Paul McCartney marries Linda Eastman

Wednesday, March 12, 1969

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On this day, Paul McCartney & Linda Eastman were married in a small civil ceremony at Marylebone Town Hall, London. From TheGuardian, March 13, 1969:

Beatle Mr John Paul McCartney, 26, and a millionaire, finally waved a wintry farewell to his bachelor freedom yesterday. He married Miss Linda Eastman, 27 […] Anyway it rained, and this was appropriate: the pavements outside Marylebone register office would have been wet in any case with the tears of fans thrown by the sudden reality of having failed to become Mrs McCartney.

What a sad day for these poor fans it was, not to mention the hundred or so reporters and photographers who stood outside Marylebone town hall for four hours in the rain. It began to get sad at seven in the morning. No announcement was ever made of the time or date of the wedding.

By the magic hour of ten, a sort of guard of honour had formed up on the steps of the town hall, consisting of rain-soaked journalists, old ladies trying to wield umbrellas and cameras at the same time, younger fans moaning and weeping and hanging on to each other’s arms and making catty comments about the bride, and a middle-aged man who kept shouting, “The Beatles are rubbish,” and then dodging hastily.

Paul, of course, wasn’t there to hear it. He had gone in by a back door, wearing a dark suit, a yellow kipper tie, and a floral shirt. Miss Eastman went in with him, wearing a yellow coat over a fawn dress. So did Heather – Miss Eastman’s daughter by a previous marriage, holding a posey of freesias.

This was at 9 50. An hour later the couple came to the window of a front room in the town hall to smile into camera lenses, but the most intense of the fans weren’t smiling. They had jammed themselves against the side of the big black Daimler in which the couple were to depart, and were rebelliously singing as many Beatle songs as they could remember, which mercifully wasn’t many. They also improvised one of their own, beginning, “Oh, Paul, we love you, yes, we do.” The police tried to move them on.

The atmosphere now had something of the air of a Grosvenor Square thump-up, the faintest trace of a prayer meeting, and a tangible suggestion of a communal suicide pact. Down the town hall steps came the happy couple, throwing the freesias to the crowd as police wrenched open the door of their car. […]

There was a luncheon reception afterwards at the Ritz Hotel given by Rory McKeown. Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon were there, as well as George and Patti Harrison. After the reception Paul returned to the studio to continue work on ‘Thumbin’ A Ride’.

Miles, Barry. The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years (Kindle Locations 8833-8834). Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

From Bribes.com

The three other Beatles didn’t participate to the celebration. Here are two different explanations Paul has given over the years.

I really don’t remember whether or not I invited any of the band to the wedding. Why not? I’m a total bastard, I suppose – I don’t know, really. Maybe it was because the group was breaking up. We were all pissed off with each other. We certainly weren’t a gang any more. That was the thing. Once a group’s broken up like that, that’s it.

Paul McCartney, in Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, by Barry Miles, 1998

John, George and Ringo weren’t at the wedding, which might have been because of the tensions of the time, or because we decided to do it quickly. It seems like an important point now but it wasn’t at the time – it was just the two of us wanting to get married quietly. My dad wasn’t there either – I’m not sure he was pleased with me about that, but my best excuse was that it was the spirit of the times. We didn’t want a big fuss.

Paul McCartney, Wingspan, 2002

As Paul also remembered, the wedding was nearly called of, the day before:

We were crazy. We had a big argument the night before we got married and it was nearly called off. We were very up and down, quite funky compared to the eventual image of ’25 years of married bliss! Aren’t they lucky for people in showbiz?’ But we are. You get this picture of us swanning along in a little rowboat managing to avoid the white water, but we were right in the middle of that white water, man, so it’s even more miraculous that we made it. But we did.

Paul McCartney, in Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, by Barry Miles, 1998

Paul and Linda McCartney were married for almost 30 years until Linda’s death in 1998.

From Twitter
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From New Musical Express, March 15, 1969

Tuesday, 11 March Paul announces he is to marry Linda Eastman tomorrow … Paul “You’ll have to be up early if you want to catch us.”

Badman, Keith. The Beatles: Off the Record . Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°69, April 1969

Press release “Beatle Paul to marry: Paul McCartney, aged 26, is to marry Miss Linda Eastman today at Marylebone Register Office, W1. Miss Eastman, a professional photographer, who is 27, is a member of the Eastman–Kodak family. She has a daughter, Heather, by her first marriage. Last night, a group of teenage girls waited outside Mr McCartney’s home in Cavendish Avenue, NW. When he arrived in his car, three police cars accompanied him. A policeman said they had been asked to clear the pavement, but there was no trouble.”

Badman, Keith. The Beatles: Off the Record . Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

Reporter “As a hint to the press, he told us not to arrive at Cavendish Avenue before 9am. But, at 7am, the first reporter and photographer had arrived. Mr McCartney and Miss Eastman, with Heather, aged six, arrived at Marylebone’s register office shortly before 10am and entered the office, in the town hall, by a side door, to foil the press and enthusiasts. About 300 of them, nearly half of them from newspapers and television, waited for hours in the cold, driving rain. While the wedding party was inside the building, the teenagers made their presence felt. A group of girls, who had pledged their lives to Paul, and were feeling a sense of betrayal, ran through The Beatles’ repertoire more than once. They wistfully sang, ‘How I long for yesterday’, and frequently sang their own words, ‘Oh, Paul, we love you’, to a Beatles tune.”

Paul and Linda’s 9.45am service is held up by the non-appearance of his brother, Mike McGear of The Scaffold, who is on his way from Birmingham, where his group had given a cabaret concert the night previous. Paul keeps the waiting contingent amused by singing ‘The Stars And Stripes’ …

Mike McGear “The wedding was arranged for 9.45am, and my train was due in at Euston at 9.05, except, of course, that it broke down and British Railways had to put on a new engine. So, by the time I had arrived at Euston, about 10.30am, I had given up on the train and I knew that I couldn’t possibly make it. I thought that there would be no point even bothering to go to the registry office as I knew he had somebody else there who could stand in for me as one of his two witnesses.”

Paul and Linda’s signatures on the wedding certificate are partly obscured by an enormous, half-inch smudge of ink …

Mr E. R. Sanders, the registrar “It was their fault. Paul was using the Superintendent’s pen, which seemed to be leaking.” The service is over and, before they can return to Paul’s home in St John’s Wood, the newly married couple are forced to face a huge crowd, which has massed outside …

Badman, Keith. The Beatles: Off the Record . Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

Reporter “A dozen policemen tried to fend off teenagers, outstretched hands and microphones, as the couple made their way to the car. A rubbish bin went flying, feet were trampled, the teenagers screamed shrilly and poor Heather, looking bewildered, was carried in the arms of a policeman. For two girls, it was no less than the end of the world, as they broke down and screamed hysterically, inconsolable. He received the press treatment befitting his status, and was speeded on his way by the teams of young supporters who loved him to the last. Linda was wearing a daffodil-yellow coat over a fawn dress, and looked very pretty. Paul was wearing a dark-grey suit with a white shirt and a yellow tie.”

Badman, Keith. The Beatles: Off the Record . Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

Last updated on October 31, 2021

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