Thursday, June 30, 2011

From N.O. to K.C.

After the chaos in Cleveland, The Beatles were looking forward to visiting New Orleans, home of Fats Domino and Lloyd Price. In their room at the Congress Inn on the afternoon of September 16th, Paul spoke with Art Schreiber, while John chatted with Larry Kane.

After a press conference, the band did indeed get to meet with Fats Domino, but the concert at City Park Stadium was a bit of a circus, with mounted policemen chasing and rounding up fans who swarmed onto the field as The Beatles continued to play.

September 17th had been scheduled for a much-needed break in the tour, but Kansas City Athletics owner Charlie Finley made Brian Epstein and the group an offer they couldn't refuse: a record $150,000 for a single concert at Kansas City Municipal Stadium.

Here's a lengthy and excellent TV interview from the tour, exact date unknown, with The Beatles' suave press officer, Derek Taylor.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Amateur Hour

With the North American tour just five days from completion, Beatlemania finally burst at the seams in Cleveland on September 15th, 1964.

The initial press conference at the Sheraton Hotel was routine enough, and it was followed up by a second media event, with the band meeting WHK radio contest winners. They were also interviewed by Don Webster, host of WEWS-TV's pop music series, Upbeat.

Elsewhere, Derek Taylor and Brian Epstein sat for WKYC-TV's interviewer and expounded on the group's unflagging success. Another TV crew spoke with fans outside the hotel, and with Liverpool Echo correspondent George Harrison (no relation).

The concert, at the Public Auditorium, went as scheduled until the third number, "All My Loving", when a number of fans broke through the police cordon and rushed the stage. Deputy Inspector Carl Bare immediately took matters into his own hands, commandeering the microphone mid-song to announce that the show was over. Four reluctant Beatles headed backstage and registered their disgust to KYW radio listeners, thanks to Art Schreiber who phoned in a live report from the dressing room.

Once calm had been restored, thanks to Derek Taylor's appeal to the audience to behave, the performance continued. But as a result of the "pandemonium", Mayor Ralph Locher banned rock groups from playing at the Public Auditorium.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How Does It Feel To Be Put On?

September 13th, 1964 found The Beatles crossing two more concerts off their list, at Baltimore's Civic Center.

Between the shows, they slogged through another press conference, and spoke individually to Ed Rudy (or rather, someone representing Ed's "Radio Pulsebeat" team, possibly Jay Levy), WWDC-AM's Carroll James, KYW-AM's Jim Stagg, and WFUN-AM's Larry Kane.

From Baltimore it was on to Pittsburgh for a show at the Civic Arena on the 14th, covered in an earlier blog post. Here's a longer version of the fan interviews, and an upgrade of the TV interview, from a WABC-TV documentary, Beatlemania.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Hahd Day's Night

With assistance from George's sister Louise, WBZ-AM radio produced a documentary covering The Beatles' September 12th visit to Boston, from their 3:30am arrival at Hanscom Field in Bedford through their press conference at the Hotel Madison that afternoon to their concert at Boston Garden.

After the conference, WBZ's Gary LaPierre and Bob Kennedy spoke with three of the Beatles, while Larry Kane chatted with the fourth, John Lennon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Conch Buy Me Love

After their Montréal concerts, The Beatles were due to fly south to Jacksonville, Florida for two days of rest before their September 11th performance at the Gator Bowl.

Hurricane Dora threw a wrench into those plans, forcing them to fly all the way to Key West, where they enjoyed a couple of relaxed days at the Key Wester Hotel. By the morning of the 11th, they were clear to fly to Jacksonville, where their rooms at the George Washington Hotel weren't quite ready. They had an impromptu lunch of chicken sandwiches while chatting with the press, including reporter Jean Morris (no relation to Boris).

The concert was memorable for the high winds, remnants of the hurricane, and for Derek Taylor's on-stage threat to cancel the show if a certain unauthorized film crew didn't leave immediately. Taylor spoke with Larry Kane on that night's flight to Boston about the showdown.

Elsewhere (on dates unknown), Kane chatted with fellow reporter Ivor Davis and had Ringo say hi to Greg.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Seeing The Bricks

From Chicago, The Beatles flew to Detroit for two shows on September 6th. That night, it was on to Toronto, where they landed at Malton Airport just after 12:30 am on the 7th, greeted by hundreds of fans.

Between shows that evening at Maple Leaf Gardens, a press conference was held, after which a local TV reporter interviewed the band onstage. He also chatted with some of the teenagers who came into contact with the Fabs at the venue.

The entire visit was covered by CBC-TV for a brand-new public affairs series, This Hour Has Seven Days. The segment, aired on the debut episode October 4th, included footage of the concert, press conference, and their departure from Toronto International Airport the next morning.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Cheap Publicity Stunt

From Milwaukee, it was on to Chicago for a September 5th performance at the International Amphitheatre. Their arrival at Midway Airport was covered by WGN-TV, but wasn't without controversy.

Originally planned for O'Hare, the landing site was changed at the last moment by city officials in an effort to control crowd levels. Unfortunately, some in the media blamed The Beatles for the switcheroo, accusing them of not being fan-friendly. Once they had checked in to the Stockyards Inn, John and an exasperated Derek Taylor gave their side of the story to Larry Kane.

