In addition to their two shows at the Olympia that evening, The Beatles recorded an interview at the Paris studio of the American Forces Network (AFN) radio service, which was broadcast the following day. The interviewer was Harold Kelley.
Q: This afternoon in our Paris studios we’re visiting with four young men. And if I just mention their first names, such as Paul and George and Ringo and John, I doubt if you’d know about whom we’re speaking. But if I said we’re here this afternoon with the Beatles, and if we were in England, I think we’d get a great big rousing ‘Hurrah!’ Wouldn’t we, boys?
Paul McCartney: Oh yeah.
Q: Well, let’s see. We have to my right here, Paul McCartney. Paul tell us, how did the Beatles get going? How did you start?
Paul: It’s a funny story, really. You know, it was back in the old days. We were all at school together, really, you know. We grew up as school teenage buddies, and things. It developed from there, really.
Q: Well, did you sing together around school, or…?
Paul: Yeah. George and I were at school together and John was at the school next door, and Ringo was at Butlins. And we just started playing guitars, and things. And it went on from there, really, as far as I’m concerned.
Q: Well you say those were the olden days. Now within the past year, you have mushroomed in tremendously… almost out of sight popularity. What was the click? What levered this great rage for the Beatles?
Paul: Well, it’s funny really. I think it was the Palladium show, you know, the television show in England. And then following hot in the footsteps we had the Royal Variety Command Variety performance.
Paul: It’s difficult to say that, actually. Royal Variety Command Performance for the Queen Mother, you know. And it all came up from there, really. The national newspapers got ahold of it. And they got ahold of Ringo.
John Lennon: And Mike Brown found out about it.
Paul: Mike Brown found out about it, yeah. A lot of columnists and things got onto the idea and started calling it Beatlemania.
Q: Lets ask a question here of George Harrison. George, what is the status of rock and roll in England today? Is that what you call your music?
George Harrison: No, not really. We don’t like to call it anything. But the critics and the people who write about it, you know, they have to call it something. So they didn’t want to say it was rock and roll, because rock’s supposed to have gone out about five years ago. And so they decided it wasn’t really rhythm and blues, so they decided to call it the Liverpool sound – which is stupid, really, because as far as we were concerned it was just, you know, the same as the rock from five years ago.
Q: Can you describe Liverpool’s sound?
George: Well, it’s more like the old rock, it’s just everything’s a bit louder. More bass and bass drum, and everybody sort of sings loud and shouts. And that’s it!
Q: Is the Liverpool sound, then, the sound in the UK today? In England?
George: Yeah, well, that’s, you know, all the records now… everybody’s sort of making records in that style.
Q: Let’s ask Ringo here. Now, you’re the drummer. We caught your act at the Olympia the other evening. How long have you been beating those skins?
Ringo Starr: Oh, about five years now. I’ve been with the boys about 18 months, with other groups before that. So that’s five years.
Q: Since you boys have gained your current popularity, have there been many other organizations trying to imitate you, or perhaps take the thunder away from you? Let’s ask John Lemmon [sic] this.
John Lennon: Well, I suppose, a couple of people have jumped on the… railway carriage. I mean, the bandwagon. But it doesn’t really matter, you know, because it’s flattery and it promotes the whole idea of us if we’re away, and there’s a few little Beatles still going to remind people of us.
Q: Paul, let’s go back to you for a moment. Whenever anyone sees your pictures, the first thing that strikes them is, naturally, your hairdo.
Q: Or hairdon’t! Some people have written as though you were having the sheepdog cut, or perhaps an early Caesar. What do you call it, and how come you cut it that way?
Paul: To us it just sort of seems the natural thing, really, because it all arose… we came out of the swimming baths one day, and you know how your hair, sort of, flops about after the swimming baths. Well, it stayed that way, you see, when nobody bothered to comb it. And it sort of stayed in a style. So we’ve never really called it anything, I don’t know, until the papers got ahold of it, and they called it the Beatle style. So I suppose we go along with them now, really.
Q: Do you go to the barber at all?
Paul: Well, you know, now and then. Do and don’t.
Q: Just to keep it trimmed.
Paul: Yeah, just to keep it trimmed. But sometimes we do it ourselves, you know.
John: With our feet.
Paul: The other thing is, its really only our eyebrows that are growing upwards.
Also on this day...
- 1986: US album release: Live In New York City by John Lennon
- 1969: Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day 15
- 1967: Paul McCartney and Brian Epstein discuss The Beatles’ third film with Joe Orton
- 1964: Live: Olympia Theatre, Paris
- 1963: Live: Assembly Hall, Mold
- 1963: Live: NEMS, Liverpool
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1959: Live: Woolton Village Club, Liverpool
- 1958: Live: The Quarrymen at the Cavern Club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.