How Well Do You Know The Beatles? 20 Lesser Known Trivia Facts

What’s in a Name?

  • Paul and John are imposters! Paul McCartney is actually a pseudonym; Paul’s actual first name is James. Similarly, John paid romantic tribute to Yoko, following their marriage in 1969, by changing his middle name to Ono (it was originally Winston).
  • The Beatles film “‘Help!” was known as “Eight Arms to Hold You” during filming.
  • Many fans have mistaken the lyrics at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” John is, in fact, muttering the words “cranberry sauce” and not “I buried Paul.” It’s said that this mishearing helped circulate the 1969 “Paul is Dead” urban legend that Paul had actually died in 1966 and been cunningly replaced by a look-alike.
The Beatles Band


Credit Where Credit’s Due

  • John and Paul provided (uncredited) backing vocals for the Rolling Stones on their 1967 rock hit “We Love You.”
  • John and Paul wrote every song on the band’s third album “A Hard Day’s Night.” All their other albums featured input from other band members.
  • The 1961 instrumental “Cry for a Shadow” is the only Beatles song credited to John and George. All four band members are credited to just two of their songs: “Dig It” and “Flying.”
  • In between penning songs for the band, both John and Paul managed to find the time to write a number of songs for other artists. These included “Woman” (Peter and Gordon), “From A Window” (Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas), Cilla Black’s “It’s For You” and “Step Inside Love”, “Come and Get It” (Badfinger) and “One and One is Two” (The Strangers with Mike Shannon).
  • Billy Preston is the only artist ever to receive credit for a Beatles track. Taken under George’s wing, Billy played the Hammond organ on “Get Back/Don’t Let Me Down.”
Beatles: Paul George and John


Copycats and Copyrights

  • Inspiration or plagiarism, we’ll never know but both John and Paul laid down demo tracks called “India” which were never released. Similarly, both these two Beatles covered the Fats Domino classic “Ain’t That a Shame” for their solo albums.
  • Both George Harrison and John Lennon got themselves into hot water over plagiarism allegations. George lost his lawsuit, which claimed his “My Sweet Lord” solo was based on the Chiffon’s hit “He’s So Fine.” John got into trouble for “Come Together” which Chuck Berry’s publisher claimed was copied from “You Can’t Catch Me” (1956) and had to settle the matter out of court.
  • Paul’s first self-penned song was called “I Lost My Little Girl,” whilst John’s was “Hello Little Girl.”

Censorship, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll

  • The Beatles were in trouble with the upstanding BBC several times due to their alleged controversial lyrics. “A Day in the Life,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Fixing a Hole” were all censored for alluding to recreational drugs, whilst “I Am the Walrus” was banned for containing the saucy subject of knickers!
  • The Los Angeles Hit Factory studio was the last time that Paul and John played together (in 1974). Apparently, the session was so atrocious (fingers were pointed towards alcohol and drug usage) that the bootleg release was called “A Toot and a Snore in 74.”

Cat fights and Controversy

  • The Sgt Pepper album cover is well-known for its celebrity cardboard cut-outs flanking the four boys. John Lennon wanted Jesus, Hitler and Gandhi to join the happy throng (which included the likes of Marilyn Monroe) but this never became a reality.
  • John, Paul and George had to take over the role of drummer for part of the White Album after Ringo walked out during recording in 1968. Despite being the first member to leave the Beatles, he returned shortly after to find a flower-strewn drum kit waiting for him.
  • There was almost a reunion on the cards in 1979 when Paul, George and Ringo, minus John, played at Eric Clapton and Patti Boyd’s wedding.

Songs and Superstition

  • John Lennon seems to have a spooky connection to the number 9. Not only was he born on the 9th of a month (9th October, 1940), Sean, his son, also shares his birthday (9th October, 1975). He wrote the songs “One After 909” and “Revolution 9” with The Beatles, and a song from his 9th solo album (“Walls and Bridges”) entitled “#9 Dream” was released in September 1974 (the 9th month of the year) and reached 9th position in the American charts. Sadly, number 9 didn’t stay lucky for John as he was assassinated (outside Apartment 72 on New York’s 72nd Street) late on 8th December, which was actually 9th December UK-time.

Behind the Music

  • Disappointingly for Beatles fans, much of the band’s music remains unreleased. “Helter Skelter,” “Carnival of Light” (1967) and an early 1990’s version of Lennon’s “Grow Old with Me” are still hidden in the archives.
  • Did you know that the released version of “Strawberry Fields” was created by melding two separate recordings of the song together? Both versions had different keys and tempos. Despite pioneering a technique way ahead of its time, John was allegedly still not happy with the final result.
  • Jimi Hendrix paid the “single biggest tribute” to the band (said Paul) when he played the title track of “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” on his opening set at the Saville Theatre, London, a mere two days after the album was released.

The Monkees’ Davy Jones Dead at 66

British rocker and former member of The Monkees, Davy Jones, died last Wednesday at his home in Florida. He was 66.

Davy Jones


Jones was once just another aspiring actor/singer. He first tasted success in 1964 after winning a Tony nomination as the Artful Dodger in the long running play Oliver! But all that changed when he was chosen for the rock group that became known to millions through their TV series The Monkees. Davy Jones, a known talent with a studio contract, was cast first as the lead singer. Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith were then brought aboard as the rest of a still-imaginary band. The show ran from 1966 to 1968, and its stylistic flash was successfully imitated and refined in shows such as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and even Sesame Street. Still later, the show’s influence could be seen on MTV, whose showing of The Monkees spawned a new generation of fans.

The Monkees didn’t begin by writing some songs and making demos like so many “real” bands do. They were not like The Beatles, who had played in obscurity for years in clubs and dives while still in their teens, doing auditions hoping to be discovered but instead being rejected. Yet in spite of its artificial roots, the studio-created Monkees sold millions of records to real fans who enjoyed their music and their show. This set the pattern for other media creations that start in one art form, like music, and then reinvent or expand themselves into another one, like acting. Justin Bieber’s career is the latest example, only for Davy Jones at the peak of his and his group’s popularity; it was many times more intense. The semi-imaginary world of four semi-fictional musicians living their semi-hallucinatory lives not only struck a chord with young viewers and listeners, but adult critics as well, who were impressed as observers, if not as fans.

In the ‘60s, when an act did catch on (if it could break into AM radio), it could become a monster like the kind never seen today and perhaps will never be seen again. If you lived through it, you remember that The Monkees posters and stickers were everywhere and sold by the millions, right along with The Monkees singles and albums, which played endlessly on the radio. For a brief period, their comet threatened to outshine the Beatles. The Monkees are the only artists to have four No. 1-selling albums in the same year, and sold 12 Billboard Top 40 singles, including I’m a Believer, I Wanna Be Free, Daydream Believer, Last Train to Clarksville, and Stepping Stone. The Monkees went on to earn two Emmys.

It’s not surprising that Davy Jones fans are buying up all the Monkees T-shirts. After all, it’s the perfect pop-culture homage to one of the most popular icons of pop culture, someone who grew up in it and wore it well.