Remember Beatlemania? That brief, shining time in the 1960s when four high-spirited Liverpool lads took the international rock scene by storm?
George was “the quiet one.” Ringo, “the funny one.” John, “the smart one.” And Paul was “the cute one,” who as the groups’ last bachelor filled the hearts of so many female fans with dreams of becoming Mrs. Beatle.
Until March 12, 1969, that is, when he tied the knot with accomplished and lovely American photographer Linda Eastman. Hundreds of disconsolate fans stood for hours outside the Marylebone Town Hall. They were hoping against hope that the wedding rumors were false.
For obvious reasons, the couple made no official announcement of their wedding plans. But the rain which began at 7 a.m. seemed to be mocking the tears of the disappointed.
Yet someone knew… and had known from almost the beginning…
Linda’s music producer friend Miki Antony was in on the secret of their deepening relationship from the time he’d hosted her in London in May, 1967. She was there to do a photo shoot of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band launch party.
And on the night of May 15, at a Georgie Fame concert at the Bag O’ Nails club she and Paul met. In Paul’s words, there was an “instant attraction.”
The next morning, Miki says Linda dropped a bombshell:
“Guess who I dated last night? … It was Paul McCartney, and we had this lovely evening.”
During their first encounter, Paul mentioned that he likes white rabbits. So Linda — a lifelong animal lover – sent him one as a gift. On receiving it, he called and invited her to dinner.
Miki continues, “That’s how I knew they’d started dating. The rest is history.”
Now, Miki’s offering Beatles fans everywhere a chance to own a tiny piece of that history.
On January 29, 2020, London’s Chiswick Auction House will offer three handwritten notes from Linda wrote to him in the earliest days of her acquaintance with Paul. One, dated June 1967, is written on the back of a photocopied newspaper clipping. And it reveals how media-wary she had already become:
“Thought you’d get a big laugh over the enclosed clipping. Have no idea where they picked up that lie, but it just shows how truthful newspapers are.”
What was “the lie” Linda found so funny? The brief mention from Walter Winchell’s gossip column, “They say Beatle Paul McCartney’s latest favorite femme is Linda Eastman, a Yankee Doodle fan-mag [photographer].”
But as Miki knew — and time would tell the rest of us — Winchell got it exactly right. Just 18 months later, the newlyweds emerged from the Marylebone Town Hall arm in arm, smiling from ear to ear and tossing a bouquet of freesias into the crowd.
It was the beginning of a union that produced three children (Paul also adopted Heather) and lasted until Linda’s tragic death from breast cancer in 1998.
And when she was gone, he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Ricky Ross Meets program, “I think I cried for about a year on and off. You expect to see them walk in, this person you love, because you are so used to them.”
Who was your favorite Beatle, and why? What are your favorite Beatle memories? Let’s have a conversation!