The day after their arrival in Bangor, north Wales, The Beatles attended an introductory seminar given by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, after which they spoke to reporters.
There was a press conference. It was suggested that as we were going with the Maharishi, it might be a good idea to accommodate the press; it also saved them waiting around outside our windows. I don’t remember that we specifically said that we’d given up drugs – but at the time I think we probably had, anyway.
The seminar was held in the main hall of the Hugh Owen Buildings, now part of Bangor University. Around 300 people attended. Maharishi joined The Beatles for the press conference afterwards, during which they announced that they had given up taking drugs.
George Harrison: LSD isn’t a real answer. It doesn’t give you anything. It enables you to see a lot of possibilities that you may never noticed before, but it isn’t the answer. You don’t just take LSD and that’s it forever, you’re OK. To get really high, you have to do it straight. I want to get high, and you can’t get high on LSD. You can take it and take it as many times as you like, but you get to a point that you can’t get any further unless you stop taking it.
Paul McCartney: You cannot keep on taking drugs forever. You get to the stage where you are taking fifteen aspirins a day, without having a headache. We were looking for something more natural. This is it. It was an experience we went through. Now it’s over and we don’t need it any more. We think we’re finding other ways of getting there.
George Harrison: It helps you find fulfilment in life, helps you live life to the full. Young people are searching for a bit of peace inside themselves.
John Lennon: Don’t believe that jazz about there’s nothing you can do, and ‘turn on and just drop out, man’ – because you’ve got to turn on and drop in, or they’re going to drop all over you.
George Harrison: We don’t know how this will come out in the music. Don’t expect to hear Transcendental Meditation all the time. We don’t want this thing to come out like Cliff and Billy Graham.
After the press conference John Lennon found notes belonging to a reporter in a telephone booth.
It had the heading ‘Paul, George, Ringo, John Lennon and Jagger’ plus details of what each had been wearing. ‘You’ve taken over from me,’ said John to Mick Jagger, pointing out to him how the reporter had named each of them. ‘I just used to be called Lennon when I was wicked. Now I’m John Lennon. I haven’t yet reached the next stage of just being John. You’re still Jagger.’
Riding So High – The Beatles and Drugs
For much more on this subject, don’t miss Riding So High, the only full-length study of the Beatles and drugs.
The book charts the Beatles’ extraordinary odyssey from teenage drinking and pill-popping, to cannabis, LSD, the psychedelic Summer of Love and the darkness beyond, with a far-out cast including speeding Beatniks, a rogue dentist, a script-happy aristocratic doctor, corrupt police officers and Hollywood Vampires.
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Also on this day...
- 2021: Let It Be remix and expanded editions announced
- 2020: John Lennon remix compilation Gimme Some Truth announced
- 1969: George Harrison meets Bob Dylan in Portsmouth
- 1968: Tape copying: Revolution 9
- 1968: US single release: Hey Jude
- 1966: Day off in Los Angeles
- 1964: Live: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver
- 1963: Live: Odeon Cinema, Southport
- 1963: Paul McCartney receives one-year driving ban
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.