“John Lennon fired me in a dressing room”. Freda Kelly was The Beatles secretary for 11 years, in a documentary she has decided to open up.
For a period of 11 years from 1962, she was, in fact, secretary to the Beatles. She is the subject of a documentary, Good Ol’ Freda, in which she gives a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into the 20th century’s most famous band.
“John Lennon fired me in a dressing room one time! He was upset that I spent too much time with another musical group called The Moody Blues’ dressing room.
What happened when I went into The Beatles’ dressing room, he was not amused that it had taken me all that time to come into the dressing room.So he asked me whose fan club secretary I was – are you the Moody Blues’ fan club secretary or the Beatles.
And I just laughed it off and said theirs, and he said I’m sacking you you can go back to the Moody Blues. Well what happened then I said fine, but I went to the other 3 and asked if they were sacking me and they said no, certainly not, so I said to John well you can do your own fan mail and I’ll just do the other three’s.
And then he turned to me and said he was only joking, and I said no you weren’t, you were telling the truth, and he said please come back.
Then I said “get on your hands and knees and beg me to come back.” And he said “I’ll meet you halfway” and I knew I couldn’t push him any further, he said he would get down on one knee and I said that will do. And I kept working for him for another 7 years.” —FredaAndRyan
George Harrison used to drive her home. According to Paul McCartney’s stepmother, Angie: “The Beatles saw her as a sister and [their]families saw her as a daughter.”
“I never wanted to write a book. There are so many books out there already. Also, I always thought they would want the juice, the argument bit, and I don’t believe in that.” Because she still feels a loyalty to the band? Kelly nods.
It was Lennon who explained to her that her boss Epstein was gay – at the time, homosexuality was still illegal. “I remember saying to John: ‘I can’t make him out. There’s something about him.’ And he started laughing. He explained it to me in really simple terms. He said: ‘Put it this way, if you and he were the last people on a desert island, you’d be safe.'” (theguardian.com)
There were two sets of girls, and they were both called the Apple Scruffs. They were about 14-17 years old. And they used to just hang around Apple all day, they would go from school and stay there until eight or ten o’clock at night just waiting for a Beatle to go in or out of Apple. Eventually the Beatles got to know them, and George wrote a song about them because all the Beatles got to like them.” “it was on George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ album. The song was called ‘Apple Scruffs.’” —FredaAndRyan
The title Good Ol’ Freda is taken from the Beatles’ 1963 Christmas record, which they made for their fan club. On the disc, Harrison gives thanks to “Freda Kelly in Liverpool”. The three other Beatles shout: “Good ol’ Freda!” and this recording is played over the opening credits of the film.
White also achieved the near-impossible and got clearance to use four original Beatles songs for the soundtrack – no mean feat, given that approval was required from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as well as the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison. “I’m not easily impressed,” says Kelly, “but when the director told me over Skype that we’d got four songs, I got a big lump in my throat. I thought: ‘They still remember.'”