The Music of Lennon & McCartney

By Bill Harry  

Johnny Hamp with Paul and John (courtesy Johnny Hamp)This television music spectacular was conceived by Johnny Hamp of Granada Television, the producer and station which had given the group their first TV airing. Hamp had been made Head of Light Entertainment for Granada and after deciding he wished to pay tribute to the song writing talents of John and Paul he had discussions with them which resulted in ‘The Music of Lennon & McCartney’, the biggest spectacular yet produced by Granada Television.

Johnny produced and Phil Casson directed.

The 50-minute programme was filmed over a two-day period in one of Granada’s largest studios, Studio 6, on specially constructed sets. The completed show was fully networked at 9.40pm on Friday, 17 December 1965.

The Beatles had wanted Ella Fitzgerald to sing ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, but she wasn’t available. French singer Richard Anthony had been due to appear but was involved in a road accident shortly before the recordings and was replaced by Dick Rivers who sang ‘Things We Did Today’ in French.

George Martin led a 25-piece orchestra in a rendition of ‘I Feel Fine’ and ‘Ringo’s Theme’ and Paul introduced the American composer, Henry Mancini with the words, “Now we introduce our favourite composer, Henry Mancini, who is known to all his friends as Hank. Welcome to the Beatles’ show, Henry.”

Peter and GordonMancini played ‘If I Fell’ and Peter and Gordon performed their major hit ‘World Without Love’, with a dozen attractive female models decorating the background.

Esther Phillips flew in from America especially to perform ‘And I Love Him’ and Lulu, who had been driven up from London by Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, belted out ‘I Saw Him Standing There.’ The Beatles closed the first half of the show with a rendition of ‘Day Tripper.’

Six members of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra appeared under the name Fritz Speigel’s Barock And Roll Ensemble to perform ‘She Loves You’ in the style of Mozart. Peter Sellers, with a long wig and Shakespearean costume in the style of Richard III rendered a theatrical interpretation of ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ although his contribution was filmed in a London studio. Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas performed their two hits ‘Bad To Me’ and ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret.’

Cilla Black performed ‘It’s For You’ and was followed by Paul McCartney who began singing ‘Yesterday’ and Marianne Faithfull appeared and completed the song.

Organist Alan Haven performed another interpretation of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, with backing from drummer Tony Crombie, and then the Beatles performed ‘We Can Work It Out.’ For the number John Lennon played harmonium – it was the instrument used in ‘Coronation Street’ which was familiar to viewers of the soap opera as the harmonium in the corner of Ena Sharples’ (Violet Carson) room.

Incidentally, among the spectators who were witnessing the production were members of the ‘Coronation Street’ cast and disc jockey Jimmy Saville. Also appearing on the special was the Spanish dance star Antonio Vargas, who performed ‘She Loves You.’.

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