The Beatles’ American invasion begins

Q: Do you know American slang? Are you for real?

Paul McCartney: For real.

John Lennon: Come and have a feel.

Q: Aren't you afraid of what the American Barbers' Association is going to think of you?

Ringo Starr: Well, we run quicker than the English ones, we'll have a go here, you know.

Q: Listen, I got a question here. Are you going to get a haircut at all while you're here?

The Beatles: No!

Ringo: Nope.

Paul: No, thanks.

George Harrison: I had one yesterday.

Ringo: And that's no lie, it's the truth.

Paul: It's the truth.

Q: You know, I think he missed.

John: Nope.

George: No, he didn't. No.

Ringo: You should have seen him the day before.

Q: What do you think your music does for these people?

Paul: Er...

John: Hmm, well...

Ringo: I don't know. It pleases them, I think. Well, it must do, 'cause they're buying it.

Q: Why does it excite them so much?

Paul: We don't know, really.

John: If we knew, we'd form another group and be managers.

Q: What about all this talk that you represent some kind of social rebellion?

John: It's a dirty lie. It's a dirty lie.

Q: What do you think of Beethoven?

Ringo: Great, especially his poems. (Muttering to the others) I'm sick of that one.

Q: Have you decided when you're going to retire?

John: Next week.

Paul: No.

John: No, we don't know.

Ringo: We're going to keep going as long as we can.

George: When we get fed up with it, you know. We're still enjoying it.

Ringo: Any minute now.

Q: After you make so much money, and then...

The Beatles: No.

George: No, as long as we enjoy it, we'll do it. 'Cause we enjoyed it before we made any money.

After the press conference The Beatles were asked to say their names in the order in which they were standing at the microphones, as their individual names were still largely unknown to the American press.

Upon leaving JFK Airport, McCartney, Harrison and Starr got into a limousine, while John and Cynthia Lennon took another. Brian Epstein, Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans had to hail a taxi to get to their hotel in Manhattan.

I remember, for instance, the great moment of getting into the limo and putting on the radio, and hearing a running commentary on us: 'They have just left the airport and are coming towards New York City...' It was like a dream. The greatest fantasy ever.
Paul McCartney
Anthology

The group and their entourage were staying at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. The scenes there were as chaotic as those at the airport, with hundreds of fans being held back by the police, 20 of which were mounted on horseback.

The Beatles at the Plaza Hotel, New York, 7 February 1964

That evening a near-constant stream of guests visited The Beatles in their 10-room, 12th-floor Presidential suite, including The Ronettes, Murray the K, and George Harrison's sister Louise, who lived in Illinois.

At 6pm that evening The Beatles gave a telephone interview to BBC presenter Brian Matthew, to be broadcast on the next day's radio show Saturday Club.

The Beatles' first trip to America was filmed, not only by assembled crews from various television outlets, but by a team inside the entourage. A documentary was being directed and produced by brothers David and Albert Maysles, co-funded by Granada Television in the UK and with Brian Epstein's NEMS company retaining some editorial control.

The Maysles took cameras virtually everywhere during The Beatles' two weeks in America, providing a unique and insightful document of the unfolding events. These included scenes from inside their hotel suite and limousines, rehearsals for The Ed Sullivan Show, inside JFK Airport, Murray the K broadcasting, and The Beatles in Washington DC and Miami Beach.

Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

15 responses on “The Beatles’ American invasion begins

  1. richard hubbard

    was there a stopover in boston before the beatles landed in N.Y. on feb 7 1964? i had heard of this happening several times but nobody seems to be sure if this happenned or not. Or should i ask did the fly from england to n.y. or was there a stopover first in boston?

    1. brian

      I’ve never heard or seen anything to provide evidence of a Beatles stopover in Beantown on their first trip to America unless you want to count these words – “When I was a robber in Boston place, you gathered round me with your fine embrace” sung by Paul and heard on Anthology 3.

      1. Renee Decker

        You may have never seen or heard of any, but i assure you the thousands of us screaming in Harvard Square can certainly remembet they were. I was one of the lucky ones… my Dad put me up on his shoulders so i could see. So,YES THEY WERE IN BOSTON!

  2. justconn2

    My dad was a Pan American Pilot and he was the Pilot on the plane that flew the Beatles to America!!!!
    Wish I had more information from him…… He was a grump I thought! I asked him if he got their autograph!!! He said “why?” Heck, I could be a millionaire now!!!! Damn!!!!
    Suzanne Asher

    1. julia sidford

      Suzanne- that’s AWESOME that your dad was the pilot of the flight. i’m trying to research a rumor i was told that my grandfather was also on this flight sitting next to Brian Epstein or Neil Aspinall. He was a famous ice skating coach, full name Montgomery Wilson, but he went by Bud. i’m trying to find out if he was a passenger on the plane. Can you or anyone assist? i’d be forever grateful!! i’m at 4sandywhite@gmail.com. Julia Sidford

  3. Dan McK

    50 years ago today they’re in London preparing to leave. 50 years ago tomorrow they’re off for the US. I wonder what was going through their minds the night prior to the departure. Very exciting.

  4. rick

    Fifty years ago today a truly historic moment as the greatest of the british bands without question arrives in America for the first time. Four lads from Liverpool who have forever shook the world

  5. Jack Kelley

    Saw Beatles in Dodger Stadium in ’66. What a show. Limo had to turn around in center field and head for the dugout cause fans jumped from center field bleachers. Beatles played on 2nd base for about 45 minutes. 45,000 crazy fans that night including me!

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