Penny Lane

Promotional film • For The Beatles • Directed by Peter Goldmann
Timeline This film has been released in 1967
Release date:
Feb 16, 1967
Filming date:
Feb 05 and 07, 1967
Filming location:
Knole Park, Sevenoaks, UK

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From Wikipedia:

Promotional film

The Beatles’ low public profile since completing their 1966 US tour in late August caused concern for Brian Epstein, their manager, who feared that the band’s popularity might suffer. Wary also of the threat presented by the Monkees, an American television and recording act formed in the Beatles’ image, Epstein conceded to pressure from EMI in January 1967 and approached Martin for a new single by the band. Martin told him that they had recorded “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”, which he considered to be the group’s best songs up to that point.

The promotional film for “Penny Lane” was, together with the clip for “Strawberry Fields Forever”, one of the first examples of what became known as a music video. The films were directed by Peter Goldmann, a Swedish television director, and produced by Tony Bramwell for Epstein’s company Subafilms. The clip for “Penny Lane” includes footage of Liverpool – such as the number 46 bus to Penny Lane, the shelter on the roundabout, and a fireman riding a white horse – but street scenes featuring the Beatles were instead filmed in and around Angel Lane in Stratford, in the east of London. This filming includes the band members riding horses and took place on 5 February. Another street scene features only Lennon, walking along King’s Road, Chelsea among a crowd in a manner that author Robert Rodriguez terms “as if in a nostalgic reverie”.

More filming was done in Knole Park in Sevenoaks, where the clip for “Strawberry Fields Forever” had been filmed the week before. Shot on 7 February, this footage includes further horse-riding scenes, with the band members dressed in matching red tunics, and the closing scene, when they arrive at a table set up in the park, bearing a large candelabra. During the horse ride, they pass by a stage filled with their guitars and drum kit, the latter bearing the familiar Beatles logo. The musicians sit at the table, where they are waited on by two attendants (played by Bramwell and Mal Evans) dressed in Renaissance-era costumes and wigs, and presented with their musical instruments. According to music critic Chris Ingham, the film appears to be “little more than an extra-curricular afterthought” relative to the surreal and experimental “Strawberry Fields Forever” clip. He adds that it nevertheless closes with “another iconoclastic gesture” as Lennon overturns the table and scatters its contents.

In their avoidance of any performance-related content, the clips developed the promotional medium the Beatles had introduced in 1966 with their clips for “Paperback Writer” and “Rain“. According to Hertsgaard, since the band avoided any attempt to play or sing, the clip for “Penny Lane” consists of images that “amplify or somehow comment on” the song’s themes. He says the “most arresting” scenes are Lennon’s walk along the sun-lit city street, the Beatles riding their horses through a stone archway, and the four band members “sitting at an immaculately set table in the middle of a field, where they are served tea in what is very plainly bitterly cold weather”. Journalist and broadcaster Joe Cushley described the film as “Lewis-Carroll-goes-to-Liverpool”. McCartney predicted at the time of the single’s release: “In the future all records will have vision as well as sound. In twenty years time, people will be amazed to think we just listened to records.”

From the liner notes of The Beatles’ 1+ Video Collection, 2015:

Two days after recording some overdubs for ‘A Day In The Life’, The Beatles spent the afternoon ln East London at Angel Lane, Stratford, filming scenes for the video of ‘Penny Lane’. Scandinavian director Peter Goldmann had worked in Swedish TV and was introduced to the band by mutual friend, Klaus Voormann. Peter later told the Swedish magazine Vecko-Revyn, “Everything went so fast, it wasn’t until I sat on the plane for London I realized what I was up to.”

A few days before filming started for ‘Penny Lane’, Goldmann shot a promo for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. Both shoots presented a challenge for everyone involved owing to the Musicians’ Union ban on any action that could be construed as miming. Despite these limitations, both the films Goldmann made were so innovative that neither would have looked out of place on MTV a decade and a half later.

