50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 15, 1964 (Tuesday)-

Public Auditorium, East 6th Street, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

During this one performance, fans manage to break through the police cordon and climb onto the stage. Police ordered the Beatles off the stage mid-song and the concert only resumed after a plea over the public-address system from Derek Taylor and a police threat that the rest of the show would be cancelled unless some semblance of order was restored.

In their dressing room backstage, John Lennon told Art Schreiber from local radio station KYW: “This has never happened to us before. We have never had a show stopped. These policemen are a bunch of amateurs.” An angry Brian Epstein nonetheless put up a diplomatic front, saying “The police were absolutely right. This has never happened before, but it was clear to me from the start that there was something very wrong. The enthusiasm of the crowd was building much too early.”

After a 10-minute delay Blackwell told the crowd the concert would continue if they remained in their seats. The morning hosts from KYW, Specs Howard and Harry Martin, were brought onstage to tell the audience to remain sitting, and shortly afterwards the show continued.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 14, 1964 (Monday)-

Civic Arena, Auditorium Place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

In it's fifty years as Pittsburgh's Rock n' Roll capital, the Civic Arena was the scene of thousands of special attractions and mind-bending happenings. September 14, 1964, was one of the high points in it's history as a concert venue. This was the day that legendary promoter Pat DiCesare brought Beatlemania to Pittsburgh.

Tickets went on sale in the spring at a cost of $5.90, and were available by mail-order only. This was almost double the going rate at the time, but the concert still sold out in a day and a half. The total take was $75,000, of which the Beatles were guaranteed $25,000 and a share of the gate. This was the first time that an act demanded and received a percentage of the gate as well as a guarantee. In the end, the Beatles were paid $37,000 for the show.

One problem encountered by the promoters was finding a place for the band to stay. Because of the fear of Beatlemania, no Pittsburgh hotels would take the band for the night, so they were forced to commute to Pittsburgh out of Cleveland.

By the morning of September 14, local radio stations KQV and KDKA had Beatle fans primed and ready for the happening. They spent the entire day of the show playing Beatle songs, along with updates on the band's anticipated arrival.

The plane carrying John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr touched down at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport at 4:36pm. They were met by a crowd of some 4000 fans, many of whom had been waiting since morning. There were 120 police officers providing security at the airport, including fifteen on horseback.

This was the only time that the Beatles played in Pittsburgh. Forty-six years later, on August 18, 2010, Beatle Sir Paul McCartney returned to play the Opening Night at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 13, 1964 (Sunday)-

Civic Center, West Baltimore St. Baltimore, Maryland, USA

This was The Beatles’ only visit to Baltimore. They performed two shows at the Civic Center, to a total of 28,000 fans. The support acts were The Bill Black Combo, The Exciters, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, and Jackie DeShannon.

The Beatles stayed at the Holiday Inn after the second show. Police officers on horseback restrained the fans from storming the building.

John Lennon was interviewed by Larry Kane as part of an on-going series of interviews with the group. Kane was the only American reporter allowed to travel with the Beatles during their 1964 North American tour, and also accompanied them on their 1965 tour.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 12, 1964 (Saturday)-

Boston Garden, Causeway St. Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The Beatles played just once concert on this night, before 13,909 fans. It was their only visit to the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

The venue opened in November 1928, and was originally named the Boston Madison Square Garden. It was located at North Station on Causeway Street, and hosted ice hockey and basketball games, as well as concerts, boxing, wrestling, circuses and other events. It closed in 1997, and was succeeded by the FleetCenter, later known as TD Garden.

The other acts on the bill on this night were, in order of appearance, The Bill Black Combo, The Exciters, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, and Jackie DeShannon.

The Beatles returned to Boston on just one other occasion, playing at Suffolk Downs Racetrack during their final tour on 18 August 1966.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 11, 1964 (Friday)-

Gator Bowl, East Adams St. Jacksonville, Florida, USA

The Beatles refused to play this one show until they received an assurance from the local promoter that the audience would not be color segregated.

Because of extensive damage caused by "Hurricane Dora", 9,000 of the 32,000 ticket holders were unable to get to the Gator Bowl.

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The Beatles 50 years ago today: September 10, 1964 (Thursday)-

The Beatles were to have had a rest day in Jacksonville, Florida, but stayed in Key West until Hurricane Isabel passed.

Much of the day was spent drinking, but The Beatles also jammed at their hotel with New Orleans rhythm and blues singer Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, plus members of their tour support acts The Bill Black Combo and The Exciters.

The Key Wester Motel, where The Beatles stayed, was later demolished and replaced with the Hyatt Windward Pointe. An open-air structure named the Beatles Hut commemorates the place where the group stayed.

The Beatles’ stay in Key West was later obliquely referenced in Here Today, Paul McCartney‘s 1982 tribute to John Lennon.

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The Beatles 50 years ago today: September 9, 1964 (Wednesday)-

The tour ends in Canada and the Beatles have a few days free on the tour.

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The Beatles 50 years ago today: September 8, 1964 (Tuesday)-

Forum, St. Catherine Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Two shows at the Forum, seen by 21,000 fans.

The Beatles gave a matinee performance to 9,500 fans that afternoon, and then later would give a sold-out evening concert before a crowd of 11,500. The Beatles held a press conference at 6pm from the stage of the Forum, between the afternoon and evening shows. Following the questions and answers with the Montreal press, John Lennon was briefly interviewed individually by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The Beatles' press conference and the John Lennon interview are both presented below.

