18 Jan The 19th of January: Big Day for The Beatles
The 19th of January marks yet another important day for the Beatles, as a number of important events occurred on this day.
Firstly, all the way back in 1963, a show called Thank Your Lucky Stars featured a performance of a song called “Please Please Me” by a new band from Liverpool called the Beatles. This would be the bands first televised appearance in the UK, and it’s success was obvious as within a few weeks the Beatles were performing on US television shows. The song also cemented their status as Britain’s top musicians and Parlophone immediately sent a request for a full album.
Four years later in 1967, following a number of successful albums and now the most successful and well-known pop band in the world, the band began recording “A Day in the Life”, the finale of their Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. This album experienced huge success and is now remembered as one of rock music’s most important albums.
By 1970, John Lennon had met and married Yoko Ono and the Beatles had begun to go their seperate ways, leaving Lennon to found a successful solo career while attempting to keep the Beatles break-up a secret as agreed with Allan Klein and the rest of the band. Frustrated, he set out on the peace campaign in December, focussing on Canada, which was documented by our own Ritchie Yorke. A vast amount of the time Lennon and Yoko spent with Ritchie on Ronnie Hawkins farm had to be spent preparing and signing lithographs intended to be sold in London the following month and planning the future of the peace campaign, although the couple also enjoyed a number of activities and gatherings with friends. The show in which the lithographs were sold ended up being raided and closed down by the British police on the 16th if January, on the grounds of “offensive material”. When asked to comment on the situation, John stated “I don’t care what they do. It’s all a big laugh.” His calmness about the event may also have had something to do with the skyrocketing sales of the lithographs following the raid.
(For more about the peace campaign and the lithographs, click here)
Also on this day, in 1984, Yoko Ono released her new album with John Lennon, Milk and Honey, four years after Lennon’s murder. The project was intended for release many years earlier but was shelved after the death. This would be the eighth and final studio album featuring Lennon’s contributions and the album surged to number 3 in the UK and number 11 in the US, where it went gold.
In 1994, a ceremony was held to induct John Lennon into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Elton John, The Animals, The Grateful Dead and Bob Marley and his Band. Lennon became the second person in the Hall of Fame to be inducted both with his band and as a solo artist. Paul McCartney gave a speech that was emotional and heartfelt, written as a letter to John and recounting their extensive history together as lifelong friends and occasional enemies. The speech is available to be viewed below: