Wacky Uses for the Beatles

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Wacky Uses for the Beatles

by Joey Green

The Beatles never directly endorsed any brand-name products, but they still managed to embrace some wacky uses for them.

The Long and Winding Panty Hose

When the Beatles performed their rooftop concert on January 30, 1969, for their movie Let It Be, some of their microphones were wrapped in panty hose. (Note the microphone in front of Ringo.) To the prevent the noise from cold gusts from being picked up by the sensitive studio microphones, producer/engineer Glyn Johns sent tape engineer Alan Parsons (who later served as engineer for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album and as frontman for The Alan Parsons Project) to buy panty hose to create nylon socks to shield the microphones. “I walked into this department store and said, ‘I need three pairs of pantyhose. It doesn’t matter what size,’” Parsons told Guitar Player in 2015. “They thought I was either a bank robber or a cross-dresser.”

Jell-O Submarine

In 20015, food artist Henry Hargreaves used Jell-O to recreate John, Paul, Ringo, and George as they appeared in the 1968 animated movie Yellow Submarine. “Here, viewers might be fooled into thinking they’re looking at a 2D illustration of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine—but upon closer inspection, they’ll realize the reflective color blocks are, in fact, made entirely of Jell-O,” Hargreaves told Food and Wine. “It was, in the end, a fun way to introduce one enduring childhood treat to another.”

He Shoot Coca-Cola

In the 1964 movie A Hard Day’s Night, John Lennon pretends to snort a bottle of Coca-Cola, a sly reference to cocaine, an trace ingredient found in Coca-Cola until 1929. The Beatles’ 1969 song “Come Together,” penned by John, includes the lyric, “He shoot Coca-Cola,” another reference to cocaine. In 1970, the BBC banned the song, deeming the lyric to be advertising for Coca-Cola, which violated its policies.

Hard Day’s Shave

In a scene in the Beatles’ 1964 movie A Hard Day's Night, George Harrison shows the group’s road manager Shake (played by actor John Junkin) how to use a safety razor. Harrison sprays shaving cream on the bathroom mirror and shaves Shake’s reflection. “Put your tongue away,” advises George. “It looks disgusting hanging out all pink and naked. And one slip of the razor and—!”

Give Kotex a Chance

In 1974, during the time period he referred to as “The Lost Weekend,” John Lennon went with May Pang and guitarist Jesse Ed Davis to the Troubadour, a nightclub in Los Angeles, to see soul singer Ann Peebles. Before going to the club, the threesome ate dinner at a nearby restaurant where John got notoriously drunk. “I picked up a Kotex in a restaurant, in the toilet, and it was clean and just for a gag I came back to the table with it on me head,” John told Rolling Stone. “And cause it stuck there with sweat, just stayed there, I didn’t have to keep it on. It just stayed there till it fell off.” When they reached the Troubadour, John took another Kotex from his pocket and attached it to his forehead. When the waitress asked him why he didn’t leave a tip, John said, “Do you know who I am?” The waitress replied, “Yes, you're some asshole with a Kotex on your head.” Four years earlier in 1970, John Lennon released a music video of his song “Instant Karma.” Yoko sits in the background wearing a sanitary napkin as a blindfold while knitting. In 2017, Yoko tweeted, “I knitted during Instant Karma, blindfolded by a sanitary pad to let people know the position of women in the world.”

Sitting on a Corn Flake

A television commercial for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes inspired John Lennon to write the song “Good Morning, Good Morning” for the Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. “I often sit at the piano, working at songs, with the telly on low in the background,” John told biographer Hunter Davies. “If I’m a bit low and not getting much done, then the words on the telly come through. That’s when I heard ‘Good morning, good morning.’ It was a Corn Flakes advertisement.’ Just like the Beatles’ song, the television commercial started off with a rooster crow and the lyrics “Good morning, good morning!” John refers to Corn Flakes again in the lyrics to “I Am the Walrus.”

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Copyright Ⓒ 2019 by Joey Green. All rights reserved.