervened, Lennon yelled: "You're nothing Kramer, and we're the top". Brian Epstein drove Bob Wooler to the hospital to get his eye treated and to check for broken ribs.
Two days later, acting on orders from Brian Epstein, John sent Bob Wooler a telegram reading: "Really sorry Bob. Terribly worried to realise what I had done. What more can I say?"
Years later, John was quoted as saying that he had to have had a fear that maybe he was homosexual and so he attacked Bob that way. The way he was, he feared he could have killed somebody.
2.- John and Jayne Mansfield
Jayne Mansfield was the actress of "The Girl Can't help It", which the Beatles loved. She was a Marilyn-type. The Beatles were in America on August 25 1964. Paul and George visited Burt Lancaster's house to watch a private screening of Peter Seller's "A Shot In The Dark". Ringo and John stayed at the hotel. Ringo was watching a "Jack Good TV Show" when Jane Mansfield turned up at the doorstep (Paul had said he would like to meet her). John greeted her and she tugged at his hair and asked: "Is this real?" John then butted in looking at her breast: "Are those real?".
That evening John and Jayne went to the Whiskey A Go-Go where they were joined by George. There, very cleverly, when no-one could see, Jayne put her hand on John's thigh and scared him.
3.- Paul and his problems of fatherhood.
At the height of Beatlemania, everybody looked for a way to jump into the fame wagon. On July 10, 1964, the uncle of Anita Cochrane, a girl from Liverpool, plastered Liverpool with 30,000 leaflets recounting his niece's affair with Paul and its outcome. Anita Cochrane, an 18-year-old Beatles fan, discovered that she was pregnant after partying with Paul atStuart Sutcliffe's flat in Gambier Terrace. Unable to contact him by registered letters and telegrams, she eventually retained a lawyer who threatened legal action. Allegedly, it was only then that NEMS responded, offering her 5 pounds a week maintenance. Brian Epstein was said to have intervened personally and offered 5,000 pounds in exchange for renouncing all claims on Paul (published figures vary depending on source). The agreement said that Anita must never bring Paul to court or say or imply that he was the father of her child, Philip Paul Cochrane, nor must she ever reveal the terms of the agreement. All seemed to be well until July 10 1964, when the Beatles were in Liverpool to attend the Northern premiere of "A Hard day's Night" that her outraged uncle intervened.
4.- The Embassy Incident.
After the February 11 1964 show at the Washington Coliseum there was a reception at the British Embassy, given by Lady Ormbsy-Gore. There had been a formal dance to benefit the National Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the Beatles were required to hand out the raffle prizes at the end of the affair. The British community, arrogant debutantes and aristocrats, disgraced themselves.
"They can write" yelled a middle-aged woman in a pink dress when they started signing autographs. When Lennon said they couldn't sign autographs for everybody, they were suddenly surrounded by a group of youngsters with BBC accents and the typical University tie, who arrogantly informed the Beatles: "Of course you can and you will do it". A young eighteen-year-old woman called Beverly Markowitz took out a pair of scissors from her bag and snipped off a lack of Ringo's hair just behind his left ear.
Harry Benson, the photographer that accompanied them on their US tour, was there and remembers: "They were sad. They seemed to be about to cry, Lennon in particular, but they were stuck there, they couldn't go".
Finally, John pushed all the autograph seekers away saying: "These people have no bloody manners", and grabbing Ringo said: "I'm getting out of here". Ringo calmed him down, they did their stuff and left. Brian was told firmly never to expose them to that kind of gathering again, fact that would be held against them two years later in the Philippines.
5.- The Manila Incident
The Beatles were touring the Philippines in July 1966. Their hectic schedule did not leave them have many days off. July 4 was the only day off they had in the whole tour. Unfortunately, that was the date Imelda Marcos had arranged to have a lunch party for 300 sons and daughters of top army officers and businessmen.
The Beatles were exhausted and slept late, so they were still sleeping when officers came looking for them. Brian Epstein claimed to know nothing of the invitation, although some other sources claim they all did know but refused because of their few days off. Moreover, Brian still had in mind the miserable incident of the embassy in America dating from two years ago and refused. Whatever the reason, the refusal was taken as a grave insult and it had very serious repercussions.
