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Today marked The Beatles’ first visit to India. This was not part of the tour, just a stop-off as they made their way home from the Philippines.

The instigator, naturally, was George, admirer of all things Indian.

Before the tour was planned, I had an arrangement made that on the return journey from the Philippines to London I would stop off in India, because I wanted to go and check it out and buy a good sitar….Somewhere between leaving London and going through Germany and Japan to the Philippines, one by one the others had all sad, “I think I’ll come, too.”

But after their miserable trip to the Philippines, John, Paul, and Ringo were inclined to go straight home. Unfortunately the airline booted them all off the plane, so there they were. Continues George:

It was night-time, and we were standing there waiting for our baggage, and then the biggest disappointment I had was a realisation of the extent of the fame of The Beatles – because there were so many dark faces in the night behind a wire mesh fence, all shouting, “Beatles! Beatles!” and following us.

We got in the car and drove off, and they were all on little scooters, with the Sikhs in turbans all going, “Hi, Beatles, Beatles!” I thought, “Oh, no! Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but Beatles have nowhere to lay their heads.”

This is maybe not entirely accurate, as they did in fact have hotel rooms, to which they eventually made their way. The hotel was of course surrounded by fans, but hopefully they got some rest.

Also worth noting: This day in 1957 marked the first meeting between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, at the Quarrymen’s gig in Liverpool. That was, em, 59 years ago today, if I’m doing the math right. Even then, Lennon stood out from a crowd:

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