Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A wet welcome in Sydney

Where I live, near St. Louis Missouri, it has been raining a lot this past week.   It isn't unusual for this time of year to get a lot of rain.   However, this year it made me think of 50 years ago when the Beatles first landed in Sydney, Australia in a downpour of rain.    I think their entrance to Australia is one that is the most burned into my mind...seeing them with those umbrellas trying to wave to their fans.   I am not sure if any performers today would be willing to do such a thing for their fans.   I am not sure if I would be willing to stand out in the rain to see the Beatles----oh who am I kidding?   I would be grouchy about it while we are waiting, but glad when I got to see them.   

This story does make one mistake.  Did you catch it?

Here is the newspaper report about the Beatles arrival.   A special thanks goes out to "the Gilly" for all of the research she did on the Beatles Australian tour of 1964.   She currently is not updating her sight, but it is still a treasure-trove of information and I appreciate all of the work she put into digging information.   This article came from her files.

Sydney fans' Welcome to Beatles near Wash-out

Not even the Beatles could beat Sydney's weather today.  The expected tumultuous, riotous Australian airport welcome for the British quartet was almost a washout.

Bedraggled fans, drenched by the heavy rain that had fallen all night did their best to give the Beatles a big welcome.

They roared, "We want the Beatles" as the BOAC Comet airliner came to a halt on the tarmac.

The Beatles did not disappoint them.  Sheltering under huge airport umbrellas, they were driven around the tarmac on a specially decorated lorry.  But the rain became heavier and they were soon very wet Beatles.  Airport officials whisked them into a car and they were driven to their city hotel.

Hundreds of fans spend the night behind a specially constructed steel-fenced open enclosure which has been wind-lashed and rain swept for days.

Heavy rain was falling as the aircraft taxied to the tarmac but this did not deter the screaming, squealing teenagers.

It has rained for days in Sydney.  More than seven inches has been recorded.   More than 150 police were on duty to keep an expected crowd of 10,000 in check. The hardy ones did not let the weather dampen their andour.  As they waited for the airliner to land they waved welcoming banners and brightly coloured umbrellas.  Periodically they burst into choruses of "yeah yeah yeah,"  "We love you Beatles" or "Happy Birthday Paul."  Paul McCartney will be 22 on June 18.

As the plane circled Sydney's Mascot Airport, after an unscheduled stop at Darwin to refuel, a crescendo of squeals and shrieks arose.

The rain became heavier when the Beatles appeared at the aircraft door.

The gust of wind whipped Paul's umbrella out of his hand and wearing a big black top hat, he stood in the rain saluting the crowd.  John Lennon, George Harrison, and "stand in" for Ringo Starr, Jim Nichol waved and smiled.

Their umbrellas and capes sheltered their heads but the lower sections of their bodies were soon drenched.

John Lennon and George Harrison stood looking at the small crowd and waved their arms two or three times.

The Beatles looked cold and startled by the Sydney weather because they had flown overnight from tropical Hong Kong.

As the truck moved away to transfer the Beatles to a private car, the fans burst through the barricades and ran after them.  But the Beatles' car left for their city hotel before the fans reached them.  The tarmac was like a sheet of water as rain poured down as the Beatles left.  Ten minutes later the sun came out for a few seconds, then the rain  began again.

A special ambulance squad at the airport had a quiet time.  No collapse cases or other causalities were reported.  "But I bet there'll be a few fans with pneumonia and heavy cold tomorrow" an ambulance attendant said.

A group of youth who paraded with a sign saying "Stamp out these bugs" was booed and hissed by Beatle fans.

Mr. G. Inglis, the airport manager said, "It is all a little disappoint.  We had expected about 10,000 here, although we really didn't know what to expect.  There is no doubt that the weather has made a tremendous difference."

Mr. Inglis said most of the early arrivals at the airport had spend teh night int eh rain by the barricades.  Only a few had found shelter by huddling in doorways of the domestic airline terminals.

Deafening screams greeted the Beatles when they appeared on a hotel balcony.

George appeared dressed in a white shirt and a towel, and indicated that he was wet and cold.  The others appeared in jackets and waved.

John Lennon told a reporter, "How could we be disappointed when they came out to see us and stood in all the rotten wind and rain to wave to us?  They were great, really great. We came in just waving to people, the wind blowing us around adn wet as anything, but it was great fun for us too."

Paul McCartney said, "You might think they are daft--but to us, mate, they are terrific."

1 comment:

  1. As for mistakes the comment about Paul standing and waving, wearing a big top hat was pretty ridiculous. It's as silly as the other story of one of them (Paul again?) doing a handstand on the hotel balcony. It's odd that the Sydney press seemed to add these little embellishments to their stories. But at least the Australian press wasn't hostile like the American press at that time.