John Lennon and Beatles History for AugustHistory offers
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1925--Mike Douglas, TV talk show host, is born. In the early 1970s, Douglas would invite John Lennon and Yoko Ono to co-host his show for an entire week, allowing them to bring on political activist types such as Jerry Rubin; but they also invited the great rock and roll legend, Chuck Berry, with whom Lennon finally got to meet after so many years of calling Berry his “hero.”

1956--Elvis Presley’s Don’t Be Cruel is released.

1961--The Beatles perform at the Cavern Club -- a nighttime show.

1962--The Beatles perform at the Odd Spot Club, Liverpool.

1962--The Beach Boys release Surfin’ Safari, which becomes their first top 40 single.

1962--Bob Dylan plays a private party in Minneapolis. His friend, Tony Glover, records his performance.

1962--Booker T. & the MG.s instrumental song, Green Onions, is released. Many years later, in an interview, John Lennon will refer to his own song Glass Onion as Green Onions. He quickly catches his mistake and it’s all quite humorous.

1963--The Beatles perform at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool.

1964--The Beatles in the recording studio (Studio Two, EMI Studios, London). Work begins on The Beatles’ fourth album Beatles For Sale, although it is not yet titled. They begin and complete the recording of the track Baby’s in Black, in 14 takes of the full song and 13 additional takes of the guitar intro.

1964--The Beatles’ first feature film, “A Hard Day's Night,” opens in the US. It is a big hit with the fans, and the critics also give it very favorable reviews.

1964--The Beatles’ second movie, “Help!” premieres in New York.

1965--Thirty-four people die, more than 3,000 are arrested, and there is over $40 million in damage to property as riots break out in the Watts area of Los Angeles, California. The six days of riots, which began on this day, was caused by a minor confrontation between the California Highway Patrol and two young black men.

1966--To begin their third and final American tour, The Beatles arrive at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. Five hundred fans are waiting to greet them. They then fly to O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois, where 250 fans are waiting.

1966--In Chicago, for the beginning of The Beatles’ final US tour, John Lennon makes a nervous apology at a press conference for his “Beatles are bigger than Jesus” remarks. Lennon’s comments’ about contemporary religion, which had appeared over five months previously in London’s Evening Standard, were quoted out of context in the July 29th issue of the US teen magazine, Datebook. What Lennon had actually said was, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that, I’m right and will be proved right. We’re [The Beatles] more popular than Jesus Christ now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” Reaction in the US is so negative that Brian Epstein even considers cancelling The Beatles tour, fearing that one or more of the boys will be assassinated. The city of Memphis asks the Beatles not to play any concerts there and the price of Capitol Records stock drops. A number of radio stations in the US (22 by some counts, 30 by others, although probably no one knows for sure just how many) ban Beatles music, though other stations play even more Beatles music than before to show contempt for the outburst of religious hypocrisy. Now, at a press conference preceding what will prove to be The Beatles’ final US tour, Lennon is visibly shaken by the hate mail he has been receiving and by the condemnation from fundamentalist groups in the US. Under pressure from reporters determined to force an apology out of him, Lennon tries reason, explanation, and puzzlement to clarify what he had said and to illustrate how the remarks had been taken far out of context. But that isn’t good enough, and John ends up apologizing in the most half-hearted manner possible, even though he isn’t really sure why he is doing so. John remarks, in part, “I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it. I’m sorry I opened my mouth. I’m not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I was not knocking it. I was not saying we are greater or better...” Nonetheless, John’s’apology is an important gesture, and the media and much of the offended public accept it, confident that he’d learned some kind of lesson. Of course, there are die-hards, mostly in the southern “bible-belt” who will accept no apology: they’ve been looking for a tar-brush with which to smear the Beatles since 1964, and they aren’t going to let go of this so easily. The Beatles concerts during this tour were be marred by demonstrations by the KKK, telephone death threats, and firecrackers being thrown on stage. Anti-Beatles fever will spread to Spain and South Africa, where The Beatles are banned from the airwaves. Overall feeling is perhaps best summed up by the London Catholic Herald, which opines that John’s comments, while ”arrogant,” were “...still probably true.” How ironic.

1967--The Beatles arrive at Thomson House in London for a photo session with the world-famous Richard Avedon. The outcome is some of the most beautiful photos of the Beatles ever taken. The photos are used as regular black and white images, but some are turned into psychedelic masterpieces that later appear in Life magazine. Astounding!

1968--The Beatles release Hey Jude, their first single to bear the Apple imprint. The single, backed with Revolution, goes to #1. Today also marks the start of National Apple Week in England, named in honor of the Beatles’ fledgling record label.

1969--The Beatles in the recording studio (Studios Three and Two, EMI Studios, London). John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison record the “she’s so heavy” harmony vocals for I Want You (She’s So Heavy). Then backing vocals are overdubbed for Oh! Darling and Here Comes the Sun.

1969--John Lennon and Yoko Ono move to the Tittenhurst Park estate. This residence will prove to be one of the more “historic” of Lennon’s English homes, with hours of film footage shot here. This will also serve as the location for the recording of his album Imagine, in his own home studio, as well as the video for that song where he sits at the white grand piano. This proves to be the last home Lennon will own in England, for once he and and Yoko go the New York to live, he will never return to his homeland. Lennon eventually sells Tittenhurt to Ringo Starr, with the solemn promise from this bandmate that he will always have a room waiting there for him. After John’s death, Ringo sold the property, which is now owned by a Middle Eastern mogul.

1971--During the London Art Spectrum, which will run August 11th through 31st at Alexandra Palace, five of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s films are screened. They are: “Cold Turkey,” ”The Ballad of John and Yoko,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “Instant Karma,” and “Up Your Legs Forever.”

1971--John Lennon and Yoko Ono participate in a London demonstration against British policy in Northern Ireland, and also against the prosecution of the editors of Oz magazine on the charge of obscenity.

1976--Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, is admitted into a Miami hospital after collapsing.

1987--Rolling Stone declares The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band the best album of the last 20 years.

1995-All US nuclear tests are banned by President Bill Clinton.

1997--Four Elvis confidants known as “The Memphis Mafia” commemorate the 20th anniversary of The King’s passing with a webcast interview. In the chat, hosted live on the internet, Lamar Fike, Marty Lacker, and Red and Sonny West discuss Presley’s humble beginnings, the women in his life, his incredible fame, and his serious drug problems.

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