Summer 1966 US tour

From Aug 12, 1966 to Aug 29, 1966 • By The Beatles
First date:
Aug 12, 1966
Last date:
Aug 29, 1966
Number of concerts:
19
Number of countries:
2

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About

From Wikipedia:

The Beatles staged their third and final concert tour of the United States in August 1966. It consisted of 19 performances, with 17 shows in US venues and two in Canada. The tour was plagued with backlash regarding the controversy of John Lennon’s remark about the Beatles being “more popular than Jesus”, death threats, and the band’s own dissatisfaction with the noise levels and their ability to perform live. Their speaking out against the Vietnam War added further controversy to the visit.

The band played to large audiences in open-air stadiums throughout the tour, but ticket sales were hindered by the “Jesus” controversy. The US press reported a less frenzied response from the group’s fans and speculated on the end of Beatlemania. Having already decided to retire from live performances at the end of the year, the 1966 US tour was the last series of commercial concerts undertaken by the Beatles. Thereafter, they continued as a studio band and focused exclusively on record production.

Background

Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, announced the band’s intention to tour the United States in early March 1966 while in New York. Taking place in August, it was the band’s third annual summer tour of the US. The shows formed the second leg of a world tour, following concerts in June and July in West Germany, Japan and the Philippines.

When in Tokyo, the Beatles received death threats and, aside from their professional engagements, were confined to their hotel suite. In Manila, they were manhandled by citizens and military personnel for a perceived slight to Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos. Believing that their tours had grown too large and complex for Epstein to manage, the band decided to abandon touring following the upcoming US concerts. When asked what the group planned to do after their ordeal in Manila, George Harrison said: “We’re going to have a couple of weeks to recuperate before we go and get beaten up by the Americans.”

Escalation of the “Jesus” controversy

Plans for the tour were jeopardised in late July by the reaction to John Lennon’s comments that the Beatles had become “more popular than Jesus”. Lennon made the remark to Maureen Cleave of the London Evening Standard in February, during his interview for the newspaper’s “How Does a Beatle Live?” series. Cleave noted Lennon’s interest in Christianity and religions, to which he replied:

Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.

His comments caused little concern in the UK nor in the US, initially. On 29 July, however, the US teen magazine Datebook reproduced Cleave’s article, with the “I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity!” remark placed prominently on the cover, provoking outrage among Christian fundamentalists, particularly in the US South. Led by WAQY in Birmingham, Alabama, several radio stations there organised bonfires where listeners were invited to burn their Beatles records and merchandise, and programmers initiated a ban on the band’s music.

In an attempt to quell the furore, Epstein flew to New York and gave a press conference on 5 August. The controversy followed that surrounding the butcher cover originally used in June for the Beatles’ North American LP Yesterday and Today. Soon withdrawn by Capitol Records, the cover was said to convey the band’s opposition to the Vietnam War. The publication of Paul McCartney’s comment, from a 1 August radio interview, that Americans were obsessed with money furthered the mood of disquiet surrounding the Beatles. In his press conference, Epstein said that he was prepared to cancel shows if any American promoter wished to back out, but that all the individuals were keen for the tour to go ahead. According to Beatles road manager Neil Aspinall, none of the promoters chose to cancel their events.

Early August was also marked by race riots in Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha and Philadelphia, and by news of a killing spree in Texas carried out by Charles Whitman, a former US Marine. Derek Taylor, the band’s former press officer and a music publicist in California, wrote in his column for Disc and Music Echo that “America is not too settled at the moment and I don’t think it is any time for the Beatles to be here.” Reporting in London for The Village Voice, Richard Goldstein stated that Revolver, the Beatles’ new album, was ubiquitous around the city, as if Londoners were uniting behind the band in response to the bad press emanating from the US. He said there was a “genuine anxiety” among fans for the group’s safety and quoted one, a New Yorker, as saying, “If anything happens to them, man, it’s World War III.”

Repertoire and tour personnel

The US shows were in the package-tour format typical of the 1960s. The support acts throughout the tour were the Ronettes, the Cyrkle, Bobby Hebb and the Remains. The latter also served as the backing group for the Ronettes and Hebb.

