How the Beatles almost bought a Greek Island
The Beatles in Arahova with local musicians
As The Beatles make newspaper headlines this week with a new 14-track compilation titled Tomorrow Never Knows being released exclusively on iTunes and a rare edition of the rock group’s debut US album being auctioned off on eBay for a whopping $15,000, here’s a little known story about how the legendary British pop band almost bought a Greek island.
In his autobiography, Paul McCartney says they arrived to Greece on a mission to buy an island and turn it into a hippie commune where nobody would interfere with their lifestyle.
“I suppose the main motivation for that would probably be that no one could stop you smoking,” McCartney writes in his book titled Many Years From Now. “Drugs was probably the main reason for getting some island, and then all the other community things that were around then… it was drug-induced ambition, we’d just be sitting around: ‘Wouldn’t it be great? The lapping water, sunshine, we’d be playing. We’d get a studio there. Well, it’s possible these days with mobiles and…’ We had lots of ideas like that.”
The Beatles left for Greece on July 23, 1967. They chartered a yacht and spent a few days island hopping and visiting villages along the coast of the mainland, including Arahova, on their way to Delphi.
According to various sources, on July 26, 1967, they arrived at the perfect place - an 80 acre island reportedly called Leslo (although no island of that name appears to exist). It had a small fishing village, four beaches and a large olive grove. All sources and biographies refer to it by this name, however.
The Fabulous Four decided to buy the island there and then. It would have been theirs today if it wasn’t for the bureaucracy involved in wiring £90,000 to Greece. By the time they managed to get permission to move the money out of Britain and into a Greek bank, they had all but forgotten about their Greek island dream and were onto their next great adventure.
According to The Beatles Bible, an online repository of information on band from a range of sources, Ringo said: “It came to nothing. We didn't buy an island, we came home. We were great at going on holiday with big ideas, but we never carried them out. We were also going to buy a village in England - one with rows of houses on four sides and a village green in the middle. We were going to have a side each.”
Blame it on the drugs, and the allure of Greece.