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May 11-15, 1968

The Beatles promote Apple Corps in New York

Last updated on December 22, 2023


  • Location: New York, USA


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On May 11, 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney travelled to New York. They would stay there till May 15, to promote their newly-formed company, Apple Corps. They were joined by ‘Magic’ Alex, Neil Aspinall, Mal Evans and Derek Taylor.

May 11

The media and fans frenzy started as soon as they hit the ground in New York, as reported in an article by the Village Voice on May 16, 1968:

THERE I STOOD, next to Paul McCartney and John Lennon — calm, but without a thing to say. I wasn’t intimidated, but more amazed I had managed to get through an endless skein of Beatlemanic intrigue. But with the aid of my press card there I was, for 15 minutes altogether, with them as they were hustled from one custom’s checkpoint to another last Saturday afternoon. Only while driving back to the city later did I remember that I had forgotten to ask them about all the rumors. Was it true that they were here to denounce the Maharishi? Was it true that they were breaking up and that’s why only two of them had come? Was it true that they were merely in New York to help promote their Apple enterprise into another million dollar Beatle spinoff? […]

I did ask Paul if the screaming teenyboppers still turned him on and he said of course. He did a lot of sophisticated waving, and signed autographs for some of the airport personnel. John, more aloof and at times sort of surly, looked pretty tired even in white suit, white shirt, white tie, white shoes, and a plain white button on his lapel. He scrawled autographs without looking at the paper or the beseecher. […]

May 12

On the afternoon of May 12, they met with Ron Kass, the new US head of Apple, aboard a Chinese junk, sailing on the Hudson river. Also on this day, they managed to spend some time in Central Park.

On their recent Apple business trip to New York JOHN and PAUL visited The Salvation and saw a light show at one of New York’s leading discotheques. They also walked unidentified through New York’s famous Central Park… While in New York JOHN and PAUL held a five-hour Sunday afternoon Apple meeting with half a dozen of their company executives, including NEIL and MAL. Offbeat venue for the conference was a 115-year-old Chinese junk which sailed down the Hudson River and around the Statue of Liberty while the meeting took place!

From The Beatles Monthly Book, N°60, July 1968
From The Beatles – A Day in The Life: May 12, 1968 -Beatles Fab Four Store Exclusively Beatles Only Official Merchandise
From The Beatles – A Day in The Life: May 12, 1968 -Beatles Fab Four Store Exclusively Beatles Only Official Merchandise
From John C Stoskopf: The Beatles of 1968 (johnstoskopf.blogspot.com) – With Alex Mardas and Paul
From John C Stoskopf: The Beatles of 1968 (johnstoskopf.blogspot.com)

May 13

On this day, Lennon and McCartney conducted a series of interviews for US media. Those interviews took place at the St Regis Hotel, in New York. From beatlesbible.com:

Among the reporters was Larry Kane, a Miami-based disc jockey who had been a key supporter of The Beatles since their US invasion in 1964. His interview was filmed in colour, and the footage was eventually released with Kane’s book Lennon Revealed. Kane asked Lennon and McCartney about Apple’s business aims, their trip to India, thoughts on LSD, US campus riots and Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. Lennon also talks about The Beatles’ touring days in the US, particularly their troubled 1966 appearance in Memphis and their first visit to New York in 1964.

May 14

On this day, Lennon and McCartney held a press conference in the afternoon. They also recorded an interview for the WNDT TV station, and in the evening were invited on NBC for The Tonight Show. From The White Album Project:

After a day of business meetings on May 12th, and a day of interviews on the 13th, they held a press conference at 1:30pm on the 14th at New York’s Americana Hotel. Here, John and Paul described their vision and their hopes for Apple.

During this press conference, John makes mention of the film ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ not being seen. This is in reference to the fact that, while it was shown on British television, the film was not televised in America at that time. It would not be seen in the states until a much delayed and very limited theatrical release in 1976.

John also mentions his intent to make a film of his first two books, ‘In His Own Write’ and ‘A Spaniard In The Works.’ While this film never materialized, a play based on John’s two books was already in production at this time. The play adaptation, co-penned by actor Victor Spinetti, ‘In His Own Write’ opened June 18th 1968 at the Old Vic Theatre in London.

