8 Shocking Things You Never Knew About The Beatles

RealClear Staff


The Huffington Post recently published "11 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Beatles, Even If You're A Superfan," which included first-hand memories and fun trivia bits even the biggest fans may not have known before.

Since forming in 1960, The Beatles have been one of the most popular and influential bands in the history of music. The Beatles' album Revolver was released 48 years ago, back in 1966. 

In honor of the 48th anniversary, here are 8 of the strangest and most surprising things about The Beatles.

8. The Beatles Were the First to Feature the "Devil Horns" Hand Gesture

The Beatles play a role in bringing the "Devil Horns" hand gesture to popular culture. 

John Lennon's cartoon figure on the "Yellow Submarine" cover is apparently the first time the symbol was on the cover of an album, and is the first time it was associated with a rock band. 

7. The Vatican Officially Named "Revolver" the Best Pop Album of All Time

The announcement came in a 2010 article from The New York Times.

The Vatican also "forgave" The Beatles in 2010, after condemning them when John Lennon said the band were "more popular than Jesus."

6. The Beatles Wanted to Start Their Own Utopian Community

In 1967, The Beatles supposedly almost bought an island off the coast of Athens, Greece, where they planned to set up a sort of utopian community with their friends and family. 

John Lennon seemed to be the one encouraging this plan, but alas, it was never meant to be.

5. The Beatles Officially Broke Up at Disney World

John Lennon's former girlfriend, May Pang, wrote a book called Instamatic Karma, and recalled the moment that Lennon officially ended The Beatles:

"When John hung up the phone, he looked wistfully out the window. I could almost see him replaying the entire Beatles experience in his mind.

He finally picked up his pen and, in the unlikely backdrop of the Polynesian Village Hotel at Disney World, ended the greatest rock 'n' roll band in history by simply scrawling John Lennon at the bottom of the page."

4. The Beatles Took Their First Hit of LSD By Accident

Today, this would be considered major criminal behavior, but in 1965 John Riley, the "wicked dentist," slipped the acid into their coffee without their knowledge. George Harrison remembers: 

"The first time we took LSD was an accident. It happened sometime in 1965, between albums and tours. We were innocent victims of the wicked dentist whom we'd met and had dinner with a few times...

After dinner I said to John, 'Let's go -- they're going to be on soon, but the dentist was saying, 'Don't go; you should stay here.' And then he said, 'Well, at least finish your coffee first.'

So we finished our coffee and after a while I said again, 'Come on, it's getting late -- we'd better go.' The dentist said something to John and John turned to me and said, 'We've had LSD.'

I just thought, 'Well, what's that? So what? Let's go!"

3. Soviet Russians Listened to The Beatles Music on X-Rays

The music of The Beatles, along with many other Western bands, was banned in the Soviet Union, which made acquiring their records super expensive on the black market, and possibly dangerous. 

A system was created where music could be cheaply imprinted onto used X-Ray scans, which were taken from hospital dumpsters or bought on the down-low.  These scans were called "music on the bones," among other nicknames. 

2. The Other Beatles Watched George Lose His Virginity

George Harrison said it himself:

"My first shag was in Hamburg, with Paul and John and Pete Best all watching. We were in bunk beds. They couldn't really see anything because I was under the covers but after I'd finished they all applauded and cheered. At least they kept quiet whilst I was doing it."

1. Most Beatles Concerts Smelled like Urine

Apparently, it was a well-known thing for The Beatles' concerts to smell like pee. Who knew?!

This was due to the overwhelming excitement of the girls that were there to see the show, like how some dogs get when they're so excited. Bob Geldof told Q Magazine in 2010:

"The Beatles was a case of watching females in excelsis. It's the old cliché, but you couldn't hear them for all the screaming. I remember looking down at the cinema floor and seeing these rivulets of piss in the aisles. The girls were literally pissing themselves with excitement. So what I associate most with The Beatles is the smell of girls' urine."

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