Press conference in Memphis • Friday, August 19, 1966

Press conference • Interview of The Beatles
Timeline More from year 1966
Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, USA

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Andy Gray talks to the Beatles, 1968

Jul 13, 1968 • From New Musical Express

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Jun 09, 1968 • From BBC Radio 1

Interview for The Village Voice

May 16, 1968 • From The Village Voice

Interview for WNDT

May 14, 1968 • From WNDT

Interview for The Tonight Show

May 14, 1968 • From NBC

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On August 18, 1966, The Beatles held a concert in Boston. Following the performance, they and their team lodged in a Boston hotel. The next morning, they departed at 11:30 am, heading to Memphis, Tennessee, where two concerts awaited them.

The Coliseum, with a seating capacity of 13,300, witnessed an audience of 10,000 for the 4 pm showThe second show, commencing at 8:30 pm, attracted a larger crowd of 12,500. Between these performances, The Beatles addressed the media in a press conference. They were also interviewed by UK television ITN and by DJ Jim Stagg from radio station WCFL Chicago.

There was a press conference between shows. The moment we had all been anticipating was upon us. We all imagined horrible things happening to John, spiteful questions and the like. It was a crowded, fan-filled conference and it went extremely well. Press Officer Tony Barrow had to insist, in a harried tone at one point, “No autographs at a press conference, please!” It was well over halfway through when someone mentioned “the” topic, and it was immediately greeted with groans, moans, and other signs of disgust. But, it was a mild question. Once it was over, The Beatles practically had to take flight to get out of there before the fan-type reporters could surround them.

Judith Sims – From TeenSet Magazine – Quoted in “Ticket To ride – The Extraordinary Diary of The Beatles’ Last Tour” by Barry Tashian

Q: John, what do you think of the Beatles record bans?

John Lennon: I don’t mind people banning our records, or not liking them. That’s their right, to ban ‘em or not play ‘em.

George Harrison: A lot of banning seems to have been for publicity. They seem to be lifting the bans now because they’ve got their publicity, but they still seem to need to play our records.

Q: Ringo, when are you going to release some pictures of your baby?”

Ringo: When someone else sneaks in and takes some I guess!


Q: John, how does it feel to be in the Bible Belt?

John Lennon: We’ve never heard of it before. It’s just like a tag, like the Mop Top Four. It really doesn’t mean anything.

Q: Why are you appearing in a movie without the other three?

John Lennon: Some men rang me up and said, ‘Do you want to appear in a movie without the other three?’ and I said, ‘Yeah.’


Q: It was said that you would record Revolver in Memphis. What happened?

Paul McCartney: Little things kept getting in the way, like money. We wanted to come. A couple of tracks would have been much better if we had come. We wanted Steve Cropper, a guitarist for Booker T & The MG’s to A & R the session. He’s the best we’ve heard.

Q: John, some people say you are the first pacifist heroes. What do you say to that?”

John: I don’t mind. That’s one title we don’t mind having pinned on us.

The Beatles were also interviewed by the UK TV channel ITV, as reported by Beatles Interview: Memphis, Tennessee 8/19/1966 – Beatles Interviews Database

Q: “What difference has all this row made to this tour, do you think? Any at all?”

JOHN: (opens his mouth widely to speak, and comically freezes with his mouth open)

RINGO: (laughs)

PAUL: “Umm, I don’t think it’s made much. It’s made it more hectic. It’s made all the press conferences mean a bit more. People said to us last time we came, all our answers were a bit flippant, and they said ‘Why isn’t it this time?’ And the thing is the questions are a bit more serious this time. It hasn’t affected any of the bookings. The people coming to the concerts have been the same, except for the first show in Memphis which was a bit down, you know. But, uhh, so what.”

Q: “The disc jockey, Tommy Charles, who started this row off, has said that he won’t play your records until you’ve grown up a little. How do you feel about that?”

JOHN: “Well, I don’t mind if he never plays them again, you know.”

PAUL: “See, this is the thing. Everyone seems to think that when they hear us say things like this that we’re childish. You can’t say things like that unless you’re a silly little child.”

GEORGE: “And if he (Charles) was grown up, he wouldn’t have done the thing ‘cuz he only did it for a stunt, anyway. So I mean, who is he to say about growing up? Who is he?”

JOHN: (demandingly) “Who!!”

PAUL: (jokingly to George) “Who is this guy?”

JOHN: (smiling) “Other than that, it’s great.”

PAUL: “Quite a swinging tour.”

Q: “Do you feel that Americans are out to get you… that this is all developing into something of a witch hunt?”

PAUL: “No. We thought it might be that kind of thing. I think a lot of people in England did, because there’s this thing about, you know, when America gets violent and gets very hung-up on a thing, it tends to have this sort of ‘Ku Klux Klan’ thing around it.”

Q: “It seems to me that you’ve always been successful BECAUSE you’ve been outspoken, direct, and forthright, and all this sort of thing. Does it seem a bit hard to you that people are now knocking you for this very thing?”

JOHN & PAUL: (smiling, and comically exaggerated nodding) “Yes!!”

JOHN: “It seems VERY hard.”

PAUL: “It seems hard. You know, free speech.”

Q: “But is it possible just to say what you think all the time? What about 14-year-old teenagers who think you’re absolutely marvelous?”

PAUL: “See, we’re not… When we say anything like that, we don’t say it, as other people seem to think, to be offensive. We mean it helpfully, you know. And if it’s wrong, what we say, okay it’s wrong. And people can say, you know, ‘You’re wrong about that one.’ But in many cases we believe it’s right. We’re quite serious about it.”

Q: “But do you mind being asked questions, for example in America people keep asking you questions about Vietnam. Does this seem useful?”

PAUL: “Well, I dunno, you know. If you can say that war is no good, and a few people believe you, then it may be good. I don’t know. You can’t say too much, though. That’s the trouble.”

JOHN: “It seems a bit silly to be in America and for none of them to mention Vietnam as if nothing was happening.”

Q: “But why should they ask you about it? You’re successful entertainers.”

JOHN: “Because Americans always ask showbiz people what they think, and so do the British. (comically) Showbiz… you know how it is!”

RINGO: (laughs)

JOHN: “But I mean you just gotta… You can’t keep quiet about anything that’s going on in the world, unless you’re a monk. (jokingly, with dramatic arm gestures) Sorry, monks! I didn’t mean it! I meant actually….”

(Beatles laugh)

JOHN: “It doesn’t matter about people not liking our records, or not liking the way we look, or what we say. You know, they’re entitled to not like us. And we’re entitled not to have anything to do with them if we don’t want to, or not to regard them. We’ve all got our rights, you know, Harold.”

From Mr Brian Epstein (
From 19 August 1966 – USA, Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis – Beatles and Solo Photos Forum (
From Performance in Memphis – The Beatles History (
From Performance in Memphis – The Beatles History (
From Performance in Memphis – The Beatles History (
From Performance in Memphis – The Beatles History (
From Performance in Memphis – The Beatles History (
From 19 August 1966 – USA, Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis – Beatles and Solo Photos Forum (
From Beatles Concert Tickets – Memphis 8/19/66 (

From 19 August 1966 – USA, Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis – Beatles and Solo Photos Forum ( – Booby Hebb one of the support acts for the 1966 North American tour. Huge hit with “Sunny.” There he is with the Fab Four in Memphis, TN. August 19, 1966.
From Performance in Memphis – The Beatles History ( – During an interview with Jim Stag, DJ at Doublevee CFL, Chicago.

Last updated on November 5, 2023


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