Music video

Paperback Writer

Director – Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Producer – Subafilms Ltd.
Filmed – 20 May 1966.
Location – Chiswick House, Chiswick, London.

‘Paperback Writer’ was No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic during the week of 25 June 1966 and while it spent a second week at the top in Britain, in America Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers In the Night’ interrupted its twoweek run. A successful single, it also has the distinction of being the last new song that The Beatles played live on stage during their US tour of 1966.

Written by Paul, ‘Paperback Writer’ was recorded amid sessions for the Revolver album. And what makes it a particularly significant single for The Beatles is the sound of Paul’s bass. To The Beatles, American records seemed to have a bigger bass sound and this was exactly what they were after, with John citing a particular Wilson Pickett record as an example.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg, an Anglo-American director who had worked on Ready Steady Go! was asked by Epstein’s management company NEMS to meet with The Beatles with a view to directing a promo film for both ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain’, the B-side of the single. He went along to Abbey Road and talked about his concept for the A-side: “A story video about someone working in a newspaper office who in his spare time was trying to write a paperback novel.” All four Beatles agreed that this could work and Lindsay-Hogg went away to develop the idea.

A few days later Vyvienne Moynihan, who worked for NEMS, called Lindsay-Hogg to say that Brian Epstein had decided he didn’t want anything “unusual” for the film; Epstein just wanted to see The Beatles performing the song.

Lindsay-Hogg shot promos for both sides of the single in the studio on 19 May 1966 and the following day the location was switched to Chiswick House, an 18th century Palladian mansion in Burlington Lane, West London. Filming took place in its beautiful grounds, which are among the earliest examples of the English Landscape School, with shots of the band wandering around and sitting mixed with sequences of them performing. Lindsay-Hogg had to work fast on the edit: three days later it would be shown on BBC TV’s Top of the Pops and although the promo was shot in colour, the TV broadcast was in black and white.

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