Part 16: The Beatles (Part 2)

"Memories of nearly 50 years in the Biz"

Part 16: The Beatles (Part 2)

Postby Brian Lord » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:42 am

Brian Lord’s Radio Stories

The Beatles part 2 – Wendy Nicholas



One thing that all announcers know -- kind of an unwritten law: if you aren’t positive who sang the song, don't back announce it. Same as in News Radio -- in your prep-read, cross out the name and type in "The President of Iran" if you’re gonna crucify the name -- better by far than sounding like a goof. I was on the air one night during the early days of Beatlemania and said "That was Anna sung by John Lennon". I was wrong. Anna is sung by George Harrison -- hence Lord -- goof.

And I heard about it. The request line was ringing and it was some woman with an English accent who said "That wasn't John that was George. You're a goof." I said ... "don't hang up. I apologize and will correct myself and who are you? -- with such a fine knowledge of the Beatles. You sound English". She was, her name was Vicki from London and she knew about the Beatles because they had been the rage in Britain for over a year and not only that "I have a younger sister who knows them personally, especially George."

Now you gotta understand. This was a time when DJ's were scrambling around the US and Canada trying to get all the information they could on this phenomenon. I got Vicki talking about her young sister and found out that Wendy -- Wendy Nicholas -- would be in San Bernardino in a matter of one week. She was coming over to "America" to live with Vicki, and her brother in law.


How old was Wendy, where did she meet the Beatles and could I please meet her and talk to her, on air. Vicki described Wendy as being 18, in love with pop music, especially Brit pop and Motown, the upshot was that Vicki and I made arrangements that Wendy, when she arrived next week, would come on my show with me and talk about her experiences with the band. Vicki would call Wendy at home and confirm.


She apparently gave her assent so we all started to hype Wendy Nicholas, a friend of the Beatles (especially George) who would be appearing live on Brian Lord's show at seven o’clock this coming Tuesday evening. As I have mentioned, anything the group did or said was of interest and nobody we knew in California had met them so Wendy was a prize.

--

The radio station stood in the middle of a cow pasture on the outskirts of town. The cow pasture road was unpaved, just a dirt track really and ran maybe a quarter mile from the main East-West road in town, Baseline Avenue.

At five o’clock on that Tuesday afternoon, young people began milling around the outside of the radio station and when Wendy and her entourage arrived two hours later the kids were lined six deep clear back to Baseline. Wendy's brother in law had to drive slowly and very carefully. Also in the car was Vicki and Wendy's brother, whose name was also George. The car was nearly upended with kids trying to get a good look at this young British girl.

When Wendy Nicholas stepped out of the automobile there must have been about 300 young people gathered around the court yard in front of the station and in the cow pasture.
What I heard as I opened the station door to greet her was a great sigh ..."ooooooooohhhhhhhh". Nobody had seen anything like Wendy before. Not in Southern California, or more than likely most of the North American continent. To begin with she was very attractive. But not in the way Southern California girls are attractive with their sandals, jeans or more preferably shorts, halter tops and their hair often in a pony tail. They also wore pale lipstick in 1964 and a bit of face make-up.

Wendy Nicholas had a long pageboy to her shoulders, the bangs cut off so close to her eyes that she had to tilt her head back a tiny fraction to see. She had natural jet-black hair. She wore no make-up and had clear, white skin. She was dressed in an ankle-length black leather coat under which was a bulky turtleneck black sweater with the sleeves so long that only the tips of her fingers showed. She wore black pants, slightly flared, over laced up boots which looked like they had come from the last century. On her head, worn at a jaunty angle, was a small black leather bonnet. She was absolutely stunning. Everybody just stared at her. She was Goth. Except in those days the Brits called it Mod.

She had a very heavy London Accent in which there was no letter "H". She realized this --knew without me having to tell her that her accent was hard to understand, so she did her best to speak as taught in school. Most of what she said was understandable. I had to ask her to repeat a couple of questions and at one point she said “Owe, I'm sorrwy, 'e was ridin' a go-caht." Harrison had been riding a go-cart on the Isle of Wight where the Beatles had gone for a few days off and she and some of her friends were there as well, not because of the Beatles presence but because it was apparently a fun place to go.

At the go-cart track, George Harrison noticed Wendy and struck up a conversation (he put the make on her). Wendy did not react as most young women would ‘cause one of the Beatles was making an obvious advance. Basically she shined him on, laughed at him, called him cheeky and in short order she was sharing a go-cart with him. "Did you kiss him?" Dead silence. "Am I to take that as a yes?" "You can take it to Spain if you'd like."

