Interviews: London Airport

After their successful first tour of America, The Beatles returned to London Airport at 8.10am, to be greeted by crowds of screaming fans.

They had flown from Miami to New York, and from there back to London Airport. Their flight arrived half an hour later than scheduled.

The Beatles at London Airport, 22 February 1964

As was customary, they gave a press conference at the airport’s Kingsford-Smith suite. The BBC broadcast footage from the conference during the sports programme Grandstand later that day, along with an interview conducted by David Coleman.

A number of other media organisations also covered The Beatles’ return, including Brian Matthew, whose BBC radio show Saturday Club broadcast an interview – conducted via telephone from the airport – that day on the Light Programme.

Pathé News filmed The Beatles’ return, and created a special report, called Beatles Welcome Home, which was narrated by Bob Danvers-Walker and later shown in cinemas.

In the evening Paul McCartney was driven to Canterbury, where he saw Jane Asher act in Christopher Marlowe’s play The Jew Of Malta.

Pathé’s footage was later turned into a special report called Beatles Welcome Home, which was narrated by Bob Danvers-Walker and was shown in British cinemas. The following is a transcript of the interview:

Q: George, your fans obviously enjoyed it over there, I assume the press enjoyed it. Did you enjoy it?

George Harrison: Yeah, it was marvellous, you know. Everything. Every bit of it was a knockout.

Q: Even the work?

George: Yeah, we enjoyed it, you know. It was different working in different places with the audience all around us.

Q: What impressed you most about the place? Did you have time to take anything in properly?

George: Oh yeah. I think I enjoyed the sun in Miami most of all. You know: healthy.

Q: You’re the healthy one of the four?

George: No, but the sun was sort of very healthy.

Q: Did you have a chance to get away from anybody at any time on the trip?

George: Yeah.

Ringo Starr: He got away from me – twice!

Q: What did you most like about the trip, Ringo?

Ringo: Oh, I just loved all of it, you know. Especially Miami- the sun. I didn’t know what it meant till I went over there.

Q: Don’t you get it up in Liverpool?

Ringo: No, they’re finished up there, you know. They’ve cut it out.

Q: Did you ever have a chance, John, to just get away on your own without anybody recognising you?

John Lennon: Yeah. We borrowed a couple of millionaires’ houses, you know.

Q: You could afford to buy a couple of millionaires’ houses, couldn’t you?

Paul McCartney: No.

John: Yeah, we’d sooner borrow ’em. It’s cheaper. And we did a bit of water skiing. Well, sort of, anyway.

Ringo: Yeah, we had a great time.

Q: Did your wife enjoy it over there?

John: She loved it. Who? Who?

Paul: Sh-shh.

Ringo: Don’t tell ’em he’s married. It’s a secret.

Q: What about the taste of the fans over there. Did you find the same stuff?

Paul: Yeah.

John: He never bit any.

Paul: We expected them to be very different, but they weren’t at all. The accent was the only thing, you know. That was the only difference.

Q: Did they reckon you sang in an English accent or an American accent?

Paul: No, some fella said, ‘How come, because you’re from Britain, and you still sing in an American accent?’ or something. We were trying to explain it to him. Oh, it was funny.

Q: When you came back from France you told me that they like the sort of quicker numbers.

Paul: Yeah.

Q: But what did you do? Did you just do all the same routine as you do here?

Paul: Er, yeah.

John: We did the older songs.

George: Most of our records are hits over there.

Paul: Oh yeah, we had to do Please Please Me over there. We hadn’t been doing that for a long time here, but it’s in the charts there.

Q: That’s history, here. What about the Beatles’ styles, all these wigs and suits and things? Are they catching on over there?

George: Yeah, they’re selling well.

Ringo: Fifteen million a day!

Q: I hear that the four of you have been millionaires by the end of the year.

George: Oh, that’s nice.

Q: Have you got time to actually spend this money?

The Beatles, in unison: What money?

Q: Doesn’t he [Brian Epstein] give any to you?

George: No, no. Have you seen that car of his?

Q: Is there any intention for you to go back to America, or, in fact, join the brain-drain and a big guitar-drain and stay there?

Ringo: We’d like to go back. We wouldn’t stay there. We love England.

Last updated: 25 February 2020
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