The Beatles’ set lasted around 30 minutes and was almost identical to that performed in their June–July concerts. The sole difference was that “Long Tall Sally” replaced “I’m Down” as the closing number. None of the tracks from Revolver were included due to the difficulty in reproducing their sophisticated studio sounds and arrangements in a concert setting. “Paperback Writer” was therefore the only 1966 recording represented in the set. In the altered release schedules imposed by Capitol for North America, however, “Nowhere Man” and the Yesterday and Today track “If I Needed Someone” were also first issued in 1966, having been part of the December 1965 LP Rubber Soul in other markets.

A handpicked press corps accompanied the Beatles, travelling with the band members and filing reports for their organisations. Among these were British disc jockeys Kenny Everett, Ron O’Quinn and Jerry Leighton; TeenSet editor Judith Sims, representatives from Teen Life magazine and Hearst Newspapers, and Datebook editor Art Unger; and a group of American DJs that included Jim Stagg and George Klein.

Lennon’s apology

When the band arrived in Chicago on 11 August for the start of the tour, Epstein and press officer Tony Barrow arranged a press conference at the Astor Tower Hotel to address the controversy and for Lennon to explain himself. Lennon stated that he was only commenting on the decline among churchgoers, that he made a mistake in using the Beatles’ following in comparison with that of organised religion, and that he “never meant it as a lousy anti-religious thing”. Parts of the press conference were broadcast on all the major US television networks and by ITV in the UK.

In a private meeting with Art Unger, Epstein asked him to surrender his press pass for the tour, to avoid accusations that Datebook and the Beatles’ management had orchestrated the controversy as a publicity stunt. Unger refused and, in his account, received Lennon’s full support when he later discussed the meeting with him.

The apology placated many of those offended by the Datebook article; WAQY called off its Beatle bonfire, planned for 19 August, and some stations lifted their radio bans. The controversy nevertheless hung over the entire tour and overshadowed the US release of Revolver and its accompanying single, “Eleanor Rigby” / “Yellow Submarine“. Lennon continued to be asked about the topic in subsequent press conferences, often visibly exasperating not only him, but his bandmates as well.[citation needed]

Crowd control

The first serious crowd disturbance occurred at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, where the Beatles performed to nearly 30,000 on 14 August. As they started to play “Day Tripper“, over 2,000 fans broke through the security barriers separating the audience from the area housing the elevated stage, causing the Beatles to stop the performance and shelter backstage. Thirty minutes passed before security was restored and the show resumed. Commentators likened the episode to the race riots that had taken place in the east of Cleveland shortly beforehand, and substantial damage was done to the stadium.

Following their concert at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on 28 August, the Beatles were unable to leave the venue for about two hours. Around 100 private security personnel had been assigned to control the crowd of 45,000 fans, 7,000 of whom broke through the fencing and thwarted the band’s exit in an armoured van. The Beatles remained trapped in a dressing room until, after two unsuccessful attempts to fool the crowd using decoy vehicles, they were able to escape with assistance from the local police. Some fans were injured and others arrested in clashes with the police.

Memphis stopover

The tour’s only stopover in the Bible Belt was Memphis, Tennessee, where two shows were scheduled at the Mid-South Coliseum for 19 August. The city council there voted to cancel the afternoon and evening concerts rather than have “municipal facilities be used as a forum to ridicule anyone’s religion”. The Ku Klux Klan nailed a Beatles LP to a wooden cross, vowing “vengeance”, and conservative groups staged further public burnings of Beatles records. Epstein nevertheless went ahead with the shows, which were preceded by further threats to the group. Members of the Ku Klux Klan demonstrated outside the venue on 19 August, and around 8,000 locals took part in an anti-Beatles rally elsewhere in the city.

Although no problems took place during the afternoon show, an audience member threw a lit firecracker onstage that did not hit any of the members, but the band believed that somebody had tried to shoot them. When the firecracker went off, Barrow recalled that “everybody, all of us at the side of the stage, including the three Beatles on stage, all looked immediately at John Lennon. We would not at that moment have been surprised to see that guy go down. John had half-heartedly joked about the Memphis concert in an earlier press conference, and when we got there everything seemed to be controlled and calm, but underneath somehow, there was this nasty atmosphere. It was a very tense and pressured kind of day.”

Opposition to Vietnam War

Lennon and Harrison had warned Epstein that they were no longer prepared to stay silent about pressing political issues such as the Vietnam War. The controversy surrounding Lennon’s “Jesus” remarks reinforced their determination to speak out and furthered the Beatles’ standing in the emerging counterculture. At the time, 90 per cent of Americans still supported their country’s involvement in the conflict.

Having first voiced the group’s opposition to the Vietnam War during their stay in Tokyo, Lennon caused further controversy during the band’s press conference in Toronto on 17 August when he stated his support for American draft-dodgers escaping to Canada. When the band arrived in New York on 22 August, Lennon again criticised US participation in the war. All four Beatles publicly denounced the war as “wrong”. At Shea Stadium the following day, the pre-show press conference descended into an argument between members of the media over the Beatles’ opposition to the war.

Final concert

The Beatles’ final paid concert of their career took place on 29 August at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. The band played to an audience of 25,000, leaving 7,000 tickets unsold. A local company called Tempo Productions was in charge of the arrangements. Due to the reduced ticket sales and the expense of paying the Beatles their prearranged $50,000 performance fee, in addition to having to hire an orchestra to satisfy the local musicians union, the concert resulted in a loss for the company. At 9:27 pm, the Beatles took the stage and proceeded to play their eleven-song set.

McCune Sound Services of San Francisco provided the sound system for the concert. The company’s log-book entry for the job includes the note: “Bring everything you can find!” Mort Field, who mixed the sound from a dugout at the venue, recalled that the Beatles were so unconcerned about sound quality that Ringo Starr chose to sing into the counterweight of the heavy boom stand microphone set up at his drum kit, rather than the microphone itself.

Knowing that this would be their last concert, members of the band took measures of their own to capture their last moments on stage. Each brought a camera and McCartney asked Barrow to make a rough audio tape recording from the field. The recording of this final concert is now widely circulated on bootlegs. “Long Tall Sally” on the bootlegs is not complete, due to Barrow not flipping the tape over during the show. Barrow gave the original tape of the Candlestick Park concert to McCartney. He also made a single copy, which was kept in a locked drawer in Barrow’s office desk.

After the show, the Beatles were quickly taken to the airport in an armoured car. They flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles, arriving at 12:50 am. During the flight, Harrison was heard to say: “That’s it, then. I’m not a Beatle anymore.” The first band member to tire of Beatlemania, Harrison later said of the group’s decision to quit touring: “We’d been through every race riot, and every city we went to there was some kind of a jam going on, and police control, and people threatening to do this and that … and [us] being confined to a little room or a plane or a car. We all had each other to dilute the stress, and the sense of humour was very important … But there was a point where enough was enough.”

Author Jonathan Gould comments on the significance of the Beatles ending their careers as live performers in San Francisco, since the city was the location for the first Human Be-in in January 1967. This and similar events were sponsored by the Family Dog collective, whose vision was to make San Francisco “America’s Liverpool”.

Reception

Typically of the era, newspaper coverage of the concerts focused on the size of the audiences, the volume of the fans’ screams, and box office takings, rather than attempting to review each event or discuss the music. Throughout the tour, the US press seized on the opportunity to predict the end of Beatlemania and remarked on the absence of the usual crowds of screaming fans at the airports on their itinerary. The high-pitched screaming synonymous with Beatlemania was reduced, but most of the shows were still marked by wild crowd behaviour. In their comments during the tour, Lennon and Harrison each said that their American audiences included more young males than before, a development that Harrison welcomed as a reason for the reduced screaming and attributed to the band’s musical growth on Rubber Soul and Revolver. The Beatles’ ability to appeal to both sexes in this way helped codify a new youth movement in the US, which sought expression in student demonstrations at Berkeley from late 1966 onwards.

The tour was affected by the prevailing mood of controversy and there were rows of empty seats at some venues. The Beatles held a second successful concert at New York’s Shea Stadium, following the world-record attendance they set there in August 1965, although ticket sales were down to 45,000, around 10,000 below the previous year. Author Nicholas Schaffner later wrote that although the numbers at Shea fell short of the 1965 total, the Beatles’ ability to sell as many tickets as they did in 1966 was still “a feat nobody else at the time could have come near to duplicating”.

On 28 August, the day of the band’s penultimate concert, Epstein issued a press release in response to claims that some of the shows had been poorly attended:

This tour compares phenomenally well with last year’s. It’s much better all round this year, from the point of view of increased interest and we are actually playing to bigger audiences. Here in Los Angeles, for example, 36,000 people saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl [in August 1965]. Today’s concert at Dodger Stadium is attracting 10,000 more. People have been saying things about diminishing popularity, but all one can go by is attendances, which are absolutely huge. By the time we leave, 400,000 people will have seen this series of shows … […]


At the beginning, we felt that we had to do something about the remark John made or get got! People in America took what he had said as an arrogant remark. It wasn’t. The first few days were peculiar because it just wasn’t a Beatles tour. We would have been more worried if we hadn’t been working and so preoccupied. But after we’d been to Memphis — which we were most worried about — it was fine. We were in America as usual and that was that. Before we went was the worst time. People kept saying ‘Are you sure you’re going to be safe?’. And I suppose we could have been in danger. The Americans were roused. And if anyone had wanted to shoot us it would have been easy for them — at one of those concerts with thousands of people milling around. In fact, as it turned out the whole thing had been blown up terrifically by the time it had reached the British papers. We found out that the guy who started it did it purely as an unashamed publicity stunt. If we’d known that before we went we wouldn’t have been so anxious.

Paul McCartney – From Disc And Music Echo, September 10, 1966

We had a rough tour. After John’s bigger than Jesus quote, we suddenly had all the Ku Klux Klansmen burning our records on crosses and people marching around protesting about us. As a tour, it wasn’t particularly worse than any of the others, but we’d had enough. Our concerts sold out, and the individual shows were great. But some people were continually trying to knock us. I remember John and George getting really pissed off at the whole thing. So we simply decided to give up all the hassle and work in the studio.

Paul McCartney – from “John Lennon, My Brother” by Julia Baird, 1988

Then John just happened to mention that The Beatles were bigger than Jesus.

Well, that’s when the laughing stopped. That’s when it got serious. Of course, John never meant to say that The Beatles were literally bigger than Christ. He was only referring to the lack of attendance in church. He was actually taking a sympathetic point of view.

Was he wrong to publicly apologise for it?

Yeah, that’s easy to say. But you weren’t there, mate. We were in the American South just after the story had broken. I still remember this young blond boy, no more than 12 years old, banging on the window, raging, like we were devils. When you come up against that, oh dear me, you think, “Who needs this?” We had religious fanatics burning our records, the KKK were making death threats. There was a whole climate of hate and fear and we were bang in the middle of it. Of course, you look back and feel glad that those people were against you, because we were certainly against them.

Paul McCartney – From interview with UNCUT, July 2004

When we played one place it rained quite heavily, and they put bits of corrugated iron over the stage, so it felt like the worst little gig we’d ever played at even before wed started as a band. We were having to worry about the rain getting in the amps and this took us right back to the Cavern days — it was worse than those early days. And I don’t even think the house was full.

After the gig I remember us getting in a big, empty steel-lined wagon, like a removal van. There was no furniture in there — nothing. We were sliding around trying to hold on to something, and at that moment everyone said, ‘Oh, this bloody touring lark – I’ve had it up to here, man.’

I finally agreed. I’d been trying to say, ‘Ah, touring’s good and it keeps us sharp. We need touring, and musicians need to play. Keep music live.’ I had held on to that attitude when there were doubts, but finally I agreed with them.

George and John were the ones most against touring; they got particularly fed up. So we agreed to say nothing, but never to tour again. We thought we’d get into recording, and say nothing until some journalist asked, ‘Are you going out on tour?’ — Not yet.’ We wouldn’t make The Big Announcement that we’d finished touring forever, but it would gradually dawn on people: They don’t appear to be going on tour, do they? How long was that? Ten years? Maybe they’ve given it up.’

That was the main point: we’d always tried to keep some fun in it for ourselves. In anything you do you have to do that, and we’d been pretty good at it. But now even America was beginning to pall because of the conditions of touring and because we’d done it so many times.

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles Anthology” book, 2000

Describe the mood of The Beatles during their 19 day tour of America.

Well, I’d say the mood was fairly different at different times on the tour. In the beginning there was a big uproar about the statement that John had made. Also, he had to face the American press in Chicago. At first, it was very tense in that regard. After that had kind of smoothed out, we were having a good time with them on tour. They seemed calm and seemed to be enjoying themselves, but working hard. I mean, it was a fast traveling tour. It was the biggest tour in the world at the time. We were in a different city every day. So it was a hardworking tour and there were a lot of logistical problems like getting in and out of cities and in and out of hotels and in and out of stadiums without The Beatles having any security problems. Then in Memphis, with the big cherry bomb incident, when that was over and we got out of Memphis, there was a visible relief. Earlier that day coming from Boston on the plane, there was kind of a heavy mood. But after that Memphis concert, things lightened.

Barry Tashian – From the support act The Remains – From Gary James’ Interview With Barry Tashian Of The Remains (classicbands.com)

There were only two American writers along for the entire tour, two British disc jockeys (one of them Kenny Everett, since a TV star) and Bess Coleman, a Scottish woman who edited Teen Life. Some writers and disc jockeys joined the tour in their respective cities. Everyone– everyone– had a chance at the Fab Four, but those of us with the red tour passes had more chances. We rode the same buses (yes, buses–the Beatles hated to fly, especially George, so we bused from Chicago to Detroit and from New York to Philadelphia) and airplanes, hung around backstage and stood smack up against every stage for every performance. After each concert, the press people dutifully climbed into a limo and acted as decoys, luring rabid fans to pound on our windows while the Beatles escaped via another route. Sometimes this was fun; occasionally it was terrifying.

We didn’t get to eat with the Beatles (nor, alas, sleep with them), but we were with them a good 12 hours of every day. When we flew, it was usually in small chartered airplanes; every landing was applauded with relief. Paul, George and Ringo wandered about the planes like good hosts, chatting with everyone. John didn’t socialize much.

Judith Sims – Editor of TeenSet magazine in 1966 – From Los Angeles Times, 1986

August 29, 1966 in San Francisco – From Paul Unveils Never Before Released Beatles Photos | PaulMcCartney.com – The Beatles © Jim Marshall Photography LLC

THEY HAVE SINGLE AND LP HIT IN BRITAIN, BUT THE QUESTION OF THE HOUR IS… WILL BEATLES BE SAFE IN AMERICA?

THE Beatles were leaving yesterday (Thursday) for their third American tour — and a hotbed of trouble. The question was: Will the Beatles be safe in America? Reports from NME correspondents on both sides of the United States indicate that people there are seething over the religious remarks made by John Lennon in an interview with the London “Evening Standard,” printed last March, which has since been syndicated throughout the world writes Chris Hutchins.

From New York June Harris cables: “Demonstrations and protests are expected all along the tour — enough for the organisers to be seriously concerned for the Beatles’ security. Even at this late stage there are rumours that they will cancel the tour but this could only have a disastrous effect on their career.

Undoubtedly the Beatle concerts will be their usual tremendous success. Few genuine Beatle fans will have been swayed by John’s alleged opinions on religion. But his remarks have supplied fuel to people who have never liked the Beatles; those who are jealous of their success.

Remember the trouble in Manila a few weeks ago? Few of those people who angrily jostled John, Paul, George and Ringo really cared about the lady they were supposed to have offended. The incident had provided an excuse for non-Beatle fans to “have a go.” In short, it has become almost fashionable to be a Beatle hater.

So how much danger do they face in America? Certainly far more than they ever could at home. There has been no major British reaction to the issue. Nobody tried to ban their records when the article was published here some months ago.

But Americans are demonstrative; their protests can be fanatical. Violence which is unheard of here is going on in some part of the U.S. every day. The Ku-Klux-Klan is already trying to organise fires burning Beatle records and hair from Beatle haircuts — the sort of ritual our own ancestors indulged in centuries ago.

WE USED TO BURN HERETICS — LET’S HOPE THE KLANSMEN DON’T HAVE THE SAME FATE IN MIND FOR THE BEATLES!

Ignore the action being taken by American radio stations of banning Beatle records — in most cases, it’s typical of the stunts staged by these publicity seekers. It won’t harm their record sales and the stations will be quick to “reinstate” the records when audience figures start to drop away.

But don’t ignore the threats of demonstrations — these could be dangerous. In New York at the weekend Brian Epstein told the Press it was a storm in a tea cup.

… but he left a sick bed in Wales, where he had been ordered by his doctor for complete rest, and flew 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to tell them that!

WITHOUT DOUBT THIS WILL BE THE BEATLES’ MOST CONTROVERSIAL TOUR. THE NME HAS ARRANGED EOR A NETWORK OF ON-THE-SPOT REPORTERS TO COVER IT CITY BY CITY. YOU CAN FOLLOW THE TOUR BY THEIR REPORTS STARTING NEXT WEEK IN THE NME.

From New Musical Express – August 12, 1966
From New Musical Express – August 12, 1966

BEATLES USA ’66

New York, Tuesday. — Time for the reckoning. Now that the Beatles’ American tour is over the half-way hurdle. I can give a firm answer to the $64,000-question: Are the Beatles still as popular with Stateside audiences? There has been a lot of talk in the Press that their popularity is on the wane… But the box-office provides the answer. Brian Epstein tells me that more people have come to see them this year than last. This means, of course, that the gross takings are far greater.

