Interviews conducted by Kenny Everett
May 20, 1967 • From BBC Light Programme
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Kenny Everett Reports The Beatles U.S. Tour
Washington D.C. Tuesday
The group on stage before the Beatles was the Cyrkle — Brian Epstein’s American group that had the big hit with “Red Rubber Ball”. Somebody must have given all the kids rubber balls as a publicity stunt — but they saved them all for the Beatles.
When the boys came on stage they were showered with all these small red rubber balls — the sort that are supposed to bounce as high as a house — as well as jelly babies.
John Lennon’s much-publicised remarks haven’t caused any incidents so far. When we got to Chicago there was a press conference with everybody from the radio stations and newspapers there. John is very sad about the whole thing and he explained what he meant and everybody seemed satisfied. He is certainly not anti-religious or anything like that.
One effect of it all is that we have seen posters and placards saying: “We Love John Lennon And God!” Another unexpected thing — people outside the shows selling badges with “I Love Paul”, “I Love Ringo”, “I Love George” and “I Love John”, say that the “I Love John” ones are outselling the others ten to one.
Another surprising incident happened after the Detroit shows. As soon as we got away from the Stadium we pulled up at a little cafe. The Beatles just stood about on the side of the road eating hamburgers while everybody walked past without recognising them. I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if they had suddenly realised the Beatles were just standing right there.
I feel sorry for the Beatles in some ways. They are trapped in their hotels and can’t go out. We get into the hotel usually around 3 a.m. and from then until the concert at 5 p.m. the next afternoon they have to stay indoors. Every hotel has been completely surrounded by fans, with radio sets, banners, and all that jazz. They just scream all day. Even if the Beatles wanted to they would not be allowed out by the security men. They have just have to sit around inside all the time.
“Tell Lyndon we’ll be late for tea.” That was John Lenon’s laconic comment made as the whole Beatles party were kept hanging around waiting for a plane to Washington at Cleveland airport yesterday. There was little to do but sit and wait.
On the planes from date to date everything is informal. The Beatles don’t like flying but they have to, so they do it with good grace. The flight from Cleveland to Washington was spent relaxing and eating. I was having lunch when Paul wandered by I waved a greeting with a knife and he sat down beside me.
The Washington concert took place in another huge stadium before about 30,000 fans and it seemed almost as many policemen. The Beatles were separated from the crescent of fans by a large expanse of field patrolled by vigilant police. So the expected riots never happened.
Only one male fan made it through the police cordon. He was dressed in a suit and had long hair and the cops mistook him for a member of a supporting group.
As far as we can see the much publicised “ban the Beatles movement” has fizzled out. There have been no incidents close to the Beatles although the Ku Klux Klan apparently held a demonstration in another state. It seems that the kids are saying: “So John Lennon said it, so what?” As far as I can see the Beatles still have as many American fans as before — if not more.
Radio stations ignore ban on Beatle records
WASHINGTON, Tuesday: The Beatles’ entourage arrived at the luxurious Shoreham Hotel late on Monday following an uproarious riot-torn night in Cleveland which some observers compared to the recent racial riots in the city’s East side. Performing for an audience of 25,000 in the giant 80,000-seat stadium on the shores of Lake Erie, the group barely got into its third number when fans rushed the stage.
More than 1,000 fans pushed and shoved their way toward the five-foot-high stage and the concert was halted with the Beatles racing to a nearby trailer for protection. Following a 33-minute delay, the concert was continued with the closing number drowned out in the bedlam of another rush on the stage. In the ensuing excitement the chauffeur of one of the Cadillac limousines awaiting the group smashed the side of the car against a wall. It was a frantic scene highlighted by general confusion and security forces that were woefully inadequate.
Finally, the group managed to get out of the stadium area and back to their hotel, where they spent much of the rest of the night playing Bob Dylan’s brand new two LP album, “Blonde On Blonde.”
Earlier in Chicago the group played to two sellout houses at the giant international amphitheatre indoor stadium. The Windy City visit produced the first of an abbreviated series of press conferences during which John Lennon apologised for the connotation put on his recent remarks about religion. But he stuck to his basic opinion on the alleged decline of Christianity in Britain today.
The Saturday night concert at the Olympia Stadium Detroit was described as “almost a full house”, with “inadequate security measures”, although no serious incidents occurred there.
It’s understood that some members of the party — not including the Beatles themselves — visited Berry Gordy, president of Tamla Motown Records, while in Detroit.
Airport security has been generally good to date, and crowds awaiting the Beatles’ plane arrivals have been smaller than on previous tours.
Saleswise however, there seems no decline at all in the Beatles’ power. Their newest Capitol single appears to be another two-sided smash. “Yellow Submarine”, is already in the Top Twenty in its first week of release while the flip “Eleanor Rigby” is close behind. Stations are now reported to be flipping to the “Rigby” side which may be the bigger hit of the two. About 97 per cent of the nation’s pop music stations are playing the current disc, putting the lie to the stories of a mass anti-Beatle movement.
The radio station that started the campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, is said to be one of the weakest outlets in its market.
Meanwhile, within the group itself George Harrison has become a more intense fan of Indian music than ever. Admittedly a fan of Ravi Shankar and his sitar, Harrison is pursuing his study of the music and is carrying with him a tiny transistorised tape recorder which he’s using to tape as much off-beat material as he can find. One member of the party from the GAC Agency has already arranged to get Harrison a collection of Indian music albums including one LP featuring violinist Yehudi Menuhin.
Concert dates this week include Philadelphia, Toronto, Boston, Memphis, and St Louis. The group arrives in New York next Monday and appears at Shea Stadium on Tuesday night. After this, they fly to the West Coast.From Melody Maker – August 20, 1966
Last updated on September 7, 2023