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December 1967

Paul McCartney contributes signing Focal Point for Apple

Last updated on February 27, 2024

In May 1967 Paul Tennant and Dave Rhodes of The Maracas decided to take a holiday in Torquay but stop off in London on route. After reading about Paul McCartney’s house they decided to track it down, which once in the Lords area, wasn’t difficult due to the volume of girls waiting outside! Once there they saw Paul’s gates open and a Mini shoot out with a large sheepdog in the back. They followed the car to Hyde Park which pulled up to drop off Jane Asher and Paul McCartney who were there to walk the dog.

Paul Tennant recalled in a previous piece for the Marmalade Skies website that they decided to “Follow him and tell him about our songs. We abandoned the car and went off in hot pursuit. We caught Paul up we shouted to him and he turned around. We then told him our story, we were writing songs and didn’t know what to do with them, could he help? Could he help? There is an understatement. He could have done anything at that time, The Beatles were like gods. After about five minutes of talking to each other he said to us “I could get you a recording contract just like that” and flicked his fingers. “But why should I?” It was then that he proved to be human by planting a finger up his nostril. Dave laughed and he laughed. Dave then said to him in answer to his question “Because we are good, our songs are good.” It was just like that, Paul then wrote down on a piece of paper a phone number and gave it to us. “Phone this guy and tell him I sent you,” said Paul and he was then gone, carrying on walking the dog. The phone number was the number for Terry Doran. To cut a long story short, we then drove to Torquay and spent a week in the sun, met some girls, had a ball but did not have the bottle to make the phone call.”

John Lennon encouraged Doran to go into music publishing which saw him being made the newly appointed Managing Director of Apple Publishing, pre-dating the formation of the Apple record label. Another Liverpudlian, his only other experience of business was managing a car dealership with Brian Epstein, Doran was immortalised in “She’s Leaving Home” as the “Man from the motor trade”. After Paul Tennant did pluck up the courage to call Terry, he asked the duo to come down to the London to play him their songs. Paul and Dave played four numbers including “Girl On the Corner” and “Miss Sinclair” went into a studio the same day to record demos. The tracks got a great reception, particularly from John Lennon and Brian Epstein, so they were offered a five year publishing deal. Brian Epstein was keen for them to form a band as a vehicle for their material and told them he wanted them to be called “Focal Point”.

Paul and Dave went back to Liverpool’s 149 Club as they knew who they wanted. Dave Slater explains “We were playing there one night with my band, The Top. Tim Wells and I were approached by these two guys in the interval. They looked the part. It was 1967.One of them had a kaftkan on!  We thought that this was really weird. We’d heard of flower power stuff and all that but it hadn’t reached Liverpool at the time. We were very much a Motown type band. They introduced themselves. They said they had “a song writing deal with Apple. Brian Epstein wants us to form a band and call it Focal Point. We’d like you to play with us.” And so I thought about it for about two seconds! I said “Yes, ok we’ll do that.” Ted Hesketh joined us later from The Maracas, fantastic drummer. Dave was rhythm guitar, Paul was lead, me on bass and Tim on keyboards.”

The band went back down to London to record more demos and were told by Terry Doran to meet him at John Lennon’s house at Weybridge, Surrey. They were to stay there for the night as John was out of the country. However when they got there Terry was no where to be seen and the house was in total darkness. Dave Slater remembers “Our drummer managed to get in the house within seconds! When we got in there it was like an Aladdin’s Cave. There was film of the Beatles, clips that we didn’t know then would form part of the “Magical Mystery Tour” film. Mick Jagger phoned up looking for John. Terry eventually arrived there later that evening and apologised profusely. We spent the night there listening to all this music. “Sgt Pepper” was out then and we were listening to different versions with different track formations. My first impressions of Terry was this guy with a Bob Dylan hair cut and a lime green suit. Very bouncy, bubbly.”

From Focal Point – First Bite of the Apple   – The Strange Brew 

Paul Tennant (Fawkel Point): “In 1960 I got really interested in playing the guitar and did it amateurly for a year or two. My school was close to the Kasbah Club, and my best friend at school was a guy named Dave Aspinall, Neil’s brother. We used to go to the Kasbah and watch the Beatles when they were just starting their careers. In the years that followed, I followed them all over Liverpool as I found out where they performed by watching how they controlled the audience. They were extraordinary. Since then, I’ve seen a lot of bands play: the Rolling Stones, Hoo, the Movies, and so on. I’ve seen them, but The Beatles were the best rock ‘n’ roll band I’ve ever seen. They were second to none. From 1960 to 1966 I played in different bands in Liverpool. We played at some venues and the Beatles at others. Over time, I lost touch with Dave Aspinal. Then, at Labamba in Liverpool, I met Dave Rhodes and we became fast friends. He was in a band called Maracas, and I was in a band I don’t even remember the name. We decided that we should start writing songs ourselves, which we did. The first attempts were rather pathetic, but we kept working and eventually felt that we were succeeding. Dave left his band and I left mine, and we formed a band called Obessin. We were like most bands at the time, playing old classics with one or two songs of our own composition. Our band didn’t last long, as Dave and I spent most of our time writing songs and hitting on girls. Then we formed another band called the Big Locks Blue Band. It was an ambitious project. Apart from me and Dave, we had a full brass section with keyboards, bass, two guitars and drums. After our new band broke up, I played for a while with a band called Elmost Blues, which was formed by a good friend of mine named Alan Peters, but I didn’t stay there for long. Dave and I kept writing songs. It was clear that we needed to move on to the next stage, but we didn’t know what it would be. Where to go with your songs? Studios and four-track tape recorders were out of reach for us. It was then, in the summer of 1967, that we decided to spend a holiday in Torquay and go to London for a couple of days. We hired a car and went to the Big City. During this trip, our conversation turned to Paul McCartney and where he lives. There was an article in a magazine with pictures of stars and their houses, and there was one of Paul’s houses with a beautiful photo and a comment saying that the house was around the corner from the Lords. When we drove into London, we saw a sign that read “Lord’s Cricket Stadium” and went in search of Paul’s house. It took us about two minutes, as there weren’t many houses near the stadium. We knew what kind of house Paul was living in, as there was a large group of girls near it. We stopped; It’s not often that you see such a sight. Suddenly, the gates opened and the Mini flew out. Without hesitation, we sat on his tail. There was a large shepherd dog in the back seat of the Mini, but we couldn’t see who was sitting in the front. After a while, we arrived at Hyde Park. The Mini stopped and Paul McCartney stepped out. He let go of the dog and went out into the alley. With Jane Asher, they walked the dog. Well, Dave looked at me, I looked at him, we both looked at our friend Peter McKenna (my childhood friend), and we all came to the same decision. We went up to him and started talking about our songs. That was exactly the case. We left the car and ran after them. They ran up to Paul and called out to him. He turned. Then we told him about ourselves, that we were writing songs and didn’t know what to do with them, could he help? Could he have helped? That’s an understatement. At that time, he could do anything. The Beatles were like gods. After about five minutes, he said to us, “I could do a record deal with you like this,” and he snapped his fingers, “But why should I do that?” We have good songs.” And it was true. Paul then wrote down the phone number on a piece of paper and gave it to us. “Call this guy and tell him what’s from me,” Paul said and went for a walk with the dog. The phone was Terry Doran’s number.” After that, we went to Torquay and spent a week there basking in the sun. We met the girls, had a good time, but didn’t dare to call.”

Источник: https://beatles-chronology.ru/1967/07/11/den-otdykha-140/
© Хронология The Beatles

From Liverpool Echo – December 23, 1967

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