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Monday, 22 October 2012

The Beatles In Review: 'Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane' (1967)

Nothing Is Real: The Beatles film their promotional video for 'Strawberry Fields Forever' in Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, England in 1967.


 When the Beatles resurfaced in January 1967 with a double A sided single the public all over the world rushed to buy it. It sounded different. 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane' but the accompanying promotional film proved a shock to many fans. The Beatles had grown moustaches and side burns and had cut their hair and styled it differently to the mop tops that had made them so loveable and cute. They had also stopped wearing matching suits and ties that had made them easily identifiable. The Beatles had re-invented themselves and if you weren't on board then you were doomed.



'Strawberry Fields Forever' Promotional Film (1967)


 When the video was previewed on 'American Bandstand' Dick Clark sat amidst his audience to get their comments and more than a few looked shocked and stunned. "What'd ya think of that?" Dick asked a smiling teenage boy next to him "I thought it was great!" the boy enthused. Dick obviously wasn't looking for that kind of reaction so he quickly turned his attention to the girl on the other side who said through a plastered on smile "I don't like their hair, their moustaches" Dick nodded "Didn't dig the moustaches, huh?" he replied and then a slightly conservative looking boy next to her piped up "It makes them look older and ruins their image" then he asked a slightly ditzy looking blonde "I thought it was funny!" she said while nodding her head like a bobble-head. Another girl piped up "They're ugly!" and the audience broke out in laughter and applause. "They went out with the twist" another conservative boy said while the girl next to him said "They look like Grandfathers or something". 

 "They look so much different than they used to"


 'Penny Lane' Promotional Film (1967)


 After a showing of the Penny Lane film, the comments were, again, divided: "It was different" said a girl "It was brighter, they smiled in this one at least" a southern boy drawled. "They're as bad as the Monkees" a decidedly uninformed boy snorted derisively. "They look much different than they used to" said a girl who was obviously pondering what this would mean for her love of the group. "I thought they were good" said a girl who got a round of cheers as the only one so far who had commented on the music. "Not much of a change" commented a boy sarcastically which drew laughs. The consensus was the Beatles had turned weird. But there was a definite change about the Beatles. They'd moved on with these two records and their absence for the latter part of 1966 had made their return a shock to everyone.



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