The Beatles' Secretary Shares 11 Years Worth Of Stories About Groupies, Drugs And John's Mood Swings

Freda kelly the beatles secretaryYouTube screenshotFreda Kelly pranked Ringo Starr, got sacked by John Lennon, and crushed on all of them during her 11 years as their secretary.

Freda Kelly was at the heart of Beatlemania.

She was a shy teenager from Liverpool, England who managed a local band’s fan club. Then in 1961, the group’s manager, Brian Epstein, asked if she’d like to help them make it big.

Kelly remained with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr for 11 years as their secretary, confidante, and number-one fan.

She shares her favourite stories in the documentary “Good Ol’ Freda,” which premiered at SXSW Film Festival in 2010 and is rolling into select theatres across the country now.

You can watch “Good Ol’ Freda” on iTunes.

Here are the best behind-the-scenes anecdotes and reveals about the Beatles from Freda Kelly’s recent IAmA thread:

12. Politics couldn’t hold their attention as teenagers.

“Early on, did you find members of the band very politically driven?” — headinmyphones

Freda kelly the beatles secretaryYouTube screenshotKelly helped run a fan club before she became their secretary.

“No. When we were just teen-agers, we weren’t discussing politics (although we were all Labour party then until the Tax Man came along. And then George wrote the song “Tax Man” and complained about Labour and the Conservative party).” —
11. Later, they became public activists for LSD.

“How open were they about the use of LSD? I know Lennon took it.” — timmytheh

“They were very open about LSD. Paul signed a petition for one of our national papers supporting it.” — FredaAndRyan

10. They ate grilled cheese with “plastic cheese.”

“What was/is their favourite types of cheeses?” — Salanderson

“Well really we just had cheddar or Cheshire in those days. Cheese on toast. But we used kraft cheese singles to make it. We called it ‘plastic cheese.'” — FredaAndRyan10. “Funniest groupie story?” — zanthelad

Freda kelly the beatles secretaryYouTube screenshotKelly said the Beatles were always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

9. They had low expectations.
“Since they blazed a trail in stardom and celebrity, how did the massive beatlemania phenom affect them? Did they have trouble dealing with it?” — FatherDamo

I know John thought this could last about 2 years. Nobody could see, not even them, how long it was going to last or the way things were going to go.” — FredaAndRyan

8. Ringo Starr needed ego boosts.

“Do you have any stories of members of the band playing pranks on each other or yourself?” — scalzo19

Freda kelly the beatles secretaryYouTube screenshotRingo Starr, Freda Kelly, and George Harrison.

“A few months after Ringo joined the band, I went to see them perform in a theatre, and before I went to see them I decided I was going to shout a request to Ringo to sing ‘Boys,’ but I didn’t know that someone had already told them I was going to do that. I was shouting it out for Ringo because he was not getting as many requests as the other three. But when I did shout the request, Ringo knew it was me, stood up from his drum seat and he told me to sit down and be quiet. He said something like “oh sit down Kelly.” So I didn’t come out from under my seat until the show ended out of embarrassment.” —
7. They lived with mum and dad for a while.

“what is something that most people would not know about the beatles but you think should?” — shtaaap

“They came home on a regular basis for family celebrations, weddings and christenings, Paul had so many relations he was back in Liverpool more than the others and still is. And they all lived at home up until they moved to London (even when they had the number one record in the world).” — FredaAndRyan

6. And when they found fame, the US of A became their second home.

“Did they have a favourite tourist spot or local attraction they were fond of in America?” — BaysideLo

“They just loved America but didn’t say what particular part. When they got back from America the first time, they were amazed.” — FredaAndRyan

Freda kelly the beatles secretaryYouTube screenshotGeorge Harrison gives Freda Kelly a smooch.

5. “Funniest groupie story?” — zanthelad
“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 10 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.” — FredaAndRyan

“Was the song released? If so, which song?” — SECRETLY_STALKS_YOU

“It was released but I think it was on George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ album. The song was called ‘Apple Scruffs.'” — FredaAndRyan

4. John Lennon needed the most attention.

“Whats your favourite story about john lennon?” — davidleewhite

Freda kelly the beatles secretaryYouTube screenshotJohn Lennon, Freda Kelly and George Harrison.

“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.” —
3. They cared for Freda as a dear friend.

“Did you get any cool merchandise or memorabilia as a result of your job?” — scalzo19

“My wedding telegrams are my most treasured. They were all in India when I got married, and they all individually sent me telegrams congratulating me.” — FredaAndRyan

Freda kelly the beatles secretaryYouTube screenshotKelly said the Beatles were like brothers to her.

2. And she crushed on a different Beatle every day.
“Did you secretly wished to be one of their other half?” — fishbonez

“Not really, no. I was a teen-ager when I started this job, and I naturally had crushes. But the crushes changed all the time, and by a certain point they became like brothers to me.” — FredaAndRyan

1. 50 years later, she can sum them up in four words.

Freda kelly the beatles secretaryYouTube screenshotKelly spilled all in a documentary, ‘Good Ol’ Freda.’

“If you had to sum up each member of the group in one or two words based on your time with them, what would they be?” —
“John the moodiest. Paul the one was never cross or angry. Ringo for humour, really, and dancing. And George was thoughtful.” — FredaAndRyan

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