The Beatles performed for no fee at this charity concert in aid of the United Cerebral Palsy of New York City and Retarded Infants Services. It was the last date of their first full US tour.
They loved going to New York, when we stayed at the Del Monico Hotel, flying by helicopter into Forest Hills, the great tennis stadium. Those New York dates were exciting. They did enjoy that excitement, the city lights, the pace of events. Or so it seemed to me.
Earlier in the morning The Beatles left a ranch in Missouri, where they had enjoyed a short break from the tour. Around 200 people descended on the small Walnut Ridge Regional Airport in Arkansas, in anticipation of The Beatles’ return, since the group had switched planes there the previous day. The aircraft they had arrived in waited on the runway, and a number of photographs and home videos were made by local residents.
A local crop duster craft was mobbed after teenagers mistook it for The Beatles’ plane. Unbeknown to them, Paul McCartney and George Harrison had arrived an hour before, and watched the event from a truck parked near to the runway.
John Lennon and Ringo Starr arrived on a small commuter aircraft. As they disembarked they were surrounded by excited fans. They were joined by McCartney and Harrison, and all quickly boarded Reed Pigman’s plane for New York.
The Beatles were due onstage at 10.45pm but the other acts’ sets were cut so they could go on 45 minutes earlier. Outside the Paramount Theatre 200 police officers attempted to control 100,000 fans.
Tickets for the concert had been sold for up to $100, to a combination of young fans and New York’s wealthy elite; and 3,682 people were in attendance. Ed Sullivan paid a backstage visit to The Beatles, and Gloria Steinem was reporting for Cosmopolitan magazine.
Afterwards the group stayed at the Riviera Motel near John F Kennedy International Airport. They were accompanied by Bob Dylan and his manager Albert Grossman. A month earlier, at New York’s Delmonico Hotel, Dylan had turned The Beatles on to cannabis.
During the evening The Beatles’ press officer Derek Taylor had an argument with manager Brian Epstein.
By the end of the US tour in September, Brian and I had a falling out. We actually fell out a lot, because I still had an independent spirit. I knew about trade-union rights and holidays and speaking your mind and that sort of thing. I knew also about blundering into situations which were not tactful, making commitments for one or other of them which, really, only a manager should do: ‘Sure, John can give away a South Australian opal on camera.’ – ‘Well, that’s an engagement,’ Brian said. ‘How dare you commit John to giving away a South Australian opal on camera?’ – ‘I didn’t realise.’ – ‘Well, you should have realised. You’re usurping your power, and I didn’t hire you for that, I hired you for this; you shouldn’t be working with the boys, anyway, you should be with me all the time.’ – ‘Oh, this is crazy, I’m off!’
So, I left in New York. I resigned at the end of the tour, in September; but Brian made me work three months’ notice, though, until just before Christmas.
Also on this day...
- 2015: The Beatles’ first contract sells for $75,000
- 1969: John Lennon reveals he is leaving The Beatles
- 1968: Recording: Piggies, Glass Onion
- 1967: Filming: Magical Mystery Tour
- 1966: BBC interview with George Harrison
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.