U.S. Tour

By Brian Epstein  

Mersey Beat: October 1 1964

Brian EpsteinThere has never been a tour like it, anywhere in the world - not even in the States where the citizens are not easily shaken. The Beatles covered 25 cities in 32 days, played to a total of half a million people and flew 40,000 miles.

Pleasant Moments
Now and again they managed to sleep. They went swimming frequently, motored a little, and John made two uneventful shopping trips which goes to show that even a Beatle can get out and about if he really wants to. It is impossible to highlight any part of the trip since the whole tour was a merging of climaxes and high spots, but there were pleasant moments of relaxation which will probably be more permanent memories than the actual shows.
For me - apart from the natural pride I felt in seeing the Beatles perform in such places as the Hollywood Bowl, the vast Red Rock Stadium in the Colorado mountains, and the wonderful State Fair Coliseum in Indianapolis - my happiest time was spent on a ranch in the Ozark Hills in South Missouri. This was on September 19, my 30th birthday, and the day before our final American concert in New York.

Chartered Jet
From Dallas we flew in our chartered Electra jet to a deserted airfield 70 miles from the ranch in the small hours of the 19th and our host, the millionaire owner of the airline, met us - the Beatles, Neil Aspinall, Derek Taylor and myself. He piloted us in his own seven-seater, twin-engined aircraft to his private air strip at the ranch.

We spent that night, the whole of Saturday and the following night at the ranch, fishing, horse riding, and lazing about in the warm autumn sunshine, and it was a tremendous tonic for the Beatles, who though they had stood up to the tour very well, were very tired young men.

On the flight from Dallas at one minute past midnight Paul took over the aircraft intercom and announced that it was my birthday and the Beatles sang Happy Birthday, presenting me with an antique telephone and a set of water glasses.

The Beatles, though not devoted to sport, took readily to the saddle, however, and fought majestically for three hours with four high-spirited farm horses, fording the river, climbing steep rocky banks, and emerging without a fall but with several bruises. So much did Paul enjoy riding that he awoke at 7a.m. on Sunday for a further attempt which proved even more painful than the first.

Broken Records
Workwise, the tour was an outstanding success with capacity audiences at practically all the venues. Every show business record in the States was broken and the crowd sizes have never been bigger, neither for Presidents nor Presley.
There were a few controversial incidents - non sizeable enough to mar the gaiety nor halt the whirlwind momentum of the five-week visit. The British press coverage was substantial and sustained and we got on tremendously well with the American press and radio representatives several of whom traveled with us on our plane.

Vast Distances
A Special Message From the Beatles to Mersey Beat readers from their 1st US Tour Because of travel difficulties and the vast distances to be covered we flew mainly by night, often enduring severe climatic changes. The outstanding example of this was the long 1,300 mile haul from Montreal, where it was raining and quite cool, to the sunburnt sands and humidity of Key West, the southernmost tip of the Union reaching like a finger nail into the Atlantic. The tour was a huge adventure, not only for the Beatles and for me, but for the promoters who staked a lot of faith in our success. For many of them it was their first step into show business on the scale of the Beatles and I believe that no one was disappointed.
I do not know what thrilled us most from August 17 to September 21 but I believe that for all of us the supreme moment was the arrival at London Airport to that wonderful welcome from so many thousands of loyal British fans. Or maybe it was equaled, though on a smaller scale, a fortnight earlier in the Olympic stadium at Detroit when during Paul's announcement of 'Can't Buy Me Love', four girls stood up and with true Liverpool audacity waved a banner which said, 'We are from Tuebrook. We are proud of you.' For all of us, no matter how many miles we put between the Cavern and us, Liverpool will always be home.

Editor's note: When Brian mentioned that representatives of the American press traveled with them on their plane, one of them was the late photographer Curt Gunther. His photographs and observations of the Beatles on every day of this particular tour is found in his 1989 book 'Beatles '64: A Hard Day's Night In America.' He recalled that when Brian was presented with his gifts on the plane by the Beatles, they also toasted his birthday with Remy Martin, which they took with Drinamyls.
They flew into Walnut Ridge, Arkansas where they were met by Reed Pigman, the airline owner mentioned by Brian in the above text. Gunther, Derek Taylor and Mal Evans traveled to the ranch in a hire care while Brian and the Beatles flew with Pigman in his small plane. They arrived at the ranch at 3.30a.m. and stayed up most of the night, having all taken Drinamyls. During the evening they celebrated Brian's birthday again because Mrs Pigman had made a special cake with thirty candles on it.

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