The Teenage Girl Who Bawled Out John Lennon

beatles-partyIn 1967, the Beatles filmed their only made-for-TV movie.  It was called “Magical Mystery Tour“.  The film itself is an interesting, checkered, odd little movie directed and edited by the Beatles themselves.

It was, basically, the boys riding out in the country on a “magical mystery tour” bus with an eclectic bunch of characters.  They just rode around and filmed whatever random adventures they got into.  It also featured a few “sketches” written by the Beatles.  It is a crazy quilt pastiche.

The film was a huge flop when it was first shown on TV- the Beatles’ first unqualified failure.

Five days before the showing of “Magical Mystery Tour”, on December 21, 1967, the Beatles had their annual holiday party, but with a twist.  At John Lennon’s suggestion, they decided to hold a “Magical Mystery Tour” party instead.

The Beatles, their wives (and Paul’s then girlfriend, Jane Asher), the staff of their “Apple” organization, various friends and family members attended.

The invitation read “Magical Mystery Tour Fancy Dress Party”.  (In other words, it was a costume party.)

The costumes the Beatles and their mates showed up in were quite fascinating.  John Lennon came as a fifties-type rocker, complete with greased-up hair and leather jacket- à la early Elvis.  His then-wife, Cynthia, came as a Victorian lady.

Paul came as “the pearly king” and Jane Asher came as “the pearly queen”.

Ringo was a regency chap and his wife, Maureen, was an Indian maiden.

George came as a dashing Errol Flynn-type swashbuckler.

And last, but certainly not least- George’s wife, Pattie, came as an “eastern princess”.  More accurately, Pattie was dressed in a very skimpy, veiled costume- essentially a belly dancer.

A pleasant time was being had by all, but John Lennon had, shall we say, a few too many.  Lennon was, by all accounts, a terrible drunk and on this night John was chugging them down.

Pattie Harrison (who incidentally was the inspiration for Eric Clapton’s “Layla” song) was an ex-model and is usually acknowledged as the most beautiful of all the Beatle wives.  The fact that she, like many women at costume and halloween parties, went all out and was dressed up in an incredibly sexy outfit, resulted in the inebriated Lennon being “all eyes”.

Accounts of the party say John was leering, ogling and flirting with Pattie from the word go, and it wasn’t appreciated by George or Cynthia…  It got a bit embarassing.

According to party goer Pete Shotton (former member of The Quarrymen),

An unpleasant scene developed towards the end of the party, when the band, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, took the stage and most of the guests paired off to dance. Totally ignoring Cynthia, who was decked out for the occasion as a fairy princess, John instead lavished all his attentions on Pattie Harrison, with whom he actually went so far as to dance, probably for the first time in about five years.

Cynthia stated,

John made a bee-line for Pattie, who was looking incredibly sexy in an eastern dancer’s seven-veils-and-not-much-else outfit. John hogged Pattie for quite a time and I was left sitting primly and stiffly, very much out in the cold.

Another attendee at the party was 19-year-old singer-actress, Lulu.  Lulu had recently made a splash thanks to the movie “To Sir, with Love”, and she had a hit record with the same title.  She was a friend of the Beatles and she came dressed as a Shirley Temple-type little girl, complete a curly blonde wig and a huge lollipop.

After a few hours of watching John ignore his wife and drool over Pattie Harrison, Lulu got fed up and finally let loose.  As John was sitting, Lulu stood over him and gave him a very severe scolding, right in front of everyone.  Incredibly, Lennon, who feared no man (or woman) just sat there, timidly, and let Lulu publicly berate him about ignoring his wife in favor of another’s.

Cynthia was to write about the strange, unprecidented incident in her autobiography,

It was such a lovely sight, Lulu cornering John and giving him what for. John was much taken aback by Shirley Temple’s serious lecture on how to treat his wife.

John reportedly just sat quietly and contritely, with his head down, like a little boy being scolded by his mother.  Unfortunately, no photographs survive documenting this surreal incident, but there are a few scattered photos from the “Magical Mystery Tour” party itself.

The most famous one is of John, holding a glass of wine, along with Paul and Ringo and their mates.  Oddly, three of the night’s four main characters are not featured in the picture.  George, Pattie and Cynthia are nowhere to be seen.

One can surmise George and Pattie may have left the party early.  Or maybe, they just stayed away from John for the remainder of the night.

Ditto for John’s poor wife, Cynthia.

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  • Lennon’s uninhibited actions have acquired him an iconic status,he was one of a kind,less seen.

  • John always seemed very self-assured on the surface but full of insecurity not far beneath it.