The shows they played that afternoon and evening were a complete success, though. 30,000 fans turned up to see them live in the afternoon and 50,000 in the evening.
But the repercussions were on their height the next day. The hotel they stayed in provided no room service so they were asking for their breakfast but nothing eventually came. All the security they had been provided with previously was withdrawn, so the Beatles and their entourage, Mal Evans, Neil Aspinall, Brian Epstein, etc., had to literally run for their lives to get to their plane. They were spat at, insulted, pushed and jostled.
At the airport Alf Bicknell, their chauffeur, made the mistake of rising his fist at one of the policemen who were pushing them and was then thrown to the floor and kicked by military security men.
The lifts were all turned off so that they had to struggle up with all their equipment. Mysteriously, all the lifts started working again when they had reached the ground floor.
Mal Evans and Brian Epstein had to got off the plane again to sort out a passport and tax problem which officials suddenly invented before the plane was finally allowed to leave Manila.
The Beatles are reported to have kissed the floor of the plane immediately after going into it.
George summed up the Beatles feeling succinctly: "The only way I'd ever return to the Philippines would be to drop an atom bomb on it".
6.- The Jesus Scandal
John had always been the most talkative of the four Beatles and thus he was always the most sought by the journalists. However, Maureen Cleave was not only a normal journalist but she was also a very good friend of John's, so he talked to her not as a journalist but as a friend. In one of these conversations-interviews John had expressed how deeply concerned he was about the current state of religion. He also went on saying that organised religion was unnecessary and how ridiculous it was that the Beatles drew more attention than Christ did in the media. He stated: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that. I'm right and I will be proved right. We are more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first -rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary". It appeared on March 4, 1966 in the London newspaper "Evening Standard" and was totally ignored and unnoticed in England.
On July 29 an American fan magazine called "Datebook" reprinted the comments and touched off a whole controversy. When a Birmingham, Alabama, radio station picked up the story, an entire anti-Beatles campaign ensued. For weeks people made a public display of destroying Beatles paraphernalia. Arriving at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on August 11, John reluctantly apologised.
"Look, I wasn't saying the Beatles are better than God or Jesus. I said 'Beatles' because it's easy for me to talk about Beatles. I could have said 'TV' or 'the cinema', 'motorcars' or anything popular and I would have got away with it".
"I'm not anti-God, anti-Christ or anti-religion. I was not saying we are greater or better. I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and all the rest said it was right. It's just the translation have gone wrong."
"I wasn't saying whatever they're saying I was saying. I'm sorry I said it, really. I never meant it to be a lousy antireligious thing. From what I've read or observed, Christianity just seems to me to be shrinking, to be losing contact".
A reporter asked John right then that a disc-jockey in Birmingham, Alabama, who actually started most of the repercussions, demanded an apology from John. John is quite surprised at this because he thinks he's just apologised, but even so he stated:
"He can have it, I apologise to him".
7.- Bob Dylan and all the marijuana stuff.
The Beatles andBrian Epstein were introduced to marijuana for the first time in the company of Bob Dylan at the Delmonico Hotel in New York City on August 28, 1964. "What will you drink?", they politely asked the pop poet when they were introduced in their suite. "Cheap wine", answered Dylan. The Beatles, who still bought things according to their price, only had expensive wine to offer him. Dylan suggested a joint. "We've never smoked marijuana before", explained Epstein. Dylan couldn't believe it. "What about your song, then?", he asked. The song was "I Want To Hold Your hand" and he started singing it: "and when I touch you I get high, I get high, I get high...". Lennon was extremely embarrassed when he corrected him saying that the lyrics went "I can't hide".
Then time had come to hide less and get higher. The Beatles were apprehensive about joining in at first, but before long the lights were lowered, candles and incense were lit and towels were stuffed along the bottoms of the doors. They also locked the doors. After half an hour of preparations, they let Dylan light the joint. He passed it over to Ringo, whom he called "my royal tester". Ringo smoked and soon fell about laughing. The rest did the same. For the next few hours, the musicians were "legless with laughing" as George Harrison put it later. Paul thought that he'd suddenly been blessed with amazing insights and asked road managerMal Evans to take notes. Next morning, when they wanted to know what the notes read, they only found: "There are seven levels".
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