Several Beatles-related events happened on this day, so let’s get to it.

John and Yoko were interviewed at Tittenhurst by anthropologist Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape, who had nominated John for something called Man of the Decade. I haven’t been able to find much background information about this, except that the other nominees were John F. Kennedy and Ho Chi Minh. I don’t even know who actually won the thing. But here’s some footage from the interview:

John was quite articulate on this day, and Yoko was pretty quiet. For some reason John is bathed in a halo of glowing light, while Yoko, walking next to him, looks dim and sickly purple. I don’t think there’s any way the film crew could have planned that, as the interview was conducted on the move, and I’m not trying to draw any conclusion from it either; I simply make a note of it.

In the course of today’s research I came across this interesting quote from Phil Spector — a known psychopath, for the record, who today is in prison for murder. Again, I simply make a note of it.

I don’t know where he [John] is at now. But I have the feeling that Yoko may not be the greatest influence on him. You know, a multimillionaire in his position just doesn’t get caught in an English apartment house by the cops on a dope charge unless you’re just blowing your mind or someone is giving you a real fucking…. It’s almost like a weird thing to see just how bizarre he can get before he really blows it or just teaches everybody something.

And toward the end of the video clip above, it does seem like John is ready to start teaching. His monologue on why he is optimistic about the coming decade — “The sixties was just waking up in the morning, you know. And we haven’t even got to dinner time yet. And I can’t wait, you know. I just can’t wait. I’m so glad to be around.” — is still inspiring to hear, even though we know how all that turned out.

The Lennon/Onos were actually being followed by multiple camera crews today, as the BBC began filming for a TV special to be called 24 Hours: The World of John and Yoko. I’m not sure why it was called that, as the footage was gathered over the course of five days, and the finished program was only 35 minutes long, not 24 hours. (Though a 24-hour-long documentary about themselves is precisely the kind of stunt John and Yoko would have pulled during this period.)

Meanwhile a Beatles session was happening at Abbey Road, though no Beatles were present. “Rain” and “Lady Madonna” were being mixed in stereo for the first time, in order to be included in the American singles compilation Hey Jude. In addition, says The Beatles Bible,

A new stereo mix of Octopus’s Garden was also made, but for a different purpose. Ringo Starr had agreed to take part in an hour-long television special about George Martin, With A Little Help From My Friends, which was shown in the UK on 24 and 26 December 1969.

The mix of Octopus’s Garden omitted The Beatles’ bass guitar, lead guitar and piano, plus most of the vocals. These were re-recorded – with Starr and three session musicians – on 8 December at EMI Studios. The reason for this was a Musicians’ Union ban on miming to records; because the new parts were different from those on Abbey Road, it was enough to fool the union into thinking the show contained a live take.

Finally, in the evening, George appeared onstage at Colston Hall in Bristol. The previous night he’d caught the show at the Albert Hall by Delaney & Bonnie and Friends — an American roots-rock act he’d met through Eric Clapton — and been so enthused he offered to join the band.

Delaney and Bonnie had a knack for collecting famous friends; in addition to Clapton and Harrison, and Rita Coolidge (who sang backup on the British tour), their band at one time or another included Leon Russell, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dave Mason, and King Curtis. Not too shabby. But they never became hugely successful due to drug problems, bad luck, and general music business shenanigans.

Here’s some footage from the D&B&F British tour. I’m not sure if it’s from Bristol or one of the five other dates George played, but it should give you the flavor.

It’s got a nice loose feel to it, and it looks like George and Eric were enjoying themselves. Must have been nice to have the stakes a little lower for once. According to Bob Spitz’s The Beatles,

There were no expectations other than playing music that really rocked — and, better yet, no screaming, ducking, police escorts, helicopters, and running for one’s life. The experience proved so satisfying that it led George to admit: “I’d like to do it with The Beatles, but not on the old scale, that’s the only drag.” His preference, he said, would be to model it loosely on “Delaney and Bonnie, with… a few more singers and a few trumpets, saxes, organ, and all that.”

And yeah George, that does sound fun. But not bloody likely.