Paul McCartney on promotional duties for Apple in Los Angeles

June 20-25, 1968


On June 20, 1968, Paul McCartney flew to the USA for promotional duties for Apple. The goal of this trip was to assist to the Capitol Convention in Los Angeles, and explain to the Capitol Records executives The Beatles’ plans with their new label Apple. A promotional film had been prepared for this event, directed by Apple employee, Tony Bramwell, and filmed on June 11, 1968 in the EMI Studios at Abbey Road.

McCartney was joined on this trip by Tony Bramwell, Ron Kass, head of Apple Records, and Ivan Vaughan, a childhood friend who had introduced him to John Lennon on July 6, 1957.

As there was no direct flight from London to Los Angeles, they made a stop in New York. Arrived there, McCartney tried to contract Linda Eastman (who he had met in May 1967 and would become Mrs. McCartney in March 1969)

We literally rushed to the airport to get flights and, since we couldn’t get a direct flight to LA, had to make a stopover in New York. The first thing Paul did on arrival at Kennedy on June 20, 1968, was to dig out that check with Linda’s number on it that, tellingly, he had carefully kept in his wallet, and telephoned her. She was out, so he got her answering service.

‘Hey, I’m in America!’ he said. ‘Come and hang out for a couple of days. I’m staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel.’ He seemed disappointed that she hadn’t been in to answer the telephone herself.

Tony Bramwell, Magical Mystery Tours

It was at the Apple press conference [in May 1968] 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 with his school friend Ivan Vaughan, and he wanted me to join him. I had just got back from taking pictures of Jimi Hendrix at the Drake Hotel when I picked up the message, and I later spoke to Paul and arranged to meet at the Beverly Hills Hotel where he was staying.

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

The day after, on June 21, the Apple team flew from New York to Los Angeles, where they stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

At the luxurious Beverly Hills Hotel we were given a bungalow beside the pool. It seemed like heaven! The first thing we did was change and go for a swim. Cliché as it might be, but, this is the life, I thought, as Paul and I floated side by side on lilos, drinks in hand and gazing at the blue sky as the heavy scent of jasmine and orange blossom wafted in the air.

That afternoon, we decided to shop on Sunset Strip. To me, everything was wildly expensive, but Paul didn’t care.

‘Sign for anything you want,’ he told me. It was a bizarre situation. Here was a young man worth many millions who didn’t have a penny on him. A bit like royalty, I suppose. At any rate, everyone was more than happy to have our signatures.

‘Make the bill out to Apple,’ Ivan and I said grandly, collapsing into giggles around the corner on Rodeo Drive. It seemed unreal. Even Paul said that after several years he still couldn’t get used to this way of life…

On our shopping trip, Paul and I bought Nehru jackets. Paul’s was red velvet and mine was white silk. We also bought several pairs of exotic sunglasses with pink lenses at a psychedelic optique, which we clowned around in. One pair would have done, but we couldn’t make up our minds which we liked and in the end Paul said, ‘To hell with it. Let’s have ’em all.’ Once again, as we signed the outrageous bill, we found it wildly funny and ran into the street, laughing like people who had done a runner from the Chinese restaurant without paying.

Tony Bramwell – from “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles” book, by Tony Bramwell and Rosemary Kingsland, 2006

The Capitol Convention took place at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, and on June 22, Paul McCartney gave a short speech before playing the promotional film directed by Tony Bramwell.

Paul delivered a short speech to announce that EMI/Capitol would distribute Apple Records and, from now on, The Beatles were on the Apple label. That was a cue for me to show the film. Paul spent time doing the old meet-and-greet and being photographed with top Capitol executives, Alan Livingston, Stanley Gortikov and Ken Fritz. It was a PR masterpiece.

Tony Bramwell – from “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles” book, by Tony Bramwell and Rosemary Kingsland, 2006

Following the event, Paul McCartney, Ron Kass, Tony Bramwell and Ivan Vaughan returned to their hotel, where – surprise! – Linda Eastman was waiting for Paul.

Relieved at how well it had gone we were ready to return to the hotel and leap into the swimming pool again. When we went into the bungalow to change, followed by the trail of girls, we were rather surprised to find Linda [Eastman] sitting there radiantly, totally spaced out, waiting for Paul. She had a joint in one hand and a beatific smile on her face. Paul immediately detached himself from the circus surrounding him and took Linda aside. As I looked across the room, I suddenly saw something happen. Right before my eyes, they fell in love. It was like the thunderbolt that Sicilians speak of, the coup-de-foudre that the French speak of in hushed tones, that once-in-a-lifetime feeling. Paul was struck almost dumb as he and Linda gazed at each other.

Tony Bramwell – from “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles” book, by Tony Bramwell and Rosemary Kingsland, 2006

In the evening, the gang went partying to the famous LA club, the Whiskey-A-Go-Go.

The club was hot, dark and crowded. Paul and Linda sat in a corner both while we acted as a kind of hedge. By a strange coincidence, both Eric Burdon and Georgie Fame were in the booth next to us, a fact not missed by Linda or Paul in their state of heightened awareness. Eric and Georgie had been at the Bag O’Nails on the night they had met some thirteen months ago. Now here they were on the night they had fallen in love. It was a sign.

Tony Bramwell – from “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles” book, by Tony Bramwell and Rosemary Kingsland, 2006

On June 23, Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman spent much of the day together.

The next day, evening more fans turned up and mobbed the hotel. Crowds of fans were milling in and around the main entrance, lobby and grounds, while Paul and Linda were still in bed making love. Finally, to thank them all for coming, Paul got up and sat on the steps of the bungalow, playing his guitar and singing to them – I think it was ‘Blackbird’ – while Linda kept quietly in the background, not wanting to be seen.

Tony Bramwell – from “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles” book, by Tony Bramwell and Rosemary Kingsland, 2006

The Apple team spent lunchtime with Capitol Records president Alan Livingston.

On returning to the bungalow, Linda passed around a Victorian cloth drawstring bag stuffed full of grass. In London this bag became her trademark, the legendary ‘spice-bag’ that [Ronnie] Plonk Lane of the Faces wrote about in a song. All kinds of music people started to drop by, like Roger McGuinn from the Byrds. Boyce and Hart, the songwriters for the Monkees, telephoned to invite us to one of their notorious toga parties, a Hollywood version of a Roman orgy. Paul asked me to turn down all invitations so he could spend time alone with Linda. I did, but a leggy young starlet named Peggy Lipton, who had met Paul during their last America tour and still had designs on him, kept calling all through the night.

Tony Bramwell – from “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles” book, by Tony Bramwell and Rosemary Kingsland, 2006

June 24 was their last day in Los Angeles, and they were all invited to sail on a yacht belonging to a Warner Bros executive.

Paul knew that if Linda went with him on the boat, the news [of their relationship] would get out very quickly. He was torn between going, or keeping her a secret for a little longer by hiding her back in the bungalow. In the end he decided they would both go, and Linda could always say she was just taking pictures.

As we left the hotel to get into the limo, [actress] Peggy Lipton suddenly appeared, bikini and towel packed in her beach bag, ready to spend the day with us. Somebody must have told her we were going sailing. ‘Oh my God,’ said Paul when he spotted her. ‘She can’t come.’

I had to tell her in the nicest possible way that it was a private party, while Linda stood quietly to one side pretending she wasn’t with us. Peggy was very upset and got very argumentative. I realised that she needed the publicity for her career and had been told to make sure she got it, but Paul was tired of girls who used him. We drove off fast, leaving Peggy standing on the hotel steps in tears.

It was one of those perfect days, though not for Peggy, of course. We sailed to Catalina, feeling like Bogart and Bacall for whom the island was a favourite destination, along with the Flynns and the Fairbanks. We dived off the sides of the sailboat into the clear blue sea where dolphins swam, sunbathed on the decks, ate bacon sandwiches and drank champagne. It was a wonderful day, an antidote to the months of madness in London.

Tony Bramwell – from “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles” book, by Tony Bramwell and Rosemary Kingsland, 2006

In the evening, they flew back to New York, before taking a connecting flight to London. They were back in London, on June 25.

Late that afternoon, we checked out of the hotel to return to London. Paul and Linda were like Siamese twins, holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes all the way to the airport. In the VIP lounge, they sat apart from us on a small group of seats in a central aisle, the kind of seats that are back to back with another row. Suddenly, the doors burst open, like the sheriff and his men at the big bad saloon.

‘FBI!’ one of them barked, flashing a badge. ‘There’s a bomb warning on your flight. Do you know of any Caucasian male with a grudge against you?’

Paul looked surprised. This was years before stars were assassinated and needed bodyguards. He said, ‘No, nobody.’

‘Do you mind if we search your baggage?’ they asked.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Linda very swiftly aiming a neat little backward kick with her heel. Her square vanity case, which she had placed on the floor beneath her seat, skidded to the row of empty seats and, fortunately, came to rest exactly underneath one of them. Casually, she stood up. ‘Well, guys, I guess this is goodbye,’ Linda said. ‘I’d better check on my flight.’

‘What flight are you on?’ one of the agents asked.

‘New York,’ Linda said. I’m not travelling in Mr McCartney’s party.’ She smiled at us all and sauntered off through the door of the VIP lounge as if she had all the time in the world, and as if there wasn’t enough marijuana packed into her vanity case to get a herd of elephants stoned.

We all wondered if Linda had managed to sneak back for her vanity case, or if it remained there. Who knows? I never asked.

Tony Bramwell – from “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles” book, by Tony Bramwell and Rosemary Kingsland, 2006

We had a great weekend together, but then he went back to London, I went back to New York, and we didn’t speak for what seemed like a long time.

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

Being a photographer, Linda Eastman took a bunch of photos of Paul during this trip. One of them would be used as the cover of her posthumous book “Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs”, released in 2011.

During this American trip, the other Beatles continued the recording of the new album, focusing their efforts on the songs “Revolution 1” and “Revolution 9“. On June 26, Paul would be back in the studio, recording “Sour Milk Sea” for Apple-signed artist Jackie Lomax.

From Twitter – Photo of Paul in Los Angeles in 1968 by Linda McCartney.

Last updated on July 4, 2021

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