So that’s cleared up the Big Question of ’66. And knocked the knockers for six!

Cincinatti was rained out. But it didn’t dampen the spirit of the kids; they just stood there getting soaking wet for four hours. There was no canopy over the stage and the equipment was spoiled by condensation which made it dangerous for the Beatles to use, so the show was postponed until 12 noon the next day, when the kids turned up by the thousand to see the world’s greatest group.

Another thing that had us a bit worried: the concert at Memphis. Tennessee. There was threatened trouble from the so-called “Bible-Belt.” But when we arrived we were greeted so warmly and with such genuine enthusiasm, we really wanted to stay forever. The police, the fans and the people in the street just went out to make us feel at home.

Even at the religious meeting, held at (he same time as the Beatles’ concert, the people prayed for the forgiveness of our audience and all of us!

As I am writing, we have just arrived in New York for Tuesday’s concert at the Shea Stadium. Everywhere we have been, hundreds of kids have been hanging around our hotel hoping for a glimpse of the Beatles. But the security arrangements have been very tight and not many of the fans have been lucky.

“We come out here to do shows and if we show our faces outside our room, we would be torn apart, so it has to be this way.” George told me. “After all, the main thing we want to do is stay alive.” Sounds fair enough.

Paul tells me the decision to release “Yellow Submarine” and “Eleanor Rigby” was Brian Epstein’s alone, although it is usually up to the boys. The reason is that it wasn’t really scheduled for release, but Brian thought the two best tracks should be made a single before anyone else could cover them. He seems to know what he’s up to, judging by the success of the record. Brian adds he expects the boys to bring back over $1,000,000 to Britain, which should help the financial scene quite a bit. The trouble is we can’t give them M.B.E.s all over again, perhaps a knighthood this time?

Now for the other acts in the show.

It’s quite a line-up: The Cyrkle, whose “Red Rubber Ball” reached No. 2 out here; Bobby Hebb, No. 1 at the moment with “Sunny,” and the Ronettes, who, of course, have had so many hits and are expecting to release a new one soon. Incidentally, Veronica of the Ronettes is getting married to Phil Spector in the near future. They’re all great to be with and it’s a really happy show.

There is quite a thing here with those “granny” sunglasses — the ones with the small lenses and gold rims. Nearly all of us wear them. I think I’ve got the weirdest selection so far, with triangular ones, big squares, oblongs, ovals, etc. I always get John laughing when he sees me wearing any of them. But maybe it’s not just the glasses.

On the plane from St. Louis to New York, John said he’d heard that Radio Caroline is now the No. 1 station in Britain. He thought it is right to be this way. We spent about half an hour discussing the difficulties confronting the marine radio stations, and between us have got the whole problem solved!

While we were talking George was working on a wild flowery sort of doodle, believe me it was really wild.

The fellows are looking forward to reaching Los Angeles where they will have a rest before returning home to Britain. If you want to see them arriving at London Airport you will have to get up early.

Our plane is due in at 6.30 a m. on August 31. We all hope to see you there. Until then from John, Paul George and Ringo and me, goodbye now.

From Disc And Music Echo – August 27, 1966
From Disc And Music Echo – August 27, 1966

Beatles Go Home $1 Million Richer – But Popularity Waning

LOS ANGELES (UPI) – The Beatles winged their way back to Britain yesterday with a bundle of about $1 million Yankee and Canadian dollars earned in 14 appearances that totaled only 7 hours of work.

The moptop lads from Liverpool were sitting on top of the world last night — financially and literally — for their flight put them over the North Pole on their way to a sunrise landing today at London Airport.

However, despite the pile of shekels the Beatles collected during their latest three-week visit to North America, there were signs that the popularity of Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison appeared to be waning slightly.

Audiences in New York, San Francisco, Cincinnati and St. Louis proved disappointingly small. The lowly New York Mets baseball team has drawn more fans to Shea Stadium than the 40,000 who paid $292,000 to see and hear the Beatles. Only half of the expected 22.000 fans attended their concert in Cincinnati, although in fairness it should be noted that the performance was delayed a day by rain. Busch Stadium’s 50,000 seats were only half-filled by Missourians. And in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, the seaside, wind-whipped home of the Giants baseball team, only slightly more than half the park’s 32.000 seats were filled for the Beatles’ final performance Monday night.

