The Beatles’ only visit to Atlanta lasted around 10 hours, but was remarkable for one key reason: monitor speakers on the stage allowed them to hear themselves play – a rarity during the whirlwind of Beatlemania.
The group landed in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport at 2pm, having flown in on a chartered aeroplane from Canada. Although crowds of fans were at the airport to greet them, the plane taxied to a remote area where they discreetly boarded, along with their entourage, three limousines.
The Beatles were taken to the baseball stadium, where a locker room had been designated as their dressing room and headquarters. Some tables and chairs had been assembled in the area, and temporary beds, known locally as ‘cots’, were also provided. Ringo Starr, amused at the word, climbed into one and sucked his thumb loudly.
The hired caterers offered to make The Beatles hamburgers, but they requested corn on the cob instead. Their meals also included top sirloin, leg of lamb and pork loin, along with the corn, pole beans, fruit and apple pie. The group was so impressed with the quality of the food that they signed the china plates for the caterers.
18 August was a hot day, and as there was no air conditioning in the stadium Paul McCartney requested a large fan for the backstage area, although it made little difference. A number of local VIPs were present, and The Beatles posed for photographs and signed numerous autographs.
Atlanta Stadium – later renamed the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium – had only been recently opened. Tickets for the show had gone on sale two months earlier, with field level seats costing $5.50 and upper level ones $4.50. Fans had begun arriving at the stadium from 4.30am on the morning of the show.
A press conference was held at the stadium from 5pm, and was attended by around 150 reporters.
Q: I want to ask what your unfulfilled ambitions are.
Paul McCartney: “Er, I haven’t got any.
Ringo Starr and George Harrison: Neither have I.
John Lennon: Me too.
Q: How are The Beatles enjoying their tour here in America?
John Lennon: Very much, thank you. Hello, hello.
George Harrison: Yeah, it’s great.
Ringo Starr: Having a great time.
Q: Is Ringo going to be a father soon, and if so, what will he name his child?
Ringo Starr: I am gonna be a father soon, and I haven’t got a name yet.
Q: How come you’re not hitting more southern cities on your tour?
John Lennon: We don’t know, you know. It’s not up to us where we go. We just climb in the vans.
Paul McCartney: Philosophical.
Q: George, you being the only single one of the group…
George Harrison: What about Paul? Haven’t you heard about him? Let me introduce you.
Paul McCartney: Hello – you goofed!
Q: May I continue? What are your matrimony plans?
George Harrison: Well that question, you know, it’s stupid for a start because Paul isn’t married either, is he? So if you’d like to ask the question again and count Paul in.
Paul McCartney: Right, and we’ll both talk at the same time.
Q: What are your matrimony plans?
George Harrison: I haven’t any.
Q: Paul, what about you and Jane Asher? What’s the story?
Paul McCartney: What about us?
Ringo Starr: Go on, tell them.
Paul McCartney: Well, I haven’t said anything to anyone. But people keep writing about it, and putting it in papers and things. So, erm, you know, I’m getting to believe it. It’s daft, you know. I never said a word about it, anyway. They just keep quoting.
Q: Do the boys have any Atlanta acquaintances?
John Lennon: Not yet.
Ringo Starr: No.
Q: I’d like to ask George Harrison: You fellas seem to have started a complete new trend in music, in clothes, and in hairstyles. When you think about what you started, are you proud of it?
George Harrison: Yes.