Interview with the BBC • Saturday, February 22, 1964

Interview of The Beatles

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On February 22, 1964, at 8:10 am, The Beatles arrived at London airport coming back from their successful first US tour. They held a press conference at the airport’s Kingsford-Smith suite and were later interviewed by BBC’s sports presenter David Coleman. The interview was featured in a 13-minute segment of that day’s BBC sports program “Grandstand”, which was broadcast between 1 pm and 5:15 pm.

During the interview, Ringo Starr made one of his malapropisms, “tomorrow never knows,” which John Lennon later turned into a song. “Tomorrow Never Knows” was the final track on The Beatles’ “Revolver” album, released in 1966.

David Coleman: Welcome back, boys. How does this reception here compare with America?

Ringo Starr: Oh, it was great! It was every bit as good.

John Lennon: It was better.

Paul McCartney: Better.

Ringo: It was better.

DC: I must say even you boys looked surprised as you came down the aircraft steps.

Paul: Yeah.

John: Well, wouldn’t you be?

George Harrison: It’s so early in the morning.

John: Yeah, we only just got up.

Ringo: We haven’t got up, we haven’t been to bed yet. Don’t forget, it’s four o’clock in the states now.

DC: What do you think about America? Is it very different from your point of view?

Ringo: It’s bigger.

DC: Did you get lost then, George?

Ringo: I’ll pass you on to George now.

George: No, I didn’t get lost, George.

Paul: Nobody let him out, you know. He was in the hotel the whole time.

George: Yeah, as soon as we got there they strapped me up in bed.

Paul: But it’s a marvelous place. We loved it.

DC: Is it very different for performance over there than performing here?

George: Yeah.

DC: In what way?

George: You don’t play theatres over there, you know. The places we played – Carnegie Hall and this place in Washington.

Ringo: A big stadium.

George: Yeah, a big stadium with the audience all around and the acoustics were terrible.

John: So we sparred up, you know, before we got…

Ringo: Yeah, it was good.

George: But it was good for, you know… It was quite a novelty, wasn’t it, John?

John: Yeah it was. I’ll pass you on to Paul.

Paul: It was, too. Yes.

DC: Now Ringo, I hear you were manhandled at the Embassy Ball. Is this right?

Ringo: Not really. Someone just cut a bit of my hair, you see.

DC: Let’s have a look. You seem to have got plently left.

Ringo: Can you see the difference? It’s longer, this side.

DC: What happened exactly?

Ringo: I don’t know. I was just talking, having an interview, just like I am NOW! I was talking away and I looked ’round, and there was about 400 people just smiling. So, you know, what can you say?

John: What can you say?

Ringo: Tomorrow never knows.

David Coleman: George, how do you like being described as the Prime Minister’s secret weapon?

George Harrison: It’s great, yeah. The thing is, I didn’t get the bit where they said, ‘Earning all these dollars for Britain.’ Like, are we sharing it out or something?

DC: But we’re told that you’ve come back from America millionaires.

Paul McCartney: No, you’re kidding.

John Lennon: Next time.

DC: Now what about Miami? I mean, you were in the millionaire’s playground.

Ringo Starr: Oh, that was marvelous, Miami!

DC: You lived well, did you?

Paul: Yeah. Well, we borrowed these houses, you see. These people rang up and said, ‘Do you want our house, lad?’ So we said, ‘By gum, we do!’

Paul: And we went across there, and we all water-skied, and fishing.

Ringo: He caught a monster!

DC: How did it compare with New Brighton?

Paul: With New Brighton? It wasn’t as sunny, of course, as New Brighton.

Ringo: Of course, we missed the docks.

John: And the people didn’t have as much money.

George: And there was more oil on the sand in Miami.

DC: We’d like to hear what you thought about Mr [Cassius] Clay.

John: Very tall.

Ringo: Oh, he’s a big lad.

Paul: He’s a great laugh, more than anything. He’s a big lad.

George: He’s gonna get Sonny Liston in three.

John: He said.

Ringo: So he said.

Paul: That’s what he said. I don’t think he will, though.

DC: I hear you were creeping up to Harry Carpenter in the training camp, Paul, and whispering things to him.

Paul: Yeah. Well you see, the only thing was, he asked me who was going to win. And I would have told him out that I thought Liston was gonna win.

John: You coward!

Paul: I’m a coward! And it was in Clay’s camp, you see, and there was all these big fellas around. I had to whisper, you know.

John, singing: Listen, do you want to know a secret?

Ringo: Plugging, you know. We’re still trying to sell!

DC: How did Clay compare with you?

Ringo: He’s bigger than all of us put together.

DC: We’re told that he was acting in a way that even the Beatles couldn’t match.

Paul: Yeah. He was, actually.

Ringo: He was good.

John: He was saying, ‘I’s beautiful, and you’s beautiful, too!’

Paul: Yeah, he’s a showman.

Ringo: Oh, definitely.

DC: Well now that you’re back, you’re out of the top 10 for the first time for a long time. What about it?

Paul: Er, I don’t know.

John: What do you suggest?

DC: Have you got anything on the way?

John: We could go straight, couldn’t we?

George: I’m going to try tap dancing.

Paul: And Ringo’s doing comedy on the high wire.

David Coleman: But have you got anything on the way, apart from the film?

Paul McCartney: We’re doing recording next week.

John Lennon: Shh!

Ringo Starr: Don’t tell ’em.

Paul: We’re not! It’s a lie! Sorry! We’re recording next week.

DC: We daren’t ask you where.

Paul: No!

Ringo: We couldn’t tell you.

John: Oh no. Decca!

DC: What about your impression of American adults? I mean, we hear your impression of teenagers and so on. I saw you, Ringo, being quoted as saying something about this.

Ringo: What did I say?

DC: You tell me.

Ringo: I don’t know! You know, I’m quoted so much it’s just ridiculous.

DC: You tell him what he said, Paul.

Paul: I don’t remember. About adults?

Ringo: They’re older than I am!

DC: You said the adults were a bigger problem than the teenagers.

Ringo: Oh, yeah. Well, you know, they’ve sort of gone potty.

Paul: Yeah, they were.

Ringo: I mean, the teenagers will ask for the autograph, and take it, and leave it at that. But the adults want to know where you’ve been, and…

Paul: Yeah. Cut your hair, too.

Ringo: Yeah. Well, I don’t know if it was an adult, but somebody did.

DC: Did you manage to get much time away from all this, and really get away by yourselves?

John: We got three days at the end, after the Ed Sullivan in Miami, you know, we stayed on. Was it three days?

Paul: Yeah.

Ringo: It was around that.

John: Three days, you know. Nearly three.

DC: Anyway, nice to see you back, boys. Thanks very much.

Paul: Thank you.

Ringo: Good to see you. Keep kicking.

John: Keep kicking.

Last updated on December 1, 2023

Going further

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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