As happens quite often with me,
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IN WALES AS
I don't think they had any premonitions at all. Brian Epstein had coddled them, spoiled them by catering to their every whim -- not that there was anything wrong with that in their case, as they had to be free to create -- but the inevitable result of that sort of treatment was what usually happens with "kids" like that ... they only thought of themselves. The motherless John and Paul had subconsciously adopted Brian in their hearts as a quasi-parental unit (and like always, George and Ringo had just gone along), and the boys experienced the adolescence/teenhood of Beatlemania with him as Beatledaddy ... now they were in the late-teen/early adulthood of their relationship with him, and, like other kids growing up and away, were simply trying to find spiritual mentors other than their obviously "parental" manager. Damn it, all they had to do was look right next to them ... but, of course, like any other teens growing up, that was impossible.
Brian was - by all rights and deep in all of their hearts - one of them, and yet he wasn't. He wasn't because he never opened himself up to them as they had to each other. That's understandable, because (in that day and age, even for the "enlightened") there was only a small amount of this "queer" business that they could handle, and Brian knew it. If they had only gotten together as a group and coaxed him to open up to them, and responded with unconditional love, acknowledgement, and approval, this never would have happened. That was not their nature, though. The Beatles evolved into that mindset a few years later ... a few years too late for Brian.
What so many people tend to overlook is: acceptance of people who were different was not part of the "all you need is love" mentality in those days. The "people who were different" still had to have a sameness about them. Case in point: A person with a crewcut would be unacceptable just because he preferred a crewcut.
Brian tried, he tried real hard to be the brand of "different" that they would embrace personally. At the end, he seemed to be coming to the sad but erroneous conclusion that he had failed again in his quest for contentment, acceptance, and love in his life.
His boys were hiding their heads in the sand. Subconsciously, they knew full well Brian was declining rapidly, but were so wrapped up in themselves they didn't feel like reaching out to him. They couldn't find it within themselves, and the drugs they pounded down made it much easier to ignore his plight.
After he died, there was an overwhelming amount of pain, shame and blame that they never could deal with, even to this day. George, I think, was attempting to justify his behaviour with excuses, as this short excerpt indicates:
Sometimes when I think about the boys' "caring" about others,
(Complete lyrics to most of the songs with guitar arrangements are at the Hair Pages lyrics page )
Especially people who care about strangers C Gm C Gm Who care about evil and social injustice C Gm C Gm Do you only care about the bleeding crowd? Am D7 Am D7 How about a needing friend? Am D7 G I need a friend... Fmaj7 D7
NOTE: There are a few songs that don't have lyrics printed in the Hair Pages. Those song titles are listed there, however, and are very easy to google for lyrics if you wish.
To get back to the original point, if the boys had had a premonition of Brian's death, even subconsciously, don't you think it would have made them anxious enough to hover near him rather than wander away so often?
And... not to sound conspiratorial*, but Peter Brown may have seen this Maharishi trip as an opportunity for him to bring Brian down emotionally enough so he'd keep trying to medicate the pain away, as he always did. Peter KNEW how much of what shit Brian took, and he must have known he was getting close to crossing the line into a gradual accumulated overdose. He had his fingers crossed, and knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. Peter is not a stupid man, just manipulative and power-hungry. If Brian received a call from one of his boys, it usually picked him up a bit - but they were far from normal phone contact for a few days ... even though he was supposed to join them Monday...
...and, as perhaps he had planned, Peter slid very easily onto Brian's throne
... but the crown didn't quite fit you, did it, old boy?
* Yeah, I know. I sound conspiratorial. Deal with it.