So was today a lucky or unlucky day? The date was 7/21, and those are good lucky numbers, but the year was 66, which seems like bad news.

These are the kinds of things I find myself thinking about, thanks to the dearth of actual information about what The Beatles were up to during these midsummer weeks. All my sources have been coming up empty; for today the best I could manage with was this excerpt from anthology called The Beatles Are Here!: 50 Years after the Band Arrived in America, Writers, Musicians & Other Fans Remember. It was written by one Mary Norris, who apparently was a big Paul fan:

July 20, 1966—Wed. Paul really did chip his tooth! What’d I tell you! I love him more than ever! And I’m gonna write him a letter & tell him so! He flipped off his motorbike & had to get stitches in the mouth! Sweet.

July 21, 1966—Thurs… Wrote Paul a letter. I keep thinking about his tooth!

The chipped tooth was a big deal to me. I had been devastated when I chipped my own tooth against the TV that time. I’d never seen a Miss America contestant with a chipped tooth.

And of course Paul couldn’t chip a tooth without someone somewhere in the world imbuing it with great symbolic significance. That’s Beatlemania in a nutshell. The moped accident in question had in fact taken place back in December 1965, and would later be incorporated into the “Paul is dead” meme (I think it can accurately be called that in retrospect). In fact this incident is significant in Beatles history in several ways, including:

  • Also on the ride with Paul was Tara Browne, the Guinness heir whose death would later be one of the inspirations for “A Day in the Life.”
  • The cut lip Paul sustained prompted him to grow a moustache, kicking off the Beatles facial hair arms race that would continue for the rest of the decade.

For more info, check out the December 26, 1965 entry of The Beatles Bible.