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On January 31, 1967 the Beatles went to Knole Park near Sevenoaks in Kent to make the promotional film for Strawberry Fields Forever. "There was an antique shop close to the hotel we were using in Sevenoaks," remembers former Apple employee Tony Bramwell. "John and I wandered in and John spotted this framed Victorian circus poster and bought it."

Inspired by the finely-wrought language and the evocative names of the performers on the poster, John began to compose a song based on it. By now it was hanging on the wall of his music room and John's long-time friend Pete Shotten can remember him squinting at the words while he picked out a tune on his piano. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite was recorded at EMI Studio Two on February 17, 1967.

The original poster was last known to be in the posession of Sean Lennon.

Mr. Kite History

Pablo Fanque, Mr. Kite and the Hendersons were never more than colorful names to John, but records show that 150 years ago, they were real stars in the circus world. Mr. Kite was William Kite, son of circus proprietor James Kite, and an all-round performer. He is believed to have worked in Pablo Fanque's Circus from 1843 to 1845.

Pablo Fanque
Pablo Fanque was a multi-talented performer who became the first black circus proprietor in Britain. His real name was William Darby and he was born in Norwhich in 1796. He started calling himself Pablo Fanque in the 1830's.

The Hendersons were wire-walker, equestrian, tramplinist and clown John Henderson and his wife Agnes, the daughter of circus owner Henry Hengler. The Hendersons travelled all over Europe and Russia during the 1840's and 1850's. The 'somersets' which Mr. Henderson performed on 'solid ground' were somersaults, 'garters' were were banners held between two people and a 'trampoline' in those days was a wooden springboard rather than stretched canvas.

For more information, please visit: The Internet Beatles Album


Historical information from A Hard Day's Write by Steve Turner and The Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn.