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The Beatles at Their Own Crossroads of Life, August, 1966

Updated on June 10, 2012
John, on the movie set, writing the next Beatle hit for 1967, Strawberry Fields Forever in 1966
John, on the movie set, writing the next Beatle hit for 1967, Strawberry Fields Forever in 1966
John's solo movie career in 1966
John's solo movie career in 1966
Paul's big band film score for the Haley Mills movie, The Family Way
Paul's big band film score for the Haley Mills movie, The Family Way
George in India learning the sitar
George in India learning the sitar

Their story is applicable to all, at any age. Filled with anger, fatigue, boredom, the sense that there must be something else and getting older (they were now 23-26), the Beatles ended their touring concert days in Candlestick Ballpark in San Francisco, August 29, 1966. They would make $50,000 out of a gross of $180,000.

This was the last public concert they would do. This completed over 1400 such concerts and gigs in the past three years. Do the math- they played almost every night or day during that time and had only one week off for vacation during that time. They were all sick of it all. The excitement they once felt for it, vanished in the repetition of material they were tired of, the rushing around the world, the huge fans wherever they went and the problems it created.

They had no life. Both John and Ringo both had two little boys they never saw. They hardly knew their wives. They were fatigued most of all, they all had "had" enough of this. Musically, they all felt numb, playing the same shit that they had now outgrown. It was okay to play She Loves You in 1963-64, but not in 1966. It just seemed silly to them.

The Fall of 1966 saw the band split from one another, each searching for something new and different. Music and their Beatle family was the only thing they knew how to do. It was their life. Yet, they were discontent for the riches they made did not make them satisfied.

John, accepted his first solo and only acting role in the war satire, How I Won the War, directed by Lester, who had made all of the Beatle movies in 1964 and 65. This was acting, no singing. No other Beatles. John's role was not big, but it required six weeks in Spain and Germany for shooting. John took to the role because he seriously thought the band was ending. It had run its course and what else could be? He questioned himself, "what am I going to do with my life"? He belittled his skills, "The only thing I knew how to do was play guitar". As John stated, "I was terrified and scared of the Beatles ending and I didn't have the guts to do it". John searched for answers and like many in other fields of work who try to change careers, one falls back into what they know. For John, it was his new song, "Strawberry Fields Forever", he had created while on the movie set because as John said, " on a movie set, there is plenty of idle time". The song was nothing like the final release, but it gave John light in his darker moment. John's movie was basically a flop. It came and went like wind. It is an interesting watch, though.

Paul, like John, was so sick of the Beatlemania thing. He could still pretend much better than John, but he was burned out. He felt musically, stale. Blah, blah, blah. Paul remained interested in music and veered into writing the film score for, The Family Way, using a big band brass approach that his father enjoyed. It was a new experience for him and far different than him and his mates cranking out a rock number.

George went to India to buy and learn how to play the sitar. While he was there, he was shocked at the incredible beauty and poverty of India as his black Cadillac drove past small towns or stopped in them. While he was somewhat unknown, the masses of people everywhere he went made him feel he was in a real third world country. The experience shook him. George also became keenly interested in eastern religion and stayed there for six weeks roaming about from city to city. As George said later, "For the first time, I was free from being a Beatle".

Ringo stayed in England and was happy as a lark just being a dad and husband. Staying around the house, doing little. He had his house remodeled and then they went to Spain to visit John and sight see.

For the Beatles, September through October, was a breath of fresh air and soul searching. Little did they know some of their best work was around the corner in 1967.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      YES! So did themselves. But, their situation fits everyone that is seeking a change in career for whatever reason-it is NEVER easy to do.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Being a star does have its perks. But there are also sacrifices. Their fammilies really took a huge beating because of their success.