Thursday, December 30, 2010
The above photos were scanned by me and taken from various issues of Beatles Monthly, ranging from the first original run all the way to 1999. These photos were all taken backstage (or on stage) at the Brighton Hippodrome on October 25, 1964.
Raging Beatlemania in the UK had been thriving for over a year at this point, and the Beatles were already beginning to tire of the grind of performing, promoting and meeting various celebrities backstage between shows. They were also beginning to show some uneasiness regarding their next single, "I Feel Fine," which was the first sign of doubt they had expressed to Monthly editor Johnny Dean. Dean also witnessed discussions about promoting singles, EPs, concerts, etc., all taking place in the cramped backstage dressing room area. He was also shown the tracklisting for what was to be their next LP - Beatles for Sale.
On this particular occasion, neither John or George were in the mood to entertain celebrity visitors, but Richard Harris and his wife were allowed backstage. Prior to their visit, George had consented to have his palms read by a local fortuneteller, which was captured on film by photographer Leslie Bryce.
Before Mr. and Mrs. Harris entered, John hid under a green plastic mac in the corner, pretending to be asleep. George didn't bother to hide - he just pretended to sleep while the visitors were paraded through the dressing room! Apparently Paul and Ringo were rather reticent with their guests, who quickly decided to exit after procuring autographs from the two "awake" Beatles. As soon as they left, John and George arose to watch television, and the food was brought in, which consisted of basic pub grub: steak, peas and chips.
Their frustration is visible in these photos, as well as their good humor and closeness. I believe it was George who indicated that he always felt sorry for Elvis - there was only one Elvis who knew what it was like to have that level of fame. Thankfully, there were four Beatles who understood what it was like to be in the eye of the hurricane for those wonderfully magical, yet truly overwhelming, years of Beatlemania. They sacrificed their nervous systems and gave the world a chance to go insane! (George Harrison, paraphrased) Thank you, lads.