Opening acts appearing before the Beatles took the stage at the Montreal Forum included the Righteous Brothers, Jackie de Shannon, the Bill Black Combo, and the Exciters.

From here the Beatles were next scheduled for a performance at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville Florida, but due to Hurricane Dora their flight needed to be detoured to Key West at the last moment.

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The Beatles 50 years ago today: September 7, 1964 (Monday)-

Maple Leaf Gardens, Carlton St. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Two Shows in one evening here in Canada, seen by a total of 35,522 spectators.

They flew to Toronto in their charter Electra aeroplane and, after signing autographs for immigration officials, were driven to the King Edward Hotel.

Between the car and the hotel Paul McCartney‘s shirt was torn by an overzealous fan. He and Ringo Starr were separated from John Lennon and George Harrison, but the police managed to restore order and they arrived in their suite safely. Once there, however, they found a 14-year-old girl hiding in a linen closet.

Toronto’s mayor, Philip Givens, and his wife, called at their suite at 1.30pm, but was turned away. A blonde woman is said to have answered the door, and told the couple that two of The Beatles were asleep and two others were with relatives. Canadian newspaper the Daily Star ran a story afterwards headlined “Beatles’ Blonde Snubs Mayor”.

To get to the Maple Leaf Gardens, The Beatles left by the hotel’s back entrance and boarded a police wagon. At the venue 4,000 police officers and Mounties were on duty, and a five-block surrounding area was sectioned off for 12 hours before the group’s arrival.

The first show was due to begin at 4pm, but The Beatles took to the stage after 5.30. They were introduced by Jungle Jay Nelson of radio station CHUM. The other acts on the bill were, in order of appearance, The Bill Black Combo, The Exciters, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, and Jackie DeShannon.

In between the two shows the group posed for photographs with local DJs, fan club presidents and Miss Canada, and gave a press conference to reporters. Their second performance began at 10pm.

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The Beatles 50 years ago today: September 6, 1964 (Sunday)-

Olympia Stadium, Grand River Ave/McGraw Ave. Detroit, Michigan, USA

The Motor City was the place of origin for the music the Beatles had professed to love in almost every interview and press conference -- The Detroit Sound, and the recording artists of the Tamla-Motown label.

The Beatles would perform two shows at Olympia Stadium. A press conference was held backstage at the Olympia between the two performances.

From the Press Conference:

DEREK TAYLOR:(to the press) "If anyone would like to raise their hand."

Q: "How do you like Detroit so far?"

JOHN: "Great."

PAUL: "What we've seen of it."


JOHN: "We see very little. The show, we enjoyed."

Q: "Is it a disappointment not to see it?"

JOHN: "No. We come here to play, not to see, you know."

PAUL: "We saw a bit of it though."

Q: "Does that noise out there go away with a little bit of cotton packed way deep in your ear so that the noise..."

JOHN & PAUL: "No."

JOHN: "We're used to it."

GEORGE: "We're immune to it."

Q: "It doesn't upset your musical balance?"

PAUL: "It sounds nice."

Q: "Which artist or musical group do you think has most influenced your music?"

JOHN: (jokingly) "Nicki Cuff."

PAUL: "Nicki Cuff, I'd say. No, uhh... American colored groups, mainly. And early Elvis Presley."

GEORGE: "In fact, The Detroit Sound."

JOHN: "In fact, yes."

GEORGE: "In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miricles."

JOHN: "We like Marvin Gaye."

GEORGE: "The Impressions, Marvin Gaye."

PAUL & GEORGE: "Mary Wells."

GEORGE: "The Exciters."

JOHN: "To name but eighty."

RINGO: "Chuck Jackson."

Q: "How many records have the Beatles sold?"

RINGO: "No idea."

JOHN & GEORGE: "We don't know."

JOHN: "It's a lot, somebody said."

Q: "What part of the film (A Hard Day's Night) did you enjoy making the most?"

JOHN & RINGO: "The bit in the field."

GEORGE: "And the bit in the bathroom. We had a laugh, didn't we. A laugh. We had a laugh, anyway."

Q: "Do the jellybeans bother the Beatles onstage?"


JOHN: "It's awful."

PAUL: "It's worse when it's not really jellybeans. When it's... Once there was about 'that long' silver pin that they use for sticking on kilts in Scotland."


PAUL: "And it came flying through about two-hundred-mile-an-hour. Just missed me."

RINGO: "Very dodgey."

Q: "Is that an affirmation? Are they throwing it for you or against you?"

PAUL: "I think so."

JOHN: "And when they don't have the sweets they throw whatever they've got on them, which hurts."

Q: "Do you ever throw anything back?"


JOHN: "I think we did once."

Q: "Have you written the new screenplay yet?"

JOHN: "No. I'm not writing it. I'm having hard enough time trying to get to sleep."

Q: "With the exception of being onstage, after the performances are over do you socialize with each other or do you go your own separate ways?"

GEORGE: "Well, we can't go our own..."

Q: "Or is it like in the movie?"

JOHN: "It's like in the movie."

RINGO: "Yeah."

GEORGE: "We all go the same way, don't we."

PAUL: "Especially on tour, you know."


PAUL: "It wasn't a joke."

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