Director Seth Swirsky spent eight years collecting Fab memories from dozens of celebs and insiders for his documentary , released with 30 minutes of extra footage to honor the band’s 50th anniversary Oct. 5. Here are the 12 best stories told in the film:
Tony Bramwell, lifelong Beatles friend from Liverpool:
"John and George never, never, ever saw comletely eye to eye. That’s why George always shared Paul’s mike. The Beatles to John were he and Paul. Or he! John lived 30 miles outside London. Paul lived next door to Abbey Road, so Paul used to pop in whenever he felt it. Walked in barefoot anytime, day or night. For John to do something he had to get a chauffeur come pick him up. And he was a lazy bastard anyway. Sorry! What was that song? ‘I’m Only Sleeping?’ He spent a lot of time sleeping."
Iris Caldwell, first girlfriend of George Harrison, sister of rock star Rory Storm, whose drummer Ringo Starr the Beatles stole. She recalls fleeing a rock show when she was a humiliated teenager:
"My brother announced [from the stage], ‘Thanks to our Iris — she’s got a roll of cotton down her bra!’ I ran ou in absolute hysteria. I heard footsteps, and it was George. And he caught up with me — and it was the best kiss ever in my life! And to this day I remember that feeling in my tummy. Nobody ever kissed me like that."
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Sir Ben Kingsley, who composed and performed in the 1966 musical directed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, A Smashing Day:
"John and Ringo were there. John said, ‘You know, you did the best you could with guitar and mouth organ.’ That’s engraved in my heart."
Mark Hudson, producer of a record with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr:
"We do this ‘Whoo!’ and Paul kind of shakes his head and Ringo presses the button and says, ‘Oh, there he goes again with the head shake…you take all the credit for the whoo, but it was really me…I was a drummer, what could I do to get attention but shake my head like this. He picks up on it and next thing I know it’s ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, whoo!’ He stole my head shake!"
Klaus Voorman, lifelong Beatles friend and sideman from Hamburg, who drew the Revolver cover:
"John said, ‘What’s this? You put yourself on that cover too. Naughty boy. Naughty, naughty!’ Always sarcastic, always very witty and very bitey. He was really a rough character. Then I looked at Brian Epstein and he started crying. I said, ‘What the f— is he crying for?’ He said, ‘Klaus, you captured so much of what I feel the Beatles are like. So beautiful.’"
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Paul Salzmann, who met the Beatles in India after his own divorce:
"John said, ‘Ah yes, love can be very tough on us sometimes, can’t it? The really great thing about love, Paul, is, with love you always get a second chance.’" (On the plane home from India, Lennon got drunk and told his wife in brutal detail how he’d slept with a great many of her friends, then divorced her for Yoko Ono.)
May Pang, Lennon’s lover during his "lost weekend" period in Los Angeles:
"For him, it was either the highs or the lows. If it was too middle of the road there was no creativity for him. So it had to be some type of crisis to get him to write…John said, ‘Who was your favorite Beatle?’ And I said, ‘Ringo.’ John was quite upset, actually."
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Art Garfunkel, grilled by Lennon in 1975:
"Incredibly disarmingly, he said to me, ‘Artie, you worked with your Paul recently. I’m getting calls from New Orleans that my Paul wants to work with me and I’m thinking about it, and I don’t know. How did it go when you worked with Paul?’ I said, ‘John, remember that there was a musical blend that was a great kick. if you can return to the fun of that sound and the musical happenings with your old buddy, and ignore the strands of complication and history, what I found with my Paul is the harmony and the shound happenings are a full agenda and they’ll keep you busy and you’ll have fun.’ [Did he seem like he wanted to get back together with McCartney?] I thought he did."
Gerry Beckley of America:
"I told him, I’ve got a song called ‘I Need You,’ and I’d gotten the title from your song ‘I Need You.’ And he said, ‘I got it from somebody else.’ Typical droll George response." (Harrison was sued by the owners of "Hes So Fine" for his similar tune "My Sweet Lord.")
Fred Seaman, Lennon’s assistant:
"John told me if here were an American he would vote for Reagan…on a personal level they got along. They were trading one-liners. But of course Reagan was the guy who had ordered the National Guard to go after the demonstrators at Berkeley…Maybe John forgot about that."
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Frank Gifford, sportscaster:
"I’d invited Ronald Reagan to come to the Monday night game…I’d run into John Lennon at the Beverly WIlshire that afternoon [and invited him too]. During time out, there was the Governor standing in the upper tier. He had his arm around John Lennon and he was explaining American football to John Lennon and they were having a great time. I punched Howard Cosell and he said, ‘Gifford, don’t worry, I’ll take the Beatle, you take the Governor.’"
Denny Laine, cofounder of McCartney’s Wings:
"After John died, the day he died, Paul came into the studio really for therapy. He did say, ‘I’m never gonna fall out with anybody again, just in case this happens.’ We look down and a furniture van goes by with ‘LENNON’S’ on it."