By Larry Kane, author Ticket to Ride, Lennon Revealed, When They Were Boys –
January 1964. Paris, France. The boys had a triumphant run in Paris, which John Lennon described to me as “one long celebration.” It was, after all, in Paris where they found out that “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was number one in America. That had, according to John, “lessened a bit our concerns” about “making it in the states,” or he added, with that sometimes crooked grin, “the colonies. Do we still call them that.”?
When I asked John in 1968 what was the best moment, the highlight moment of the Beatles career, he added, “Oh, Paris, hearing about…it being number one…remember it well, Larry…milk” Milk? Still trying to figure that one out, to this day.
January also followed the pattern of the so-called “Snowball” memo which I revealed in the “When They Were Boys” book.” It was a memo designed to create a snowball effect, prior to the Beatles landing in America. The elements? Just a little bit of film footage, the release of ‘hold your hand’ the day after Christmas, and news and p.r. masters Tony Barrow and Derek Taylor leaking just enough great tidbits to American reporters, including a slice of film to America’s leading anchorman, Walter Cronkite.
It was in January, that a confident Brian Epstein had finalized his deal to get the boys on three consecutive nights of the Ed Sullivan show, starting on February 9th.
January was also the time that Epstein and Capitol “capitalized” on all that music that John and Paul wrote. Oh yes! The songs that American broadcasters and labels had basically ignored in 1963. As John’s sister Julia Baird would say, “Imagine This.” That’s her book title, but IMAGINE THIS!
On January 3, “Please Please Me”, and flipside “From Me To You” was released. The “snowball effect” continues: On January 10 “Introducing the Beatles” is on sale. On January say hello to album “Meet The Beatles.”
And let us not slight early February. 2/3/64 and its “Twist and Shout.” On 2/7/64, “All My Loving” is unleashed, on the day the boys arrived in America, exactly 50 years before the opening of the 40th annual FEST, which I will help open with my one man show on Friday night, with all those details of heated days and stormy nights traveling with the Beatles.
By the way, for those of you obsessed with detail: The Beatles arrived at JFK Airport, which was renamed on December 23, 1963, in memory of the President. The original name was Idlewild, the name of the golf course where the airport was originally constructed. The airport was modernized to get ready for the 1965 World’s Fair, not far from Shea Stadium, where the Beatles changed music history by appearing before 60,000 fans in August 1965. During that concert, I watched from the steps of the Mets’ dugout with Ed Sullivan. We didn’t hear much, but watching the crowd itself was amazing.
For those of you coming to New York for the first time, some places to see are Strawberry Fields, Central Park West, just off 72nd Street and the Dakota. Also: The Plaza Hotel, where the Beatles stayed on their first quick trip in 1964. The Delmonico Hotel where they stayed in the Summer of 1964, and where Bob Dylan introduced them to a banned substance.
That’s it for now. I’ll be here, there and everywhere during those three days in the Fab Four Feb.