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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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...
- 2012: Paul McCartney to headline Queen’s diamond jubilee concert
- 2012: US album release: Kisses On The Bottom by Paul McCartney
- 1970: John Lennon and Yoko Ono appear on The Simon Dee Show
- 1970: George Harrison produces Govinda by Radha Krshna Temple
- 1967: Filming: Penny Lane
- 1965: John and Cynthia Lennon return to England from Switzerland
- 1964: UK EP release: All My Loving
- 1963: Live: ABC Cinema, Wakefield
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1961: Live: Merseyside Civil Service Club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.