Two days after the East London shoot Goldmann and The Beatles headed to Knole Park, the grounds of a stately
home in Kent, to film scenes of the band horse-riding in the countryside. ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ had been shot at the same location a week earlier. Around this time, Goldmann and his crew (but minus The Beatles) travelled to Liverpool to shoot the sequences near to Penny Lane.

The edit must have been completed quite rapidly because the first known transmission of the ‘Penny Lane’ film
was on the BBC’s JukeBox Jury on 11 February 1967, when an extract of a little over a minute in length was shown. Four days later, the film was broadcast in its entirety on Top of the Pops and on 25 February it aired on
The Hollywood Palace.

On the evening of February 7, once the filming of “Penny Lane” was over, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees visited Paul McCartney’s house in Cavendish Avenue, London.

How in the world could I make something funny, bizarre, clever, crazy, sophisticated enough to satisfy The Beatles? It was in the plane that I came up with the idea of the horses.

Peter Goldmann – From the liner notes of The Beatles’ 1+ Video Collection, 2015

The Beatles have made music into film. Paul and I spoke a great deal about this generation, and we are both convinced that what began essentially as a music form for young people is now for everyone. I received a cable from Mr Epstein and got a plane over to England the same day. Originally, my enthusiasm for presenting English groups on TV in Sweden was fired by Richard Lester’s fine film of The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night. I thought that was fantastic. My first meeting with the group was at Ringo’s house. He was very kind and took me for a walk in his garden with his wife Maureen, and their little white poodle, Tiger. I got my boots all muddy, and Ringo insisted on giving me another pair to replace them. That is really typical of him. I was very happy about working with The Beatles and I wanted to present their new music in an original and interesting manner on TV. I shot ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ in colour, although viewers in the UK will only be able to see them black and white and I am concerned that some of the clever lighting effects will not come off in two tones. Nearly everything went wrong during the filming, but The Beatles were very patient. The horses we got for the ‘Penny Lane’ clip proved to be spirited, and when The Beatles got off them, they just bolted. It took us a couple of hours to recapture them from the far side of the park. Then when I arranged this weird tree piano in a field for the ‘Strawberry Fields’ clip, all the wires we had tied to the branches of the tree broke in a gust of wind, and we had to begin again.

Peter Goldmann – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

I was amazed to find that there was a ban in Britain which prevented The Beatles from miming to their record, but I cannot think that this serves any useful purpose. So I had to find settings and ideas which were sympathetic to their songs without turning them into comic actors. I found Ringo to be very well-informed on camera and photographic techniques, and Paul was a most entertaining conversationalist. The group had all informed me that I was the director and so I must direct.

Peter Goldmann – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

When you filmed your special TV sequences for the new single why didn’t you go up to the actual places mentioned in the songs? Up to Liverpool?

We hadn’t got time, really. We were in the middle of recording more LP material. That was all in the first ten days of February. So the director, a great Swedish bloke named Peter Goldmann, found a place in Kent. Knole Park Estate at Sevenoaks. It was just right for Strawberry Fields and much easier to get to from London. Then they took film shots of the real places in Liverpool to go with the shots of us. All very clever.

Ringo Starr – Interview with The Beatles Monthly Book, March 1967

It was a games afternoon but I was off games due to some ailment and had the afternoon free. It was rumoured that The Beatles were in Knole Park which the school grounds back onto so I thought I would go and take a look.

Sure enough, there they were making, as it now turns out, the first promo pop film for their double A-sided single Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. The Beatles were riding around on horses, pouring paint over a piano and jumping from a branch of dead trees with Lennon singing ‘Hey hey we’re the Monkees’.

As can still be seen on the Penny Lane video the bottle was in an ice bucket on a table with a white tablecloth and candelabras. The four rode up on their horses, dismounted and approached the table. Lennon picked up the bottle and poured for the other three. They were brought their instruments by liveried pages. The Beatles then got up from the table which was overturned by Lennon and McCartney, the bottle was thrown to the ground which is where I retrieved it from.