For their finale, the Beatles earned about $90,000 or $3,000 per minute. Sunday’s appearance at Dodger Stadium attracted more than 40,000 fans. For singing 10 songs in 30 minutes, the famed quartet earned about $5,000 per minute.

From The San Bernardino County Sun – August 31, 1966
From The San Bernardino County Sun – August 31, 1966

U.S. NOTES – “WE LOVE PAUL’S TOOTH”… “HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, JOHN AND CYN”… “THE BEATLES BEAT ALL”… “HAPPINESS IS GEORGE”… “RINGO IS THE SEXY BEATLE”… “HELP! WE NEED YOU BEATLES” … “PAUL IS ALL”.

Above I show just a few of the hundred or more colourfully painted banners which dangled from railings and balconies at New York’s impressive Shea Stadium when The Beatles played to over 50,000 fans on Tuesday, August 23. Twenty-four hours earlier promoter Sid Bernstein had delivered his formal invitation for the group to appear again at Shea next summer.

All through the August tour there was every indication that The Beatles are more popular than ever in America and Canada. Although concert ticket prices stayed as for the ’65 shows, this year’s tour grossed substantially more dollars – in other words many more Beatle People bought seats. In Los Angeles, for instance, two 1965 performances at Hollywood Bowl attracted a total audience of around 36,000. This time a crowd in excess of 44,000 Los Angeles fans saw The Beatles at Dodger Stadium.

The opening of the tour was cloaked in uncertainty— it was impossible to predict in advance just how severely John’s statement about Christianity had been misunderstood. Nervously but deliberately John faced the world’s most influential news media at the opening conference at Chicago’s ultra-plushy Astor Tower Hotel.

Gradually, as the tour progressed, more and more people appreciated the real point of John’s original words—his feeling of regret that Christianity should be so obviously in decline.

As The Beatles moved from city to city we looked for signs of damage to The Beatles’ strength and found none. In Cleveland, at a kerbside stall outside the Municipal Stadium, I watched a man selling “I Love Paul”, “I Love Ringo” and “I Love George” buttons. But he hadn’t any “I Love John” badges. For a split second the thought flashed through my mind that John’s buttons had been banned. I asked the man. “Sold out,” he replied. “For every one of the others I’ve sold six John buttons. I’m all out of’em!”

Neither “Eleanor Rigby” nor “Yellow Submarine” lend themselves to stage presentation in “live” concert. So both sides of their latest single were missing from The Beatles’ tour programme. Instead they included a number of much older items which have become strong request favourites in their repertoire.

For the boys themselves, one of the tour’s highlights was an experimental Junior Press Conference in New York when 160 fans selected at random from the member lists of Beatles (U.S.A.) Ltd., the official fan club branch for America, fired questions at their fave foursome for nearly forty minutes. Indeed many of the questions were of greater interest than those posed by adult journalists at other conferences.

Otherwise Beatle People were as resourceful and ingenious as ever in their attempts to meet up with John, Paul, George and Ringo. In Philadelphia three girls—Barbara, Connie and Christine—penetrated umpteen security barriers and reached The Beatles’ dressing-room armed with a very official-looking letter which had an imposingly printed heading that read “Brian Epstein, 24 Coventry Square, London, S.E.18, England”. The letter, apparently typed by Anne Collingham, certainly convinced the Philly concert promoter who scrawled across it “O.K. to admit (signed) George Hamid”. Of course the whole thing was a clever forgery—what the girls had overlooked was the fact that Brian Epstein and others who were fully aware of his actual London address would be in the dressing-room. However, the boys were so impressed by the girls’ efforts that they invited Barbara, Connie and Christine to come in for a chat.

From The Beatles Monthly Book – October 1966
From The Beatles Monthly Book – October 1966

From The Beatles Press Pass For George Klein Memphis DJ With Typed | Lot #89098 | Heritage Auctions (ha.com) – The Beatles Press Pass For George Klein Memphis DJ With Typed Letters from NEMS (1966). George Klein was better known for his association with Elvis Presley. As a member of the Memphis Mafia, Klein went to school with Elvis and worked in Memphis radio. This press pass (with Klein’s name as “George Kline,” written on it in ink) was for access to the press conference at the Mid-South Coliseum on August 19, 1966. Also in this lot are three forms of typed documentation from NEMS relating to the 1966 tour.

Last updated on September 21, 2023

19 concerts • 2 countries




















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