Over the years we’ve heard so many stories about the Beatles and just when it seems we’d heard it all, one woman who was involved with the band throughout their entire career is speaking out for the first time.
Beatles manager Brian Epstein hired an unassuming teenage girl from Liverpool to serve as the secretary to his musical charges, and Freda Kelly filled that role for the band’s entire career and even for a year after their 1970 breakup. She’s going public in a new documentary.
A film, titled “Good ol’ Freda,” was financed through crowd funding site Kickstarter, which raised almost $60,000 from 660 backers. McCartney even gave his blessing to the project, approving the licensing of four original Beatles songs – something that seldom happens in film – and audiences are able to visually feast on never-before-seen photographs.
Kelly basically gave away all her memorabilia (likely worth millions now) to desperate and devastated fans in 1974. She went above and beyond during her time to ensure that fans were given the real deal. That involved sneaking threads from McCartney’s shirts, arranging for hair snippets and making sure Starr really did sleep on a pillowcase before returning it to an overjoyed fan – but apparently she drew the line at fulfilling requests to send along fingernail clippings. So intent on being honest, the secretary once let go of a whole crew of assistants who were exposed for trying to pass off a girl’s hair for that of a Beatle.
Kelly opens up on plenty of topics in the documentary, holding back about very little. She additionally helped take care of Ringo Starr’s parents, a part of her job she remembers with great fondness in the film.
And as candid as Kelly became throughout the filming process, there was still one topic in particular that was off-limits.
“I asked if she dated any of the Beatles,” [director Ryan] White said. “And she stared me down in her charming way.”
Kelly does, however, confess to zipping her lips about such things as Lennon’s wandering eyes while married to college sweetheart, Cynthia Powell. Yet she had no qualms about putting the boys’ in their place when the occasion called for it.
The public will hear many of the tales in Good ol’ Freda for the first time when it opens – Kelly’s own daughter admits to not knowing “95 percent” of her mother’s stories.
Good ol’ Freda opens in select theaters today, and will release simultaneously via video on demand and iTunes. Here’s the trailer: