More from year 1968
Aug 06, 1971
Mar 21, 1969
Aug 11, 1968
Apr 19, 1968
Mar 29, 1968
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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.
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
It was also reported that Paul gave impromptu renditions of some of the songs that The Beatles were about to record, for a party of fans gathered outside his Los Angeles hotel (from “The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years” by Barry Miles).
In the evening, Paul and Linda 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 the Beatles Monthly Book, N°61, August 1968:
PAUL was due to fly from London Airport to Los Angeles at two o’clock on Thursday afternoon, June 20. At one o’clock he invited me to go with him which meant delaying our flight until later in the day. We caught a 6 p.m. plane, got to New York seven hours later, switched flights and arrived in Los Angeles in the middle of the night. Third member of the party was Paul’s old friend Ivan Vaughan, the guy who introduced him to John something like 12 years ago in Liverpool.
We went straight to the Beverly Hills Hotel where we shared a vast 3-bed-roomed bungalow—one of a dozen dotted around the grounds of the hotel in amongst the palm trees and other luxuriant Californian greenery.
On Friday morning, still tired but rarin’ to go, we were picked up by Ron Kass (head of Apple Records) for a shopping spree down Sunset Strip. Bought a few jackets and some American sunglasses. A bit later we showed the Capitol Records people the film we’d made of The Beatles in London, a short colour movie designed to promote Apple — and Apple Records in particular — to the salesmen and executives actending Capitol’s big convention. This was the main reason for our trip because during the convention the big announcement was being made that Capitol would be distributing The Beatles’ Apple Records in America.
Other than the heads of Capitol, not a soul knew a Beatie was coming to Los Angeles so we didn’t have any crowd problems to begin with. We were sitting in an ice cream parlour eating giant sundaes. Most of the customers did a sort of double-take but decided that it couldn’t be Paul McCartney over in the corner because The Beatles were 6,000 miles away in London… weren’t they?
Two little girls — I’d say they were 12 or 13 — at the next table scared for a while, played it cool and then paid their bill and left. A minute later they came tearing back for autographs screaming their heads off!
The convention was being held at a very modern new hotel, the Century Plaza, which has a fantastic set of fountains outside. I went over on Friday afternoon to hear the various speeches but Paul stayed back at the hotel because he was to be the Big Surprise. Eventually, as the convention drew to a close, came the special announcement from the stage and Paul was brought on. Imagine the reaction amongst the crowd of about 400 Capitol people when Paul just walked through from the back of the hall. Everyone went berserk and gave him a fine welcome. And the Apple promotion film was screened — showing The Beatles at work in the Apple offices in the recording studios and so forth. And it showed our great new girl discovery, songstress Mary Hopkin which was a great way of introducing her to all those important American record experts.
Saturday was quite hot with the temperature running between 90 and 100 degrees. All day we tried to urge ourselves away from the hotel pool to see the sights but we never did quite make it! Paul bought some orange swim trunks, I bought a movie camera and we let the hours go by beside the blue pool.
Being a busy executive Ron Kass had ail his telephone calls put through to the poolside and PAUL HELPED HIM OUT BY TAKING ALL THE CALLS AND SCREENING THEM BEFORE PUTTING RON ON THE LINE! Paul put on one of his best voice disguises for this and it seems like most callers believed he was Ron’s American assistant! Mind you, one or two recognised his Mersey tones — including The Beach Boys. On Saturday night we went to the home of Capitol’s President for cocktails and then to the record company’s barbecue in the open-air beside the Century
Plaza fountains. Paul signed an autograph for just about EVERYBODY present!
We’d been invited to umpteen clubs and parties but it was impossible to take in the lot. The Byrds were playing at The Kaleidescope, Judy Collins was at The Troubadour. Eventually we went to The Factory for dinner. It’s a discotheque owned by Sammy Davis and various other Hollywood celebrities. Very similar to the better London places but larger—in fact an old factory converted.
From there we went to the Whisky A Gogo to see the blues guitarist Albert King. To our amazement seated at the table next to us were Eric Burdon, Zoot Money, Georgie Fame and at least a dozen London clubbing regulars! We stayed until the end of Albert King’s set and he came over to meet Paul anc have a drink. Naturally word went round the club and all along the Sunset Strip that Paul was there. So by the time we came to leave the Whisky we needed police guards, club stewards, bouncers and all the extra help we could muster to get Paul through the crowd and back into our limo.
Between three and nine we snatched six hours’ sleep but on Sunday morning we couldn’t have stayed in bed because we knew all sorts of interesting plans had been made for us. Ron Kass had arranged for us to go sailing on a luxurious 50-foot yacht belonging to his friends Bilt and Betty Graham. We drove from Beverly Hills to the Marina del Rey — stopping along the way to buy some of those famous “Movie Star Homes Guide Map” things which sell in vast quantities to tourists. We had a quick tour round, gazing at homes which belonged or might once have belonged to famous folk ranging from Andy Williams to Gary Cooper. We got to the yacht at about lunchtime — and had BREAKFAST! With champagne rather than coffee!
The motor on the yacht had broken down so it was completely under sail. To get out of the harbour we had to use ropes, pulling from the opposite side of the dock. Then we spent six lazy well-fed hours just drifting up and down the Californian coast, sunbathing, movie-making and drying up all the champagne bottles.
On Sunday night we’d planned to get around to at least a few of the many parties at which we were half-expected. But the effects of that long 6,000-mile 14-hour flight from London were having their delayed action. So instead we just fell asleep at the hotel. At around seven in the evening!
On Monday the ever-active Ron woke us up with Capitol people to say “Goodbye” to and photographers who were there to do their last pictures. A couple of hundred Beatle People, teenyboppers young and older, had gathered about the hotel by this time.
So Paul sang them a few songs. New ones which are going on the next album the boys are recording right now. So several hundred American fans were used to get first-hand reaction to some of The Beatles’ very newest material. Imagine how they felt about THAT!
We got to the Los Angeles International Airport around noon but found our homeward flight had been delayed. So we waited in the TWA lounge and, while we were sitting there, the rumour started going round that there was a BOMB HIDDEN SOMEWHERE ON OUR AIRCRAFT!!! Indeed it became clear that the authorities were taking it seriously when we were asked if our luggage might be searched. We gladly gave our permission and bought some more insurance!
After nearly four hours the FBI people interviewed us, took names and addresses and asked if we knew any “30-year-old Caucasian who might put three phials of nitro-glycerine on board the plane”! To fill in time we went round the hot dog stall, lunch being long overdue. Inevitably here and in the airport gift shop Paul signed another hundred or so autographs along the way. Still, the delay was worthwhile because we had time to buy gifts we’d forgotten all about. Ivan bought quite a few presents for his children — toy trains, tee shirts and so on.
Wish the visit could have been longer. By chance we’d bumped into no lesser person than Colonel Tom Parker outside our hotel on the Sunday night and he’d given Paul a little bundle of very precious tickets for Elvis’ NBC colour television show due to be filmed the following weekend. And we’d have liked to see Tiny Tim who was doing concerts in Los Angeles when we were there.
Tiny Tim is probably the biggest freak rave thingy on the American scene at the moment. You hear his life-story and his voice on every Top 40 pop station you tune to in California. And we missed a Ravi Shankar concert too. At other times Paul would have stayed for: these three occasions but he had to be back for his “Thingumybob” recording session in Bradford with The Black Dyke Mills Band. So home we came, still very tired but feeling the trip had been more than worthwhile. So has this bit of story-telling and thank you for wacching this space!Tony Bramwell – From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°61, August 1968
Last updated on October 28, 2021
"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!
If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.