In the summer of 1967 The Beatles, encouraged by John Lennon, agreed to buy a set of Greek islands where they intended to live and work alongside family and friends.
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 Many Years From Now.
The singer-songwriter goes on to explain in more detail:
“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, chartering a yacht to spend a few days island hopping and travelling along the coast of the mainland — where they visited villages such as Arahova — on their way to Delphi.
The Beatles spent the early part of the day island-hopping, swimming, sunbathing and taking drugs. They then visited the island they intended to buy. NEMS employee Alistair Taylor was then sent back to London to arrange its purchase.
The Beatles were required to buy special export dollars before applying to the Greek government for permission to spend them. Alistair Taylor eventually got clearance to purchase the islands, but the group had moved on by then. The £ 90,000 worth of dollars was sold back to the government, and the value had risen to give The Beatles £11,400 profit on the unrealised deal.