Saturday, August 19, 2006

August 19th Rocks!

Forty years ago today the Beatles made their one and only appearance in Memphis. They played two shows at the Mid-South Coliseum. The first show being a matinee at 4pm and the evening show at 8:30 pm. The city council passed a resolution saying the Beatles were not welcomed. The Ku Klux Klan were protesting in the parking lot. Tickets were only $5.50. The Beatles 11 song set lasted only about thirty minutes but was proceeded by two hours of opening acts. During the evening show someone in the audience set of a cherry bomb causing John Lennon to remark later in an interview "we thought it was a gunshot." There were eighty police officers assigned to the show for security.

The Beatles had wanted to record the album that would later be released as Revolver in Memphis at Stax studio. Their manager Brian Epstein ultimately nixed the idea because he wasn't happy with the "securtiy or living arrangements." During a press conference between shows McCartney was attributing the Beatles not recording in Memphis to "little things like money..."

The Beatles left for Cincinnati as soon as the show was over. I guess they didn't feel welcomed. Two years later, in the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assasination the New York Times would famously describe Memphis as a decaying backwater town. I wish the Beatles could come back and play today. It's different here today. Yeah we still have our problems, but we still love our rock & roll.

Also on this date: Exactly twenty years before the Beatles played Memphis to the day, Bill Clinton was born across the river in Arkansas.

August 19th rocks!


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