What we did on our holidays

After the intensive five month sessions that produced the “White Album” (and nearly broke up the group in the progress) The Beatles once more took an extended holiday break, going all their individual ways.

Characteristically Ringo stayed at home doing very little apart from searching for a suitable film role.

John took heroin with Yoko Ono and made some rather dubious art while at it. (Their appearance in the Rolling Stones’ Rock And Roll Circus TV special was an unexpected higlight – even though it went officially unseen for the next 30 years.)

Paul took a more traditional holiday in the sun of Algarve, Portugal. After a particularly merry night out he returned to his hotel, La Penina, and ended up not only playing the drums with the hotel’s band but also donated them a song! Well, calling “Penina” a song may be a bit of an exaggeration – perhaps “a song idea” or “a rough draft for a song” would be more precise – but the group leader Carlos Mendes was more than happy to record the number anyway. It was also recorded by a Dutch group Jotta Herre for an international release, but neither version made much impact anywhere. Apparently Paul thought so little of the ditty that he even failed to inform his music publisher that one of his unpublished songs was being recorded all over Europe! Thus it wasn’t until a decade later when EMI included Mendes’ version on the “Songs Lennon & McCartney Gave Away” LP that most people heard – or even heard of– “Penina.”

Both versions are available on EMI Portugal’s “All You Need Is Lisboa” – a CD of Portuguese Beatles covers, a fascinating look into what was essentially a developing pop music country at the time. Oh, and Macca can be head running through the number on some … ahem … unofficial “Let It Be” era recordings.

George, the junior Beatle often looked down by his fellow group members, spent his holidays hanging out with some heavy musical friends of his, including Bob Dylan and the Band – and enjoyed the respect he got from them to no end. He was also there to help his guitarist mate Eric Clapton write a song that was required for the final LP of his group Cream. George was also the one with a pen and paper with him and when he wrote down “bridge” to mark the song’s middle section, Clapton sitting opposite to him asked: “What’s that? A badge?” So the song got named “Badge.” Funny lads, them. Reportedly a drunken Ringo walked in midway through and contributed the line about swans living in the park (He never got a credit for it. Sue ’em, Richard, sue ’em!) “Badge”, as relasead on Cream’s “Goodbye” LP, is certainly a classic piece of late sixties Beatlesque pop and was also a moderate hit when released as a 45. George played a bit of guitar on the record, billed as “L’angelo Misterioso” but the extremely Harrison sounding leslie guitar brake in the song’s badge…er..bridge is actually Clapton’s imitation of Harrison’s style!

The “Goodbye” LP has been reissued numerous times and “Badge” can also be found on countless compilations. But you already have it, don’t you?

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Published in: on November 15, 2007 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

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