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April 11-12, 1967

Paul McCartney and Mal Evans travel from Los Angeles to London

Last updated on April 28, 2024


Heathrow Airport, London, UK

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Although the recording of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album was unfinished, Paul decided to take a ten-day break in the United States to surprise his girlfriend Jane Asher on her 21st birthday. At the time, Jane was touring the US with the Old Vic Company and performing Romeo And Juliet.

On April 3, 1967, Paul and Mal Evans departed London and spent the following day in San Francisco. On April 5, they travelled to Denver to meet Jane and celebrate her birthday. Paul, Jane, and Mal spent the next few days vacationing in the Denver area. The idea for a “Magical Mystery Tour” TV Special emerged at this time.

On April 9, the Old Vic Company flew out of Denver, where they had been based for a few days. Paul and Mal said goodbye to Jane and flew to Los Angeles, where they met Derek Taylor, who was the press officer for the Beatles’ first concert tour of the US in the summer of 1964.

On April 10 and 11, Paul and Mal spent some time in Los Angeles, doing some shopping, visiting John and Michelle Phillips, from The Mamas & The Papas, and Paul joined a Beach Boys recording session. They onboarded their return flight to London on the afternoon of April 11.

Paul borrowed a notepad from a flight stewardess and jotted down the lyrics for the song “Magical Mystery Tour“. He then sketched a rough plan for the film, using a circle divided into eight segments to represent the 60-minute duration of a television special.

Visiting America for the 21st birthday of his long term girlfriend, actress Jane Asher who was working over there in the spring of 1967, Paul had been impressed by a West Coast company of hippy entertainers, the Merry Pranksters, whose outrageously experimental performance fired his enthusiasm for developing Magical Mystery Tour. On the homeward flight from the US, Paul wrote most of the show’s title song. What would remain undecided for some months was whether The Beatles should aim for a full-blown theatrical film release or, more cautiously, a television special.

Tony Barrow – From “The Making of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour” by Tony Barrow, 1999

Thus inspired, on the way home in the plane Paul began to make notes for the next Beatles project after Sergeant Pepper. This particular idea had been sparked by writer Ken Kesey and his adventures on a bus traveling cross-country with a group of psychedelized hippies who called themselves the Merry Pranksters. The Pranksters sounded like a fantastic collection of clowns and mad magicians, half seen in a colorful daydream. Sitting in the first-class compartment of the plane, Paul began to draw pictures—clowns and fat ladies and midgets. He was going to call it the Magical Mystery Tour, and he intended to speak to Brian about starting it as soon as he got back.

Paul never got to discuss Magical Mystery Tour with Brian. On Paul’s return I had to inform him that Brian was under a doctor’s care in an expensive private clinic in Richmond called the Priory. […]

From “The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of the Beatles” by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines, 2002

They landed at London Heathrow on April 12. Paul was briefly interviewed by some reporters and declared:

The Beatles are definitely not splitting up. We have never even thought of splitting up. We want to go on recording together. The Beatles live!

Paul McCartney

“Magical Mystery Tour” was one sheet of paper with a circle drawn on it, and it was marked like a clock, only there was only one o’clock, five o’clock, nine o’clock and eleven o’clock. The rest we had to fill in. That’s how we did that. I was just sitting in the garden and Paul phoned, and said, ‘I’ve got this idea.’ That’s how it used to be. If someone wanted to do something, all we would do was follow ‘em. We would all go and do it.

Ringo Starr – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman, 2008

Paul McCartney’s sketch for a “Magical Mystery Tour” TV special

Wednesday April 12:

Lot of photographers at London airport – but not to meet us because our arrival had been kept good and quiet. They were there to get pictures of an Oscarless actress returning from Hollywood! End of a lovely holiday.

From The Beatles Monthly Book, July 1967
From The Beatles Monthly Book, July 1967


PAUL McCARTNEY flew back into a rainy London last week after a quick trip across to America to see Jane Asher on her 21st birthday. The Beatles have finished recording their new album and single but are still working on balancing and mixing the tracks. The title of the LP — due out at the end of May — is ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

From Melody Maker – April 22, 1967
From Melody Maker – April 22, 1967

From Paul McCartney, l’aéroport Heathrow de Londres, 13 avril 1967. Revient d’Amérique, où il a été célébré le 21e anniversaire de sa petite amie, l’actrice Jane Asher Photo Stock – Alamy (alamyimages.fr)

From Meet the Beatles for Real: Take the dog out for a walk – April 13, 1967 – Chester Gate, Regents Park ?

Going further

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