Today George and Pattie Harrison flew from London to Los Angeles, where George would be visiting Ravi Shankar at the new L.A. branch of his music school. Brian Epstein had arranged for the Harrisons to stay at a house in the Hollywood Hills — not this exact one, but close:

Beatles publicist Derek Taylor was supposed to come see George, but got lost among the winding roads and fog.

He rang to say he’d be late. I told him on the phone that the house was in Blue Jay Way. And he said he could find it OK… he could always ask a cop. So I waited and waited. I felt really knackered with the flight, but I didn’t want to go to sleep until he came. There was a fog and it got later and later. To keep myself awake, just as a joke to pass the time while I waited, I wrote a song about waiting for him.

According to Steve Turner’s A Hard Day’s Write,

“By the time we got there the song was virtually intact,” says Derek Tayor. “Or course, at the time I felt very bad. Here were these two wretchedly jet-lagged people and we were about two hours late. But here, indeed, was a song which turned up in Magical Mystery Tour (the film) through a prism with about eight images, with George in a red jacket sitting and playing piano on the floor.

Taylor was amused by what people made of the song. One critic thought  the line in which George urged his guest not to “be long” was advice to young people telling them not to “belong” (to society, that is), Another acclaimed musicologist believed that, when George said that his friends had “lost their way,” he meant that a whole generation had lost direction. “It’s just a simple song,” says Taylor.

Also among those who overinterpreted “Blue Jay Way” was Charles Manson, who apparently seized upon the song’s L.A. connection to fit it into his Helter Skelter schematic in some way. If ever there was a Beatles song that should be taken entirely at face value, this is it. It makes a lot more sense if you picture George sitting at the organ he found in the rented house, watching the swirling fog, trying to stay awake until his friend arrives — no grand artistic statement, but not a bad way of killing a few minutes.

By the by, August 1, 1967 was also the 25th birthday of a young man named Jerome Garcia, who had garnered some acclaim as a member of a rock band called the Grateful Dead. According to, he celebrated by playing the second of a run of shows at Toronto’s O’Keefe Center, with the Dead opening for the Jefferson Airplane. That means Jerry would have been 75 today; perhaps our resident Dead expert can recommend some way to celebrate?

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