World première of Yellow Submarine

6.00pm, Wednesday 17 July 1968 (45 years ago)

The world première of The Beatles’ animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, took place on this evening at the London Pavilion on Piccadilly Circus.

Although the group had largely retreated from the public eye in recent months, with their trip to India and the recording of the White Album, their popularity remained undiminished. As with their previous film openings, large crowds turned out, blocking streets and bringing traffic to a standstill.

George and Pattie Harrison, Ringo Starr and Maureen Starkey, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono all attended.

The only Beatle to arrive alone was Paul McCartney, whose fiancée Jane Asher was absent. Three days later she announced the end of their relationship on BBC television.

Among the other guests were The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, plus members of The Who, Status Quo and Grapefruit.

After the première The Beatles went to a celebratory party at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, where the in-house discothèque was renamed Yellow Submarine for the occasion. It retained the name for several years after.

At the party Paul McCartney spoke to Clem Curtis, lead singer of The Foundations, for whom he promised to write a song.

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