In 1965 Pattie Boyd, along with George Harrison and the Lennons, was given LSD by a London dentist, John Riley. The incident took place at Riley’s ground-floor flat at 2 Strathearn Place in Bayswater, London.
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.’
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.
In 1965 Pattie Boyd moved in to Kinfauns, Harrison’s Esher bungalow. In December that year he proposed to her while they were driving in London in December 1965.
They married on 21 January 1966 in a ceremony in Epsom, Surrey. Paul McCartney was the best man, and Brian Epstein also attended; John Lennon and Ringo Starr were on holiday abroad with their wives to distract journalists from the event. Following the wedding the pair spent their honeymoon in Barbados.
In September 1966 Pattie and George flew to Bombay as guests of Indian musician Ravi Shankar. Their interest in Eastern mysticism and belief grew during the trip. Upon their return Pattie attended a lecture on Transcendental Meditation at London’s Caxton Hall, and soon afterwards persuaded George, along with Lennon, McCartney and their partners, to hear the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi speak at the London Hilton on 24 August 1967.
Pattie subsequently accompanied The Beatles as they joined the Maharishi in Bangor, Wales, and again in 1968 when they spent several weeks at his meditation training camp in Rishikesh, India.