The Beatles are credited with being the first to do many things such as printing lyrics on a pop album, creating music videos and holding a stadium concert, but most bizarre is their role in the “devil horns” hand gesture taking off. John Lennon’s cartoon figure on the Yellow Submarine cover is apparently the first time the symbol was on the cover of an album and is one of the earliest instances associated with a rock band, ever.
On This Date, June 19th in 1967: Paul McCartney was the first British pop star to publicly admit using LSD, in chatting with a reporter who had inquired about it. Paul’s LSD quote appeared in Queen, a UK-based magazine at the time. The quote was also then reprinted by Life magazine in their June 1967 feature, ‘The New Far-Out Beatles: They’re grown men now and creating extraordinary musical sounds’ by Thomas Thompson.
In both articles, Paul McCartney was quoted as saying, “After I took it (LSD), it opened my eyes. We only use one-tenth of our brain. Just think what we could accomplish if we could only tap that hidden part. It would mean a whole new world.” ITV seized the opportunity to interview Paul about this public admission. The controversy would become a springboard for discussing the responsibilities of celebrities and journalists. The interview was filmed by ITV on June 19th 1967, in Paul’s backyard garden on Cavendish Avenue, and would be telecast in Britain later that evening. Paul had just celebrated his 25th birthday the previous day. The Beatles‘ latest LP Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was number one on the album charts – released less than three weeks prior on June 1st.
Just when you think you know everything there is to know about The Beatles, Neatorama runs a post with a few cool stories behind different Beatles album covers. I especially love this one about HELP!, a film and album which already hold so many cool memories for me:
For the HELP! photo shoot, photographer Robert Freeman warmed up by shooting publicity stills of the band playing around in the Austrian snow. In the process, he realized that their arm motions reminded him of semaphore, a system of emergency naval communications using waving flags. Because the album title was conveniently four characters long, the photographer had each member of the group spell out a letter using the code. However, Freeman found that the arm motions for H-E-L-P were much less aesthetically pleasing than the positions for N-U-J-V, so he decided to use those letters instead.
Read more stories behind the covers for The White Album, Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road at This Link.
On This Date, March 4th in 1966: Despite ample album sales to support his argument, John Lennon’s assertion that The Beatles “are more popular than Jesus” sparks widespread outrage. Lennon later apologized.