Filming: Paperback Writer, Rain

Studio One, EMI Studios, Abbey Road

For the imminent release of the ‘Paperback Writer’/‘Rain’ single, The Beatles were unwilling to appear on television for promotion. Instead, they took part in a two-day shoot which resulted in a total of seven promotional films for the songs.

This first day’s filming took place in Abbey Road’s Studio One; the following day they went on location at Chiswick House, London.

The Beatles film promos for Paperback Writer and Rain, Abbey Road, 19 May 1966

The crew was supplied by InterTel (VTR Services), and the director was Michael Lindsay-Hogg. The producer was Tony Bramwell. Video tape was used on this first day, while the following day’s footage was shot on film.

The idea was that we’d use them in America as well as the UK, because we thought, ‘We can’t go everywhere. We’re stopping touring and we’ll send these films out to promote the record.’ It was too much trouble to go and fight our way through all the screaming hordes of people to mime the latest single on Ready, Steady, Go!. Also, in America, they never saw the footage anyway.

Once we actually went on an Ed Sullivan show with just a clip. I think Ed Sullivan came on and said, ‘The Beatles were here, as you know, and they were wonderful boys, but they can’t be here now so they’ve sent us this clip.’ It was great, because really we conned the Sullivan show into promoting our new single by sending in the film clip. These days obviously everybody does that – it’s part of the promotion for a single – so I suppose in a way we invented MTV.

At 10am a camera rehearsal took place. The first colour performance of ‘Rain’ was filmed, after which The Beatles watched a playback to see the results. From 1.10-2pm they filmed a colour performance of ‘Paperback Writer’.

Both these colour clips were for the US market, and had their première on The Ed Sullivan Show on 5 June 1966, along with a greeting filmed by The Beatles on this day between 6.15pm and 6.30pm.

After lunch The Beatles recorded black-and-white footage for UK viewers, two for ‘Paperback Writer’ and one for ‘Rain’, between 3.30pm and 6.15pm.

The first black-and-white clip of ‘Paperback Writer’ had its television début on Saturday 25 June in Goodbye Lucky Stars, the final edition of the long-running music show Thank Your Lucky Stars.

The second black-and-white performance of ‘Paperback Writer’, along with the one of ‘Rain’, were first shown on Ready Steady Go! on Friday 3 June, which was the first time the programme had broadcast footage not from its own studio.

Last updated: 6 June 2020
Recording, mixing: Got To Get You Into My Life
Recording: For No One
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