Q: We’ve been told that in England today there’s this Beatlemania going on. What would you say Beatlemania is? That all the girls scream when they see you, and perhaps faint waiting in line. Let’s be immodest a moment. What is the attraction?
George Harrison: I don’t know!
John Lennon: I think it’s that dressing gown.
John: George’s dressing gown is definitely a big attraction.
Paul McCartney: No, I don’t think any of us really know what it is. We’ve been asked this question an awful lot of times, but we’ve never been able to come up with an answer yet, because I think it’s a collection of so many different things, like, happening to be there at the right time, at the right moment. [sings] ‘But the wrong face…’ No, but a little bit of originality in the songs, a little bit of a different sound. I don’t know. It’s an awful lot of things. Maybe the gimmick of the haircut, as well. The luck getting into the national press at the right time. It’s an awful lot of luck.
John: It’s all these things and more!
Q: Well, you mentioned songs. I understand you boys write your own material.
Paul: John and I write them. This is Paul speaking. John and I write.
Q: Paul, yes. How do you think up an idea? Do you get together regularly, or an idea pops in your mind and you say ‘Let’s sit down and do it’?
Paul: Erm, if an idea does pop in your mind, then you do sit down and say ‘Let’s do it,’ yeah. But if there’s no ideas, and say we’ve been told we’ve got a recording date in about two days’ time, then you have got to sit down and sort of slog it out. But you normally get, first of all, just a little idea which doesn’t seem bad. And you go on, and then it builds up from that. It varies every time though, really.
Q: Paul, we’ve seen you here at the Olympia. Can you compare the French audience with what you’re familiar with back in England?
Paul: Well, there’s a lot of difference, because in England the audiences are 75% female. Here, 75% male. And that’s the main difference, really. Because they still appreciate it, but you don’t get the full noise and the atmosphere of a place.
George: No screams.
Q: No screams and fainting. Why is it 75% boys?
George: I don’t know, but I think they don’t let the girls out at night.
John: I think it’s your dressing gown!
George: Somebody said that they still have to have chaperones, a lot of them, you see. Whereas in England they’re out. It’s funny. It’s the same in Germany, all the boys like the rock, and it’s usually the same on the continent. I don’t really know why.
Q: I Want To Hold Your Hand is number one on the hit parade, and we have a copy of it here right now, so let’s sit back for a moment and listen to it.
Q: How did you come to write that, I Want To Hold Your Hand?
Paul: This was one of those songs we were told we definitely had to get down to it. We had to get working. So we went and we found an old disused house. We were sort of walking along one day. We just thought ‘We’ve got to really get this song going.’ So we got down in the basement of this disused house, and there was an old piano there. It wasn’t really disused. It was, sort of, rooms to let. We found this old piano and we started banging away there.
John: And I played organ.
Paul: Yeah. There was a little old organ there too. So we were just having this sort of informal jam session down there. And we started banging away, and suddenly just a little bit came to us. I think it was just the catch line. And so we started working on it from there. We got our pens and paper out, and we just wrote the lyrics down. And, er, eventually you know, we had some sort of a song. So we went back and we played it to our recording manager, and he seemed to like it. So we recorded it the next day.
Q: Do all your songs have a basic theme or story or message?
John: Erm, no.
Paul: That was a quick answer!
Q: That was quick.
Paul: They don’t, but there’s one thing that nearly always seems to run through our songs. People always point it out to us. That’s the ‘I’ and ‘you’ and ‘me’ always seems to be in the title. You know, I want to hold your hand, she loves you, love me do, and things like this. Well, I think the reason for that really is that we nearly always try and write songs which are a little bit more personal than others, you see. So by having these prepositions, whatever you call them, I and me and you in the titles, it makes the songs a little bit more personal. I think that’s the only sort of basic message that does run through our songs.
Q: Now, you coined this ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’. Isn’t that really sweeping England right now?
John: Yeah, well, that was sort of the main catch phrase from She Loves You. But we stuck that on. We’d written the song nearly, and we suddenly needed more, so we had ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’. And it caught on, you know. They use it for… if you’re gonna be ‘with it’ or ‘hip.’
Q: It’s sort of a trademark for you boys now.
John: Yeah, we’ll have to write another song with it.
Q: Paul, what do you think of your trip to the States? I understand in about a week or 10 days you’re going to be on The Ed Sullivan Show. Could you tell us about it?
Paul: Yeah, that’s right. We’re gonna do Ed Sullivan’s show in New York. And we’re taping one for later release, I think. And we’re looking forward to those, and then we go down to Florida, Miami. Can’t wait! And we do another Ed Sullivan there, but I think before that we do Carnegie Hall, don’t we?
The Beatles: Yeah.
Q: How were you selected for Ed Sullivan? Was he in England and caught your act or something?
George: When we were flying back – this is the story we heard – we were arriving from Stockholm into London Airport, and at the same time the Prime Minister and the Queen Mother were also flying out, but the airport was just overrun with teenagers. There was thousands of them waiting for us to get back. And Ed Sullivan was supposed to have arrived at that time and wondered what was going on and, you know, he found out it was us arriving. And also our manager went over to the States with another singer called Billy J Kramer, and he did a couple of TV shows over there. And while he was over there, our manager got the bookings with Ed Sullivan. But he’d also heard of us from this London Airport thing. And that’s about it.
Q: And how about a movie? Is there a movie in the future?
Paul: Mmm, yeah. We’ve been asked by United Artists to do a feature movie.
Q: Will it be dramatic, or just strictly wrap around your singing?
Paul: Oh, we don’t know yet, really, what it’s going to be like. I don’t think we’ll have to do an awful lot of acting. I think it’ll be written ’round the sort of people that we are, and there’ll be four characters in it very like us.
Q: Do you plan to compose two or three songs specifically for the film?
Paul: Actually, we’ve got to compose six songs specifically for the film. We’ve got to get down to that, too. That’s a job.
Q: And you boys really haven’t had much of a chance to see Paris, have you?
George: Not really, no.
Q: What do you think of it so far?
George: Well, it’s nice. Quite nice.
Q: How about the French girls compared to the British girls?
Ringo Starr: Oh, we haven’t seen any yet!
John: Yeah well, I’m married so I didn’t notice ’em.
Q: We’ll go back to Paul, then.
Paul: I think they’re great.
Q: You’re single.
Paul: Yeah. I think the French girls are fabulous.
George: But we have seen more French boys than French girls. So I mean, you know, we can’t really tell.
Q: Well, perhaps when you get to The Ed Sullivan Show there will be more girls for you.
George: I hope so.
Q: Any of you been to America before?
George: Yeah, me. I went in September just for a holiday for three weeks.
Q: Just George Harrison. Well, I see our time is up, boys. Thank you very much, Beatles, for being our guest on AFN this afternoon on Weekend World.
Also on this day...
- 1986: US album release: Live In New York City by John Lennon
- 1969: Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day 13
- 1967: Paul McCartney and Brian Epstein discuss The Beatles’ third film with Joe Orton
- 1964: Live: Olympia Theatre, Paris
- 1963: Live: Assembly Hall, Mold
- 1963: Live: NEMS, Liverpool
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1959: Live: Woolton Village Club, Liverpool
- 1958: Live: The Quarrymen at the Cavern Club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.