If tomorrow never knows, then you definitely don’t know these things. Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void of trivia.
The Beatles’ “Revolver” was released on this day, Aug. 5, way back in 1966. To celebrate the anniversary of this revolutionarily “weird” album, here are eleven super weird things about The Beatles.
1. The Beatles concerts were said to smell heavily of urine due to overexcited girls.
Multiple people have claimed Beatles shows were known for their urine. Notably, John B. Lynn, son of the owner of a venue The Beatles played, told The Washington Post that the concert hall smelled like the pee of over-excited girls after the show. Bob Geldof told Q Magazine in 2010:
The Beatles was a case of watching females in excelsis. It’s the old cliché, but you couldn’t hear them for all the screaming. I remember looking down at the cinema floor and seeing these rivulets of piss in the aisles. The girls were literally pissing themselves with excitement. So what I associate most with The Beatles is the smell of girls’ urine.
2. George Harrison lost his virginity while the other Beatles secretly watched. They cheered when he finished.
“Tune In,” Mark Lewisohn’s 3,000-page behemoth of a research anthology on The Beatles highlights the following quote from George Harrison:
My first shag was in Hamburg, with Paul and John and Pete Best all watching. We were in bunkbeds. They couldn’t really see anything because I was under the covers but after I’d finished they all applauded and cheered. At least they kept quiet whilst I was doing it.
3. The Beatles officially broke up at Disney World.
In her book, “Instamatic Karma,” and republished in The Daily Mail, John Lennon’s former girlfriend, May Pang, recalled the moment that Lennon officially ended The Beatles:
When John hung up the phone, he looked wistfully out the window. I could almost see him replaying the entire Beatles experience in his mind.
He finally picked up his pen and, in the unlikely backdrop of the Polynesian Village Hotel at Disney World, ended the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in history by simply scrawling John Lennon at the bottom of the page.
4. The Beatles planned to start their own utopian community on Greek islands.
In 1967, The Beatles almost bought an island off the coast of Athens, Greece, where they planned to set up a sort of utopian community with their friends and family. John Lennon seemed to be the one encouraging the plan and said, “They’ve tried everything else. Wars, nationalism, fascism, communism, capitalism, nastiness, religion – none of it works. So why not this?” Barry Miles’ book “Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now,” has a take from McCartney: “It’s a good job we didn’t do it, because anyone who tried those ideas realized eventually there would always be arguments, there would always be who has to do the washing-up and whose turn it is to clean out the latrines.”
Image above is of a different Greek island.
5. A dentist introduced The Beatles to LSD by secretly slipping it into their coffees.
John Riley, the “wicked dentist” as George Harrison described him, introduced Harrison, Harrison’s wife, Patti Boyd, John Lennon, and Lennon’s wife, Cynthia Lennon, to LSD when they were all hanging out. After putting it into their coffees, Cynthia Lennon described the room “as big as the Albert Hall” and George apparently felt as if he was “falling in love” with everyone he met that night. It is unclear whether Harrison and Lennon had been tricked into taking the dose or if they had asked the dentist to dose them when they least expected it. In “The Beatles Anthology,” the incident is recalled by Harrison:
The first time we took LSD was an accident. It happened sometime in 1965, between albums and tours. We were innocent victims of the wicked dentist whom we’d met and had dinner with a few times…
After dinner I said to John, ‘Let’s go — they’re going to be on soon,” and John said ‘OK,’ but the dentist was saying, ‘Don’t go; you should stay here.’ And then he said, ‘Well, at least finish your coffee first.’
So we finished our coffee and after a while I said again, ‘Come on, it’s getting late — we’d better go.’ The dentist said something to John and John turned to me and said, ‘We’ve had LSD.’
I just thought, ‘Well, what’s that? So what? Let’s go!’
6. Soviet Russians had to listen to The Beatles music on converted X-Ray scans.
The music of The Beatles, along with many other Western bands, was banned in the Soviet Union, which made acquiring their vinyl during Beatlemania very costly on the black market and even dangerous. An ingenious workaround was created where music could be cheaply imprinted onto used X-Ray scans, which were taken from hospital dumpsters or bought. These scans were called “music on the bones,” among other nicknames. This practice started in the 1950s, but apparently Beatlemaniacaused these X-Ray records to spike in popularity.
7. After bathing in urinals for almost a year, The Beatles got kicked out of Germany for lighting a condom on fire.
In Hamburg, Germany, the band spent most of 1960 living behind the screen of a cinema called Bambi Kino. Paul McCartney described the situation: “We lived backstage in the Bambi Kino, next to the toilets, and you could always smell them.” Apparently the band was forced to use the urinals for bathing and shaving water. Eventually, George Harrison got kicked out of the country for being underage. The Beatles then made plans to leave the Bambi Kino, but before McCartney and then-drummer Pete Best left, they lit a condom on fire in the room which angered the owner and got them arrested. McCartney and Best were deported.
Later, The Beatles returned to Hamburg and on December 25, 1962, the band ate a horse for Christmas dinner.
8. The Beatles were the first to do many things, including feature the “devil horns” rock hand on an album cover.
The Beatles are credited with being the first to do many things such as printing lyrics on a pop album, creating music videos and holding a stadium concert, but most bizarre is their role in the “devil horns” hand gesture taking off. John Lennon’s cartoon figure on the “Yellow Submarine” cover is apparently the first time the symbol was on the cover of an album and is one of the earliest instances associated with a rock band ever.
9. A teenager in Maryland started Beatlemania in the U.S.
According to legend, Beatlemania taking off in the U.S. can be largely attributed to a 15-year-old Marylander named Marsha Albert. After seeing a news segment about the band, Albert called a local radio station in Washington, D.C., and asked, “Why can’t we have music like that here in America?” The DJ then tracked down a copy of “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” and the station playing the record caused demand to skyrocket and other stations to play The Beatles as well. Worth noting: A DJ namedDick Biondi attempted to make The Beatles “happen” by playing them on stations in both Chicago and Los Angeles but the songs didn’t take off in either city. Perhaps that’s in part because Biondi misspelled the band as “B-E-A-T-T-L-E-S.”
10. John Lennon was day drunk when he first met Paul McCartney.
On July 6, 1957, Paul McCartney met John Lennon of The Quarrymen. After The Quarrymen show, the two ended up playing music together and Lennon was pretty drunk, recalled McCartney:
At Woolton village fete I met him. I was a fat schoolboy and, as he leaned an arm on my shoulder, I realized he was drunk. We were twelve then, but, in spite of his sideboards, we went on to become teenage pals.
They were actually older than 12 though as McCartney was 15 and Lennon 16.
11. The Vatican’s official publication named “Revolver” as the best pop album of all time.
The announcement came in a 2010 article. This is despite the Vatican famously condemning The Beatles for being satanic after John Lennon said the band was “more popular than Jesus.” The Vatican “forgave” The Beatles later in 2010, which Ringo Starr thought was unnecessary.