Detroit Gives Beatles Big OK
Associated Press (Detroit)
A horde of screeching youngsters and a few reluctant parents greeted Britain’s Beatles here yesterday in what appeared a second U.S. vote of confidence for the controversial mop heads. Not deterred by the storm of protest kicked up recently by Beatle John Lennon, an estimated 30,000 fans bought tickets for two performances here.
The near sellout crowds were similar to the large and vocal audiences the rock n rollers drew in two performances in Chicago.
Lennon irked some Americans in an interview with the Lennon Evening Standard in which he said,
“We’re more popular than Jesus.” And “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.” Ministers, disc jockeys and spokesmen for the Ku Klux Klan had bitter replies. Lennon later stuck by the remark but said he wasn’t boasting, but deploring a current religious decline.
But the attitude of America’s teenagers seemed to be best expressed by the signs decking Detroit’s Olympia Stadium.
“We still love you Beatles,” said one. “We’re back for the third time,” said another. “We love you John…” All…Ringo…George…said uncountable buttons and banners.
Over 450 city, county and private police patrolled the stadium with walkie-talkies trying to keep teenagers under control. Olympia officials prepared themselves for a flood of gifts for the singing group. Two years ago, when the Beatles played Detroit, they received a room full of cakes, animals and other assorted gifts.
A five-foot high barricade was erected around the stage and two first aid stations were set up, with a doctor and two nurses standing by.
In Longview, Texas, Friday night a crowd of 7500 teenagers massed around a bonfire of Beatle records, sweatshirts and pictures. Most of the records were from the library of radio station KLUE, which had been promoting a ban on Beatles songs. The radio station went on the air with an editorial charging Lennon’s apology for remarking that the Beatles were “more popular than Christ,” was “a poor attempt at reconciling the group from further antagonism.”
Phil Ransom, news director of the radio station said a book by Lennon, “A Spaniard in the Works,” contains “anti-Christian comments that would make the godless Russian leaders blush.” The radio station said it would not lift its ban on Beatles records.