Soon after that, a press conference was held at the hotel in which John, already nursing a sore throat, snapped testily at several of the questions. The concert went off without a hitch, though, and afterwards they boarded a midnight flight bound for Detroit. As the plane waited to depart, freelance journalist Ivor Davis, covering the tour for London's Daily Express, was interviewed by WGN's reporter.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hi, Doc!

"On September 4, 1964, The Beatles gave a concert in Milwaukee, Stop Number 12 on their first American tour which visited 25 cities, from San Francisco to New York. It was the only time the group appeared in Wisconsin.

Prior to the concert, Harrison, McCartney, and Starr gave a press conference hosted by Barry. Lennon, nursing a sore throat and saving himself for the show, wasn't present.

When a reporter asked whether they were aware of Milwaukee prior to the gig, Starr replied quickly in his Liverpool accent, "I've 'eard of the beer that made it famous!" In response to, "Have you gentlemen given any thought to what you will do after the bubble bursts?" Harrison riposted, "Ice hockey" and McCartney, "Ringo originally wanted to own a string of hair-dressing salons."

Another reporter queried, "Do you yearn for a good haircut?" Harrison said, "No, thank you," and Starr, "Do you?"

Showing the proclivity to question authority that was part of the band's persona, there is sharp criticism of the Milwaukee Police, then led by Harold Breier who became chief earlier that year on March 17.

The Beatles were unhappy because they said after landing at Mitchell Field, police forced them to leave the airport for their hotel through an out-of-the-way gate, bypassing the hundreds of fans who had assembled near the main exit:

Reporter: "We have been told by the police department here that the decision to land where you did was made by your manager in the air."

McCartney (big groan): "Naughty police."

Unidentified Beatles Staffer (possibly Derek Taylor, the group's long-time press contact): "Whenever possible and even when it's almost impossible, The Beatles would always rather land in front of the terminal and be met by the kids who have been decent enough to come there. We never ever make the decision ourselves in midair or on the ground to avoid the fans. Ever."

McCartney: "And actually we were told as soon as we got on the ground today. One of the men from the agency came on board and said the police had said this. So we sent him back again. Go and ask the police chief again if we can just at least drive past the fans, you know, in the car, which is the least we can do. And again they told us, no. And he's a dirty, lying policeman who told you that." "

Here are brief TV clips of the airport arrival and Lennon-less press conference, and Larry Kane's Milwaukee interview with Paul, at the Coach House Motor Inn.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Indy Rockers

The Beatles landed at Weir Cook Airport in Indianapolis around 1am on September 3rd, flying in from Philadelphia, and checked in to the Speedway Motel. Once they arose that afternoon, KYW-AM's Art Schreiber was invited up to the rooms to chat with John and Ringo. Oddly, there are no Larry Kane interviews from this date, apart from a brief backstage chat with Bill English, singer for opening act Bill Black's Combo.

Their airport arrival, the first of two concerts at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum, a between-shows press conference, and the following morning's departure were all filmed by local station WISH-TV for a documentary, Our Fair Beatles, which aired September 9th. Ex-Liverpudlian reporter Bill Aylward also interviewed the quartet following the conference.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You Can't Have That on Tape!

September 2nd, 1964 saw The Beatles visit Philadelphia for a concert at the Convention Hall. Prior to the show, the usual press conference was held (only silent footage apparently exists), and then the band had nearly three hours to kill backstage before performing.

DJ Charlie Murdock of Miami's WQAM interviewed all four Beatles, while Larry Kane from rival Miami station WFUN spent over 40 minutes talking first with Paul, John, and Ringo, then John and Ringo... and then John and Ringo some more. Presumably George was in a "Quiet Beatle" mode.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ringo For Prez

From August 24th through 27th, 1964, the Democratic National Convention was held at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Lyndon Johnson was the party's nomination, but many fans who showed up at the Convention Center three nights later wore "Ringo for President" booster pins.

British news correspondent Peter Woods had been covering the event for ITV, staying at the Lafayette Motor Inn. When The Beatles checked in, naturally he filmed an interview with the band, on the afternoon of the 30th. WABC also filmed some interviews for a TV special, Beatlemania, probably between the press conference and concert. Meanwhile, another film crew interviewed a "fan" on the boardwalk.

The Beatles had two full days off in Atlantic City, August 31st and September 1st, most of which was spent in their hotel rooms playing cards and (naturally) Monopoly. During their stay, Larry Kane chatted with George Harrison, Derek Taylor, and Neil Aspinall.

And for good measure, here's another undated recording from the tour of Paul plugging Cilla Black's "It's For You".

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wade 'n' Kane

WFUN-AM newsman Larry Kane spent a lot of time with The Beatles during their August 28th-29th visit to New York. On the first evening, he spoke with Paul (and briefly with Ringo) at the Delmonico Hotel after the press conference. He followed the band to their concert at Forest Hills, and taped chats backstage with George and Ringo. He also interviewed Brian Epstein, with John butting in towards the end.

