Travel: London to San Francisco

On this day The Beatles flew from London Airport to San Francisco International, to begin their 25-date first American Tour.

They stopped briefly in Winnipeg, Canada, where 500 fans waited on the airport roof for a glimpse of their idols. The Beatles gave interviews to Hello America radio stations while their Clipper aeroplane was grounded.

There was also a stop in Los Angeles, where 2,000 fans were waiting. The Beatles gave more interviews to reporters in Los Angeles before leaving for San Francisco. They arrived at 6.24pm, with scenes of hysteria from around 9,000 fans.

A small fenced-off platform, named Beatlesville, had been erected a mile away from the main airport buildings. The Beatles made a brief appearance on the platform, waving to the crowds before being ushered quickly back to their limousine. The fans were pushing forward; some were scaling the fence, and the 180 San Mateo County Sheriffs were struggling to keep the barriers in place.

The Beatles were taken to the Hilton Hotel. That evening, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Derek Taylor, Brian Epstein secretary Diana Vero, and Billy Preston – Little Richard’s organist, whom The Beatles had met in 1962 – visited The Rickshaw, a Chinatown club, where they met actor Dale Robinson.

We would go to bars or clubs – or on police-car drives; drive with the cops. The police were very good to us in those days, because they would take all the pills or stuff off the kids and give it to me. I loved the police!

There was one time in San Francisco which was great. We went to a bar and Dale Robertson was there. I mean, Dale Robertson! It was, ‘Hey, Dale, how you doing?’ – ‘I’m fine.’ We were having a drink and then they said, ‘OK, that’s the end, everyone has to leave the bar.’ California closes down at 2am; that’s the end of the night. So they closed the bar and the barman and everyone went out and then we went back in and carried on. I loved all that.

Ringo Starr
Last updated: 16 April 2010
The Beatles live: Opera House, Blackpool
The Beatles live: Cow Palace, San Francisco
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