We Take A Walk
by guest blogger Obadiah Jones
In the early summer of 1965, a lucky fan ran into a Beatle in the London borough of Marylebone. Three photographs were captured, two landscape shots in colour and one portrait in black and white.
The fan caught Paul McCartney a three- minute walk away from where he resided at the family home of his girlfriend Jane Asher in the garret of 57 Wimpole Street. Having walked up Wimpole Street and turned left on Weymouth Street, Paul had just entered Beaumont Street.
The fan encounter took place outside number one, which at the time (since 1921 and until 1988) was home to Frank A Rogers dispensing chemist.1
Whether or not Paul had been into the chemist is unknown. His north-westerly path took him past the narrow entrance to Clarkes Mews and upward toward Regent’s Park. In later years, when Paul was the devoted owner of sheepdog Martha and Yorkshire terrier Eddie, Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill specifically were almost daily haunts for the bachelor Beatle and his pootling pooches. Whether or not this was his destination on this day is also unknown. Perhaps he knew not where he was going to.
The date these photos were taken cannot be affirmed with any certainty. Of all the Beatles, Paul’s appearance changed the least between 1964 and 1966, making it more difficult to pinpoint dates using the length and style of his hair. However, his clothing and hair do seem to fit a period circa 1965. This was the date proposed for these photos when they were sold by online memorabilia specialists Tracks in 2012. The Beatles had recently wrapped up their second major film Help! and found themselves with precious free time before embarking on a European tour beginning in Paris on 20 June. On 27 May, Paul and Jane took the opportunity to holiday in Albufeira, Portugal, where they stayed at a villa belonging to Bruce Welch of The Shadows. It was during the long car ride from Lisbon that Paul began to solidify the lyrics for ‘Yesterday’, which he would finish up before the vacation was over.2 Jane was also free from professional commitments at this time before rehearsals began for her role as Eliza Doolittle in a production of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion opening at the Palace Theatre, Watford, on 6 July.3 When Paul was summoned back to London on 11 June, however, the trip was cut short a day early. The Beatles had been notified by their manager Brian Epstein that they would be honoured as Members of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth. There was to be a press conference once the announcement was made on 12 June.
In all likelihood, the date of this fan encounter with Paul either happened before the Portuguese holiday or in the short time after it and before The Beatles flew to Paris. These few photographs, captured on an average day in the life of a superstar, provide a small window into Paul McCartney’s life around the time of his twenty-third birthday. Even at the dizzy heights of Beatlemania, a single Beatle was able to walk through Central London more or less unaccosted.
2. Miles, Barry. Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. 1998. p 204.
3. Buckinghamshire Examiner 2 July 1965.
About the author:
Obadiah Jones is a musician and researcher originally from Colorado, based in London. A graduate of The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (BA Hons), where he earned a one-on-one songwriting session with Sir Paul McCartney, Obadiah has been a life-long Beatles fan and has covered every song in their catalogue on his accounts @beatlescovers (Tik Tok) and @thembeatlescovers (Instagram). Obadiah is one half of the acclaimed Country/Americana duo O&O.