Sandals Seeks Beatles Memorabilia

Friday 09th, March 2012 / 12:14 Published by
in Travel

Paul McCartney, the legendary Beatle, filmed “Help!” on Balmoral Island - now Sandals Cay - in 1965. File Photo

Sandals Royal Bahamian is in the process of acquiring memorabilia of the February 1965 visit of the legendary rock band, The Beatles, to The Bahamas.

On March 1, Sandals Royal Bahamian welcomed its first guest into its newly refurbished Manor Building, now renamed the Balmoral Tower. The name change harkens back to a time when the block of rooms were part of The Balmoral Club, a property famed for hosting the crème-de-la-crème of 1940s society.

Much of the old Balmoral Club remains a part of Sandals Royal Bahamian. The regally appointed piano bar was once the gateway to the old club; the property’s French restaurant, Baccarat is still draped in her post-World War II Art Nouveau splendor, and the fabulous Crystal Room and Bar continues to wear her genuine Baccarat Crystal Chandelier like an earring.

The European grandeur of The Balmoral Club property hosted royalty no less than the Duke and Duchess of Windsor: the former King Edward whose decision to give up his throne made the love story of he and his bride, Wallis Simpson, one of the greatest of the 20th Century. The property is now in the process of adding to the memorabilia it has already acquired of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Most of these items will be added to those already in place in the piano bar.

The Balmoral Club is also famed for hosting British royalty of another kind. In 1965, The Beatles embarked on filming their second feature film, “Help!”.

This movie was to be different from their first feature film, “A Hard Day’s Night”. “Help!” had an increased budget and was filmed in color. With more money to play with producers wanted to put the Fab Four in several exotic locations including, the Austrian Alps and The Bahamas.

The Beatles’ financial adviser, Dr. Walter Strach, came to The Bahamas to live and as a gesture of goodwill, the group agreed to film here, staying for two weeks.

When The Beatles landed in New Providence, they stayed in a house on the grounds of the Balmoral Club. At the time, the hotel consisted of several large houses set in glorious gardens complete with an Olympic size swimming pool.

According to Barry Miles’ book “Many Years From Now”, the group spent much time at this beach house “whenever they had a day off from filming or if there was time between shoots”.

They checked into the hotel after a swiftly organized press conference at the airport and later enjoyed a midnight swim in the ocean.

February 25, 1965 was the third day of shooting sequences for “Help!”, in The Bahamas. It was also George Harrison’s 22nd birthday, and he celebrated with a party at The Balmoral Club.

On Saturday, February 27, 1965, on the fifth day of filming “Help!”, The Beatles shot scenes on Balmoral Island – now called Sandals Cay – including the famous sequence for “Another Girl”.

Written by Paul McCartney, this song is about the pressure to commit to a long-term relationship with his girlfriend in the face of him having feelings for “another girl”.

It was also during their stay at The Balmoral Club that the song “Wait” was written. According to “Many Years From Now”, likely while relaxing in these quarters, Paul McCartney took to writing this song while in the company of actor Brandon de Wilde.

As Sandals Royal Bahamian continues to pay homage to its regal past, with the refurbishment of the Balmoral Towers, it enters a new era of refinement and style.

The resort plans to display the memorabilia prominently in its piano bar and the property’s authentic English bar, The Cricketer’s Pub.

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