The following day, Kane talked at length with John, Paul, and George at the hotel. Also present was disc jockey "Long" John Wade of WDRC-AM in Hartford, Connecticut. Wade was able to snag a short promo from Paul, as well as a station ID.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

W-A-Beatle-C, WINS, and WMCA

New York City was the site of The Beatles' initial American triumph in February, 1964. Their return in August was heralded by incessant promotions, contests, hype and jingles from local stations such as WABC-AM.

Upon arriving at the Delmonico Hotel in the wee hours of August 28th, the group was mobbed by fans, one of whom tore Ringo's St. Christopher medal from his neck. WABC broadcast pleas for its safe return all morning, and around 4pm, 16-year-old Angie McGowan was able to reunite the medal with its owner - an event aired live by "Cousin" Bruce Morrow and Scott Muni on WABC.

Morrow also spoke with George at some point that day, probably following the group's 5:30 press conference at the hotel's Crystal Ballroom. Outside, a CBS-TV reporter interviewed the hotel's manager about the chaos caused by a Beatle booking.

Of course, the group didn't forget their old pal Murray the "K", chatting with him on WINS-AM. Cross-town rival station WMCA, home of the "Good Guys", managed to grab a promo from Ringo, and covered that evening's concert at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hi There, Beatle People!

Around noon on August 27th, The Beatles boarded a flight from Denver to Cincinnati, Ohio. KRLA's Dave Hull and Jim Steck were forced to part company with the band at this stage, but not before recording a final message from Ringo.

Being part of the official tour party, Larry Kane had access to the group during flights, but usually left them alone once airborne. But on this occasion, his tape machine was put into service capturing Beatles platitudes to be played back in London at a Melody Maker awards luncheon (they had been voted Best International Group by the paper's readers).

That evening, another press conference took place at the Cincinnati Gardens prior to a concert there, promoted by local radio station WSAI and its "Good Guys" jockeys. Given the Good Guys' prominence on a huge banner behind the Beatles as they played, one wonders who was actually promoting whom at this point.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Say Goodbye To Hollywood

August 25th, 1964 was a bona fide day off for The Beatles. After sleeping in late and lazing by the pool, most of the tour party accepted the invitation to Burt Lancaster's home for dinner and a private showing of A Shot In The Dark.

John remained behind in Bel Air to relax with Derek Taylor, receive guests, and record lengthy interviews with Larry Kane and KRLA-AM's Jim Steck. At some point during the Los Angeles trip, Steck's co-worker Dave Hull also chatted with Paul and Ringo.

The next morning, all four returned to Los Angeles International Airport where KABC-TV filmed their departure. Hull and Steck "stowed away" on the flight to Denver, where Hull was able to gather more interview material.

Ultimately, the Hull/Steck recordings were compiled on Vee Jay's LP Hear The Beatles Tell All, released in early November with bizarre superfluous percussion overdubs. But prior to that, on October 10th, Jim Steck had appeared on American Bandstand and aired clean versions of some of the interviews.

Friday, June 3, 2011


After five straight days of travel and concerts, The Beatles' tour machine paused on August 24th and 25th so that the boys could enjoy a couple of days in the California sun at a rented Bel Air mansion (owned by British actor Reginald Owen).

Which isn't to say they had no obligations - in fact, on their first "day off", they attended a celebrity garden soiree in support of the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California. KCBS-TV reporter Saul Halpert filmed an interview with Derek Taylor in Bel Air, and then captured the band's arrival at the Brentwood party. The charity event, at which The Beatles reluctantly shook hands with movie stars' children for an hour or so, was held at the home of the mother-in-law of Capitol Records' president Alan Livingston.

Capitol also dispatched producer Jack Wagner to Bel Air in hopes of recording some material for various promotional purposes. George and Ringo occupied themselves at the mansion's large swimming pool while John and Paul sat down inside with Wagner and a tape recorder. Previous blog posts have highlighted their Silver Platter Service/Teen Set interview, and Paul's contribution to Here's To Veterans.

Also taped that day was The Beatles Introduce New Songs, a promo single on which composers Lennon and McCartney introduced and back-announced new singles from Cilla Black and Peter and Gordon. Meanwhile, Capitol was assembling material for their own documentary double LP, The Beatles' Story, including fan interviews from Los Angeles and other cities.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rock And Roll At The Hollywood Bowl

Of all the concerts on the summer 1964 tour, The Beatles were most anxious about their August 23rd performance at the Hollywood Bowl. Not only was it a prestigious venue in a major media market, but Capitol Records would be recording the event for posterity.

The Bowl had been personally booked by KRLA disc jockey Bob Eubanks, who obtained a $25,000 loan against his home to secure the date. His foresight paid off when all the tickets sold as early as April. Eubanks presided over the pre-show press conference at his nightclub, the Cinnamon Cinder, and then introduced the band onstage.

Another KRLA DJ, Dave Hull, spoke with Ringo after the press conference. Backstage at the Bowl, Larry Kane interviewed a pair of female fans; meanwhile in New York that night, Ed Sullivan introduced a rerun of The Beatles' February appearance.