Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Beatles USA '66

You all know that I love the Beatles 1966 North American tour.   And I go through these kicks where I just can't get enough about that tour.   Fair warning--I am on one of those kicks right now.   I have been watching my 1966 tour bootlegs and reading about it.   I found this article written by Jerry Leighton who reported back to the UK about the Beatles tour on Radio Caroline.   The photo isn't of Jerry Leighton (as far as I can tell), but this popped up when I googled "Beatles and Jerry Leighton" and I figured it must be the Beatles being interviewed for the radio.  The photo was taken the same day as the Butcher album photos.

Beatles USA ‘66
From Jerry Leighton (Chief DJ Caroline North)
Cleveland Ohio—Tuesday – five thousand fans smashed down the barriers at the Beatles’ concert here last night during the most frightening, fantastic sight I have ever seen.
The boys were halfway through their act when the invasion happened.  5,000 fans got past the barriers and tried to get onto the platform where the Beatles were singing.
Police were utterly powerless.  John, Paul, George and Ringo had to be dragged off stage to the safety of a caravan. 

After about half an hour, weary officials managed to get the crowds back to their seats and the boys returned to the stage to resume their act.  They managed to finish without any more mishaps and later leapt into their waiting car just as thousands of fans stormed the barriers again.
The only major disaster was that I was mysteriously left in the middle of a baseball track and had to walk the long hike back to our hotel.  Well, that’s showbiz!

“We STILL love you Beatles!” That just about sums up the feelings of thousands of American fans so far on this fantastically successful tour.

Large, economy-size badges bearing this phrase are selling like hot cakes at 50 cents each to thousands of people packing the vast arenas to see the world’s most popular group in Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland.  But I should add that we haven’t yet visited the South, reported at boiling point over John Lennon’s “Jesus” quote.

In Detroit last night the manager of the Olympia Stadium told me that the Beatles were still the biggest draw, selling twice as many tickets as the Stones and three times more than the Animals-Herman’s Hermits show on July 28.

This is the first time I have toured with the Beatles, and they are the greatest fellows.  They behave exactly the same off-stage as on.
Most surprising thing to me is that the boys have never really seen America.  I know that sounds daft, but it’s true.  I was telling John tonight about the fantastic supermarkets here, and he just sat back lapping it up.
“We dare not go out on the streets.” He told me.  “We just stay in the hotel room until the car or coach calls to take us to the show.  We miss an awful lot, but I suppose we will see it one day.”
On Saturday night we all traveled by coach from Detroit to Cleveland.  The boys got out of the coach at about 1a.m. as Ringo put it, “Stopped off at the Rose and Crown.”

Actually it was an empty parking lot and the boys just walked around stretching their legs and sucking ice lollies.  It must have been the longest period of time that fresh air has reached their faces.
And frankly, their complexions show it.  They looked very pale, as if they spend all their lives indoors.  “We feel all right though,” said Paul.  “You can’t really tell by looking at us because sometimes we look terrible and feel great, and other times it’s the opposite.”

I’m trying to get them to take a holiday soon and I hope I succeed.  They look as if they need one.
You’ve probably heard by now of the wonderful press conference in Chicago when John explained about the misquotation over his world-famous remarks.  He spoke brilliantly and acquitted himself completely.  I think the American people agree with me, judging by their wonderful welcome everywhere. 

George talked to me at length about his interest in Indian music, the results of which you hear on “Revolver.”  “To me it is the only really great music now and it makes Western three-or-four beat type stuff seem somehow dead.  You can get so much more out of it if you are prepared really to concentrate and listen.  I hope more people will try to dig it.”

John told me that George is hoping to visit India soon to study the music.  

Does John’s solo film mean he will be leaving the Beatles?  “No, it’s just a bit of practice while we have nothing to do for a bit.”  What sort of picture is it?  “Well, a sort of war comedy.  I just play a Scouse batman.  It should be a good experience.”  

The kids mob anyone who has anything to do with the Beatles.  I have to had to run for it about six times so far!  One incident scared the life out of me. 

At Detroit, the Beatles had just come off stage and a DJ from Louisville, Kentucky, named Ken Douglas, who has a Beatles haircut and mod clothes, was walking back with me to the press room.  The kids spotted us.  They broke down the barriers and stared chasing him.  Me?  I was stuck in the middle of them and thought it was my lot!

I taped the commentary of the whole incident as it happened, and you will probably hear it sometime this week on Radio Caroline as well as lots of other tapes I am sending back from broadcast.  So stay tuned, eh?

Till my report next week in Disc and Music Echo, this is Jerry “Soopa” Leighton sending love from John, Paul , George and Ringo to you all back home.

* In Cleveland it was raining, and I said to John, “What’s going to happen in this open-air arena?”  Lennon replied, “Oh, we won’t get wet because we’re covered in.  We might get blown up though….”
*They’re wearing fantastic new mod suits bought from the Hung On You boutique in Chelsea, London.  One uniform is a beautiful green and another is pale grey with light orange pinstripes and lavender shirts.
*This Beatles played Indian music tape recordings in their dressing room while waiting to go on in Detroit.

1 comment:

  1. "Sound Of The Stars" was a flexi disc record made for Disc Magazine in the UK. It featured exclusive interviews with The Beatles and other artists. I have one kicking around here somewhere...