French Conquered!

The following article appeared in New Musical Express on January 24, 1964, page 3

Paul McCartney was singing at the piano-putting the finishing touches to a song he had been writing with John Lennon for Billy J. Kramer. In another room, George Harrison listened attentively at manager Brian Epstein played him the first tapes of a new record by another of his artists, Tommy Quickly-the song (for which George nodded his approval) had been written by Gerry Marsden. It was just 5 o'clock in the morning in The Beatles' enormous suite at the George Cinq Hotel in Paris - writes Chris Hutchins.
Yes, at 5 am last Saturday the night was still young for these phenomenal music-makers and likely hits of tomorrow were being created when most people had already been in bed for several hours.
The piano Paul was playing had been specially moved into the palatial suite (Paul Anka stayed here) to aid him and John in their songwriting, but others in the hotel were obviously not so appreciative of the young composers judging by the appearance at 5.20 am of a complaining hall porter.
Our party was a small but active one, each person engrossed in his activity. John dressed in a bath robe after his early moring bath, was absorbed in reading one of the half-dozen copies of last week's NME specially flown out at the Beatles' request.
Ringo had left the hotel an hour before to attend a party.
The Beatles' suite at the George Cinq is costing them 50 pounds a day-food exclusive.
The boys always eat in the suite of their hotel. They invariably order stacks, but have taken to a special sweet that was their own idea-fresh peaches in champagne. Around four each morning they order fried eggs, toast and coffee.
And that's when I began to write this story, recalling to mind the events of 36 hours which had already passed.
If the dres-suite, first-night audience at Paris Olympia on Thursday had given The Beatles anything less than the tumultuous acclaim to which they are now accustomed, then the spectacle of the group of photographers fighting backstage to force their way into the boys' dressing-room certainly made up for it.
From a secure position at the back of the dressing-room I watched bewildered as The Beatles' team of assistants struggled to hold back the cameramen while the boys themselves cheered on both sides of the battle.
Road managers Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans kept up a fierce struggle with the photographers-a scene which was later shown on TV news bulletins in several countries throughout the world.
But Friday night was "V" night for The Beatles when they took by storm their first all-teenage audience at the famous Parisian theatre. French audiences for this kind of show are largely made up of boys, so screams were conspicuously absent for The Beatles-though cheers from their new-found fans were sufficiently deafening to make up for that.
As George said to me later: "It's a bit strange having them clap through every single number, but the no-screaming bit does help up to hear each other's voices occasionally."
Within three short days The Beatles had undoubtedly conquered Paris. On Wednesday they had been able to go "on location" in the streets of Paris with some photographers.
By Saturday the gendarmes were having to seal the whole street in which the Olympia stage door lies by lining up across the road at times of their arrival and departure.
Back in the George Cinq an odd package arrived for George. The day he was quoted in a national newspaper as saying he would have preferred an egg sandwich to the caviar that was served on the plane going across, he received a small parcel which had been placed on a later plane and delivered by taxi to the hotel. It contained egg sandwiches, sent with compliments of the Egg Marketing Board of London!
The black leather hat John had made at a women's fashion shop in Chelsea rarely leaves his head now when he goes out of doors-it makes an odd combination with his sunglasses and black leather overcoat.

Email Sarah

Return to Vintage Articles & Interviews


Hosted by