I had planned for 15 minutes, 20 at tops. She was on for an hour. She told us all about the Beatles and how they acted when she was with them For the remaining days she and the band were on the Island, they hung together -- Wendy a few of her friends, both male and female, John, Paul and Ringo...and of course George. I found her accent, her stories, and especially just her -- fascinating. So did the audience. We played some records of course and so between the interviewing and the music I got to know Wendy. More than anything she was funny. She said funny things and poked fun at me for things I'd say which were completely foreign to her.

Wendy left the control room when the eight o'clock news came on. But before she left she said on air -- "I've brought a record that you should play on your station. It's by the new rave group in England called the Rolling Stones" and handed me a 45 RPM of the Stones version of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away. That opened up a whole new story which will come after Part three of the Beatles, the next and last post in this series.

Wendy was 18 but acted 25. She soon got a job grooming dogs, her profession in London. That first night she was on the air -- the first of three appearances -- she and her family stayed until midnight signing autographs. Her older brother George was good looking and a kind of male copy of Wendy as far as his clothing style. But talk about accent -- I never understood a single word he said and neither did the rest of us. This guy was street.

We took Wendy to our remotes, concerts for L.A. bands, introduced her on stage and everybody screamed. The second time she came on my show we opened the request lines and jammed up the main telephone exchange for the San Bernardino area. Hard to believe but true. I had a bit of a crush on her, so did Huckleberry and Jim Mitchell, two of our announcers. Nothing ever became of it of course although I think Jim dated her a couple of times.

The DJ's visited her at home on occasion. Vicki was a trip, there were a lot of laughs -- it was a fun time and so it was that when the Beatles played Las Vegas a month or so later, Wendy, Vicki, one of the other DJ's and I all flew up as guests of Capitol records and stayed on the strip at the same hotel as the Beatles. It was in Vegas that I learned just how well the Beatles and Wendy had known each other.
Brian Lord
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Re: Part 16: The Beatles (Part 2)

Postby Steve Sanderson » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:34 pm

Fab story Brian!!...I hope Mama Cass didn't find out about your crush on Wendy!! :shock:
:wink:
:D
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Re: Part 16: The Beatles (Part 2)

Postby Glen Livingstone » Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:12 am

Brian Lord wrote:

One thing that all announcers know -- kind of an unwritten law: if you aren’t positive who sang the song, don't back announce it. Same as in News Radio -- in your prep-read, cross out the name and type in "The President of Iran" if you’re gonna crucify the name -- better by far than sounding like a goof. I was on the air one night during the early days of Beatlemania and said "That was Anna sung by John Lennon". I was wrong. Anna is sung by George Harrison -- hence Lord -- goof.

And I heard about it. The request line was ringing and it was some woman with an English accent who said "That wasn't John that was George. You're a goof."


You're not a goof Brian, but Wendy was.

The lead vocalist on the song Anna (Go To Him) was John Lennon. It was most certainly not George Harrison.

Paul McCartney sang backing vocals on the track, Harrison's only contribution was lead guitar.

Lennon was the American music freak in the Beatles, much more so than George, Paul or Ringo.

It was Lennon who was always on the hunt for obscure singles by artists like Arthur Alexander, who originally wrote and recorded Anna, a top ten R&B hit in 1962.

http://oldies.about.com/od/thebeatlesso ... otohim.htm
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Re: Part 16: The Beatles (Part 2)

Postby Steve Sanderson » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:25 am

No Pluto...Vicki was the goof...Wendy was the babe!!
:wink:
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Re: Part 16: The Beatles (Part 2)

Postby Brian Lord » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:31 am

PLUTO.... You posted before I was able to. You are right (other than it was Vicki, not Wendy as sandclan points out.) LENNON SANG ANNA. The reason there was a lot of confusion over the song is because it was recorded on a day when John was suffering from a terrible cold but decided to push ahead and record the song anyway. It's on their first LP in Britain "Please Please Me". In my own defense, it sounds more like Harrison than Lennon... it had Harrison's nasal delivery, the result of John's cold. But that's no excuse...just a cop out. As far as the harmony is concerned, I think you'll find that Harrison did some of the Harmoney with Paul...there is a picture of them on some website both singing into a mic...and the site is devoted to the song Anna...check out Google. I was made aware of this through my Brit pal Rupert Winchester less than 24 hours ago who gleefully pointed out that the entire premis for writing the Wendy Nicholas story was predicated on a mistake that I made and I told the story WRONGLY. Shit. Brian Lord.
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Re: Part 16: The Beatles (Part 2)

Postby Steve Sanderson » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:01 pm

Okay Brian....the vacation is almost over. It's time for the next installment
of 'Brian Lord's Radio Stories' !! People are sitting on the edge of their chairs...Waiting.
:wink:
I hope you've been enjoying your time in Vancouver!
8-)
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