During breaks in the filming, starting with Lennon I got them to sign the bottle’s label which was not to easy as it was still damp from the ice bucket and also on a curved surface but, they seemed happy to oblige me. I was leaving Ringo until last but unfortunately I never got him to sign and all these years later can’t remember why he never did. Maybe I just ran out of opportunity.

They each had a black Mini Cooper S with blacked out windows which they left the park in at the end of the day. Separately as I recall.

Julian Joseph Sylvester – who was 14 years old in 1967 – From Meet the Beatles for Real: Very Strange…..

From 7 February 1967: Filming: Penny Lane | The Beatles Bible
From 5 February 1967: Filming: Penny Lane | The Beatles Bible
From Filming of the promotional film for the song “Penny Lane” – The Beatles History (
From Rare photo from filming “Penny Lane” – The Daily Beatle ( – As you may know, some of the scenes of the Beatles horse riding in the Penny Lane music video was filmed in Stratford, London – around a street called Angel Lane, February 5, 1967. When they weren’t filming, they used the nearby pub, The Salway Arms as HQ, the pub was located at 31, Angel Lane. Here’s a photo you might not have seen before, of the Beatles with the landlord and his family.

BEATLES: ‘Strawberry’ single all set

BEATLES’ new single, out on February 11, is “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane.” And for the first time since the Beatles began recording, it brings a Liverpool theme into their songs.

For both titles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, are derived from areas of Liverpool.

The single is a double A-side and was one of three planned for their next LP. Manager Brian Epstein told Disc and Music Echo this week: “I feel this is their best single to date.”

The Beatles will be featured on “Top Of The Pops” with special films planned by Swedish TV producer Peter Goldmann, who is flying into Britain specially to film the boys. The films will be distributed to various TV companies.

The first quarter of a million new Beatles singles pressed by EMI will be sent out in special coloured, pictorial sleeve.

Because the two tracks have been taken from the Beatles’ LP recordings, it has not been decided whether to include them on the album.

From Disc And Music Echo – January 28, 1967
From Disc And Music Echo – January 28, 1967

Beatles on ‘Top of Pops’ — date set!

BEATLES are expected on BBC-TV’s “Top Of The Pops” on February 16 to promote their double single “Strawberry Fields For Ever” and “Penny Lane” which is released the next day.

Brian Epstein revealed to Disc and Music Echo that the boys spent Tuesday this week filming in the Kent countryside with Swedish TV film Peter Goldmann. Some of this film will be used for their “Top Of The Pops” appearance. Other clips may also be seen in America.

A TV spectacular featuring the group is to be based around their next album.

On Sunday, Beatles John and Paul joined Epstein in his box at London’s Saville Theatre to watch the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Who.

From Disc And Music Echo – February 4, 1967
From Disc And Music Echo – February 4, 1967


A film clip of THE BEATLES singing “Penny Lane” will not be shown on “Juke Box Jury” this Saturday as the BBC did not agree to show the clip in full. Clips of both titles be shown on “Top Of The Pops” next Thursday (16) but will not be shown this week.

Negotiations are currently in progress for Regional stations such as Southern TV and Granada to show the film clips.

EMI Records announce the renewal of their contract with the Beatles. The new contract for nine years has been signed by Sir Joseph Lockwood, head of EMI Records Ltd and Beatles manager Brian Epstein.

The release of the first Beatle record “Love Me Do” was in October 1962 and that sold 100,000 copies. With the Gold Discs for their several million sellers, total world sales add up to 180,000,000 (that is in converting to single units as an LP counting as 6 singles and an EP as four). The announcement of the new contract ties up with the release of their first single of 1967, on Parlophone, of “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

From Record Mirror – February 11, 1967
From HitParader – July 1967
From Record Mirror – March 4, 1967
From New Musical Express – February 18, 1967
From Fabulous208 – April 22, 1967
From Fabulous208 – May 6, 1967

Last updated on January 21, 2024

Going further

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