In addition to these injuries, chauffeur Alf Bicknall suffered a fractured rib and a spinal injury. The Manila Times newspaper carried an exaggerated story the following day detailing how they wished the events to be seen.
Drummer Ringo Starr was floored by an uppercut. As he crawled away the mob kicked him. George Harrison and John Lennon received kicks and blows as they ran to the customs zone. Paul McCartney was relatively unhurt as he sprinted ahead. Manager Brian Epstein received the brunt of the mob’s fury. He was kicked and thrown to the floor. As a result he suffered a sprained ankle and had to be helped to the customs area.
Once they made it on board the KLM aeroplane the turbulence continued. Tony Barrow and Mal Evans were ordered off once again. Stricken with anxiety, Evans turned to the others and said: “Tell Lil I love her,” a reference to his wife.
Evans and Barrow were worried that they would miss the flight and be stuck in Manila at the mercy of the locals. To their relief, it turned out that The Beatles’ party’s immigration papers had not been properly processed upon their arrival. This left them technically as illegal immigrants, with potentially serious ramifications. Eventually the passports were stamped and they were free to leave.
The flight’s departure time had elapsed, but Epstein and Lewis persuaded the pilot to wait for Barrow and Evans. The delay lasted 44 minutes.
As soon as KLM flight 862 aircraft rose up from the runway at 4.45pm that afternoon our entire party broke into spontaneous applause. George leant across the aisle between his seat and mine and said to me: ‘The only way I’d ever go back to that place would be to drop a dirty big bomb on it.’ Paul asked me if I had recorded Brian’s television statement and if so could he hear it. I told him: ‘I have it on a cassette. You can hear the newsreader’s introduction but the rest is a blur. They blotted out the whole of Brian’s explanation.’ Before Paul left the Manila Hotel in a typical gesture of PR goodwill on behalf of the group, he did a radio interview apologising for The Beatles’ failure to meet Imelda Marcos and saying that they knew nothing of her lunch party. At all times, even in adverse conditions, Paul carried an ample supply of oil for pouring onto troubled waters. Back home in London he gave the press a graphic account of our departure: ‘We were being pushed and banged around from one corner to another. With the escalators switched off we couldn’t go anywhere very fast. When they started knocking over our road managers everyone was falling all over the place. I swear there were at least 30 of them surrounding us.’ George had the final word. Asked on his arrival in London what was next on the group’s agenda he replied with only the merest a hint of a smile: ‘We’re going to have a couple of weeks to recuperate before we go and get beaten up by the Americans.’
John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me
Just minutes after the aeroplane left Filipino soil, a press statement was issued by President Marcos which absolved The Beatles of any wrongdoing.
There was no intention on the part of The Beatles to slight the First Lady or the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.
The Beatles’ flight was bound for New Delhi, where they hoped to enjoy a relaxing break. They arrived the following day to unwelcome scenes of Beatlemania, strengthening their resolve to end touring.
Also on this day...
- 2014: Ringo Starr live: Global Event Center, Winstar World Casino, Thackerville, Oklahoma
- 2014: Paul McCartney live: Times Union Center, Albany, New York
- 1968: Recording: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
- 1963: Live: Plaza, Old Hill
- 1963: Live: Plaza, Handsworth
- 1962: Live: Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
Hi Joe, thanks for these very informative articles. Now I know the real story behind this Beatles visit/show here in our country as I read it here now. At that time, as just a 4-year old kid, I’m not aware of this Manila concert of The Beatles and I only heard and read of it years later from stories on journals & old magazines.
I could say, this event, a bad experience for The Beatles was very unfortunate and I tell you for those many Filipinos who just learned about this incident years later were very furious to know how the government (the Marcos administration) treated the Beatles. History told the world how oppressive this government was at their time and how the people ousted this government many years after.
From the years of Beatlemania and up to present, like the rest of the world, the Filipino people so much adored the Beatles and their music which became part of their lives.
I knew many young Filipinos in the 1980s & 1990s (outside The Beatles era) who became Beatles fans because their parents are Beatles’ fans.
From these articles, it said, the gate attendance of this Manila concert totalled to 80,000 people. That number surpassed the 1965 Shea Stadium attendees of 60,000. This only showed how Filipinos endeared The Beatles like most countries of the world.