Following this press conference, John and Paul would tape an afternoon interview with New York educational TV-station WNDT that would air on the program Newsfront. Later this same evening, they would drop-in for a special appearance on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, with guest host Joe Garagiola.

We really want to help people, but without doing it like a charity or seeming like ordinary patrons of the arts. We’re in the happy position of not really needing any more money. So for the first time, the bosses aren’t in it for profit. If you come and see me and say ‘I’ve had such and such a dream,’ I’ll say ‘Here’s so much money. Go away and do it.’ We’ve already bought all our dreams. So now we want to share that possibility with others.

Paul McCartney – From the press conference, May 14, 1968

In the audience was Linda Eastman. The last time she had met Paul McCartney was in May 1967, for the launch party of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.

In May, John and I went to New York to announce that Apple was starting: ‘Send us your huddled talent.’ We wanted a grand launch, but I had a strange feeling and I was very nervous. I had a real personal paranoia. I don’t know if it was what I was smoking at the time, but it was very strange for me.

I remember sitting up there and being interviewed. John was wearing a bus driver’s or a prefect’s badge, and he was doing well. Linda was there taking photos, and afterwards I said, ‘Couldn’t you tell I was nervous?’ but she said it was fine. For some reason I just felt very uneasy about the whole thing; maybe it was because we were out of our depth. We were talking to media like Fortune magazine, and they were interviewing us as a serious economic force – which we weren’t. We hadn’t done the business planning; we were just goofing off and having a lot of fun.

Paul McCartney – from The Beatles Anthology

Even though I visited England in between times, I didn’t see Paul again until he came to New York with John in May 1968 for a press conference at the Americana Hotel. It was here that they announced the formation of Apple. […]

I was amazed at the mediocre questions they were asked that day. “When are you getting your hair cut?”, “What does the badge mean that you’re wearing?” No one seemed remotely interested in the creative of business side of their new venture. It was just the same old Beatle questions. Paul was very nervous about it all, and all the pictures I took capture their bemusement and the inane level of the questions.

It was at the Apple press conference that my relationship with Paul was rekindled. I managed to slip him my phone number. He rang me up later that day and told me they were leaving that evening, but he’d like it if I was able to travel out to the airport with him and John. So I went out in their limousine, sandwiched between Paul and John. […]

The next time I heard from Paul was the following month when he left a message with my answering service saying that he was on his way to LA to do some Apple business and attend the Capitol Records Convention […]

Linda McCartney – from “Linda McCartney’s Sixties“, 1992

At the party, Linda told me that she thought Paul was smiling at her. ‘What shall I do?’ she asked. I told her to slip Paul a piece of paper with her phone number. He called her that night. Until then, Paul had never responded hugely to her. In fact, she really preferred John. She used to say, ‘John is very exciting.’ Linda went with them to the airport the next day.

Lillian Roxon – Linda Eastman’s friend – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman
From The Beatles, announcing Apple Corps, Americana Hotel, New York, 1968 | The Vincent Vigil Collection (morrisonhotelgallery.com) – The Beatles new venture of the time, Apple Corps, was announced at New York’s Americana Hotel, May 14, 1968. Pictured L-R Alexis “Magic Alex ” Mardas, Derek Taylor, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Denis O’ Dell and Ron Kass. This press conference was also instrumental in bringing attention to an up and coming singer/songwriter, Harry Nilsson. Publicist, Derek Taylor, turned The Beatles on to Nilsson’s debut album ,Pandemonium Shadow Show. When asked who influenced them, both John and Paul exclaimed that their favorite “group” was Nilsson.
From John C Stoskopf: The Beatles of 1968 (johnstoskopf.blogspot.com)

May 15

In the evening of May 15, Lennon and McCartney (with ‘Magic’ Alex) flew back to London and landed in the early hours of the 16th.

From John C Stoskopf: The Beatles of 1968 (johnstoskopf.blogspot.com)

According to John Lennon, Paul McCartney wrote his song “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” during that stay in New York:

This wasn’t to do with the American fans (The Apple Scruffs). It was when Paul and I went to America (New York – May 1968) to publicise Apple about two years ago, and we were just in the flat we were staying in and he just came out with that line, ‘She came in through the bathroom window.’ So, he had it for years, and he eventually finished it.

John Lennon – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

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