Pattie Boyd

Pattie Boyd met George Harrison in 1964 on the set of the A Hard Day’s Night film. They married on 21st January 1966.

George and Pattie Harrison, 1966

We got on a train at Marylebone Station one day and the train took off – and suddenly we were in a film! And in the film there were little schoolgirls in gym-slips, who were actually models, and we were quite fascinated with them – George even married one: Pattie Boyd.
Paul McCartney
Anthology

She was born Patricia Anne Boyd on 17 March 1944, in Taunton, Somerset. The eldest of four siblings, Boyd attended convent boarding schools until 1961, and moved to London the following year.

Boyd began modeling in 1962, but was rejected by many photographers because of her unusual looks. She went on to model in London, New York and Paris, and was photographed by David Bailey and Terence Donovan; Twiggy later said she based her look on Boyd’s.

Boyd met George Harrison in 1964, when she was 19, after being cast as a schoolgirl fan in the film A Hard Day’s Night. At the time she was in a relationship with another man, Eric Swayne, and initially declined Harrison’s request for a date.

On first impressions, John seemed more cynical and brash than the others, Ringo the most endearing, Paul was cute and George, with velvet-brown eyes and dark chestnut hair, was the best-looking man I had ever seen. At a break for lunch I found myself sitting next to him. Being close to him was electrifying.
Pattie Boyd
Wonderful Tonight

One of the first things he said to her was “Will you marry me?” When she laughed, Harrison said, “Well, if you won’t marry me, will you have dinner with me tonight?” Several days later, again on the film set, he asked her out once more and she accepted, having by then ended her relationship with Swayne.

Their first date took place at the Garrick Club, a private gentlemen’s club in Covent Garden, London. Also present was The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, as Boyd later recounted in her 2007 autobiography Wonderful Tonight.

George and Pattie Harrison with Brian Epstein, 1966I didn’t resent [Brian's] presence on our first date – he was good company and seemed to know everything about wine, food and restaurants.

And perhaps if George and I, two young, shy people, had been on our own in such a grown-up restaurant, it would have been too intense.

As it was, we had a lovely evening and sat side by side on a banquette listening to Brian, hardly daring to touch each other’s hand.

Pattie Boyd
Wonderful Tonight

George and Pattie Harrison, 1966Boyd and Harrison quickly became an item, and in May 1964 they went on holiday to Tahiti for four weeks with John and Cynthia Lennon. It was an attempt to escape from the pressures of Beatlemania, and each of them traveled under a false name – Boyd was Miss Bond, the girlfriend of Mr Hargreaves.

Cynthia and Pattie had long black wigs which they wore as disguises. John and I put their wigs on, and our oilskin macs, and made a little 8mm film about natives on an island with a missionary, John, who comes out of the ocean to convert them.
George Harrison
Anthology

In 1965 Boyd, along with Harrison and the Lennons, was given LSD by a London dentist, John Riley.

He and his girlfriend invited John, Cynthia, George and me to dinner at his house in Hyde Park Square one evening some time in 1965. We knew him quite well and had been to a few clubs with him in the past. The four of us drove to London in my little Mini Cooper S – George had bought me a fabulous orange one for my birthday.

We had a lovely meal, plenty to drink, and at the end George said, ‘Let’s go.’ We were planning to see some friends playing at the Pickwick Club.

John Riley’s girlfriend jumped to her feet. ‘You can’t,’ she said. ‘You haven’t had any coffee yet. It’s ready, I’ve made it – and it’s delicious.’

We sat down again and drank the coffee she was insistent we should have. But then we were really keen to get away and John Lennon said: ‘We must go now. These friends of ours are going to be on soon. It’s their first night, we’ve got to go and see them.’

And John Riley said, ‘You can’t leave.’

‘What are you talking about?’ said John Lennon.

‘You’ve just had LSD.’

‘No, we haven’t.’

‘Yes, you have,’ said our host. ‘It was in the coffee.’

Pattie Boyd
Wonderful Tonight

Of the group, only Lennon had heard of the drug before, and none knew precisely what to expect. They all became determined that they didn’t want to remain at Riley’s house, and traveled into central London to the Pickwick Club, and later the Ad Lib.

We were desperate to escape. Riley said he would drive us but we ignored him and piled into my Mini, which seemed to be shrinking. All the way to the club the car felt smaller and smaller, and by the time we arrived we were completely out of it.

People kept recognising George and coming up to him. They were moving in and out of focus, and looked like animals. We clung to each other.

Soon we moved on to a different club which we knew – we thought we might feel better in familiar surroundings. We walked to the venue and I remember trying to break a window on the way.

The club was on an upper floor and we thought the lift was on fire because there was a little red light inside. As the doors opened, we crawled out and bumped into Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull and Ringo. John told them we’d been spiked. The effect of the drug was getting stronger and stronger, and we were all in hysterics.

When we sat down, the table elongated. Hours later we decided to go home. We climbed into the car again and this time George drove – at no more than 10mph all the way to Esher – but it felt as though he was doing 1,000mph.

At one point, I saw some goalposts and said: ‘Let’s jump out and play football.’

The journey took hours and it was daylight by the time we got home. We locked the gates so that the cleaner wouldn’t come in and find us. The drug took about eight hours to wear off, but it was very frightening and we never spoke to the dentist again.

Pattie Boyd
Wonderful Tonight

4 Responses to “Pattie Boyd”

  1. AlfinaHawaii

    My GOD… this George with Maureen thing is just flat out childish! And Pattie’s reaction was almost equally childish – which was, unfortunately, not much of a surprise to me.

    I could just imagine the “temperature” of the Beatles inner circle back in 1968-1969. John and Yoko were making a saga; George was having drunken fling with his best friend’s wife.

    Whether it is true or not, I feel I can imagine why Paul shied away from the marriage issue at the time.

    I can’t help it – I have to applaud Paul for getting the “itches” out of his system by playing the fields before tying his first knot with Linda.

    Reply

Leave a reply