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Beatles Interviews Database: Beatles Press Conference: American Arrival 2/7/1964
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Before touching down on American soil, the Beatles were the nation's number one group. On February 7th 1964, The Beatles flew from London to New York City for a ten day American visit. Unprecedented hysteria filled John F. Kennedy Airport, the Plaza Hotel, and the streets of New York City, surrounding the Beatles' every move.

This first American press conference was held at Kennedy International Airport on February 7th. The scene was chaos and the noise level in the room made it sometimes difficult for the reporters to hear the questions and answers. Disc jockey Murray the K, who would soon befriend the Beatles, was also in attendance.

During a filmed interview four days later, John Lennon would say to an American reporter about the overwhelming public response, "We thought we'd have to grow everybody, and everybody seems to know us all as if we've been here for years. It's great!"

Ringo Starr would later remember: "On the airplane, I FELT New York. It was like an octopus grabbing the plane... I could feel like tenticles coming up to the plane it was so exciting. And the first time in New York... I mean, we'd pulled big crowds and we'd had big airport receptions, but of course America is bigger than anywhere else in Europe, so therefore the crowds are bigger. So we got off the plane, and we were used to ten, twelve thousand people, you know. It must have been four billion people out there, I mean, it was just CRAZY! It was fantastic! And we drove through it. It was like the Royal tour, this motorcade thing. But there was people lining the route, then we got to the hotel and it was madness! And they were all outside and there's barriers and horses and cops all over the place... with the four of us sitting in the car, giggling. I'll speak for everybody -- We couldn't believe it! I mean, I'm looking out the car saying, 'What's going on? Look at this! Can you believe this?' It was amazing."

Although George Harrison would fall ill with the flu, on February 9th the Beatles would perform on American network television for their historic first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Beatlemania was in full swing and Americans only wanted more.

                                          - Jay Spangler,

Q: "Are you a little embarrassed by the lunacy you cause?"

JOHN: "No, it's great."

PAUL: "No."

RINGO: "Marvelous."

GEORGE: (giggling) "We love it."

JOHN: "We like lunatics."

Q: "You're in favor of lunacy?"

BEATLES: "Yeah."

JOHN: "It's healthy."

Q: "Are those English accents?"

GEORGE: "It's not English. It's Liverpudlian, you see."

PAUL: "The Liverpool accent - so, the way you say some of the words. You know, you say GRASS instead of GRAHHSS, and that sounds a bit American. So there ya go."

Q: "Liverpool is the..."

RINGO: (jokingly) "It's the capital of Ireland."

PAUL: "Anyway, we wrote half of your folk songs in Liverpool."


RINGO: "Yeah, don't forget!"

Q: "In Detroit Michigan, there handing out car stickers saying, 'Stamp Out The Beatles.'"

PAUL: "Yeah well... first of all, we're bringing out a Stamp Out Detroit campaign."


Q: "What about the Stamp Out The Beatles campaign?"

JOHN: "What about it?"

RINGO: "How big are they?"


M.C: "There's a question here."

Q: (yelling over the crowd noise) "Would you tell Murray the K to cut that crap out?"

BEATLES: (yelling, jokingly) "CUT THAT CRAP OUT!"

PAUL: "Hey, Murray!"


REPORTER: "Is that a question?"

M.C: (attempting to calm the chaos) "Will you be quiet, please."

Q: "A psychiatrist recently said you're nothing but a bunch of British Elvis Presleys."

JOHN: "He must be blind."

RINGO: (shaking like Elvis) "It's not true!! It's not true!!"

JOHN: (dances like Elvis)

FEMALE FAN: "Would you please sing something?"



RINGO: "Sorry."

M.C: "Next question."

Q: "There's some doubt that you CAN sing."

JOHN: "No, we need money first."


Q: "How much money do you expect to take out of this country?"

JOHN: "About half a crown."

RINGO: "Ten dollars."

Q: "Does all that hair help you sing?"

PAUL: "What?"

Q: "Does all that hair help you sing?"

JOHN: "Definitely. Yeah."

Q: "You feel like Sampson? If you lost your hair, you'd lose what you have? 'It'?"

JOHN: "Don't know. I don't know."

PAUL: "Don't know."

M.C: "There's a question here."

Q: "How many of you are bald, that you have to wear those wigs?"

RINGO: "All of us."

PAUL: "I'm bald."

Q: "You're bald?"

JOHN: "Oh, we're all bald, yeah."

PAUL: "Don't tell anyone, please."

JOHN: "And deaf and dumb, too."


M.C: "Quiet, please."

Q: "Do you know American slang? Are you for real?"

PAUL: "For real."

JOHN: "Come and have a feel."

RINGO: (laughs)

Q: "Aren't you afraid of what the American Barbers Association is going to think of you?"

RINGO: "Well, we run quicker than the English ones, we'll have a go here, you know."

Q: "Listen, I got a question here. Are you going to get a haircut at all while you're here?"


RINGO: "Nope."

PAUL: "No, thanks."

GEORGE: "I had one yesterday."


RINGO: "And that's no lie, it's the truth."

PAUL: "It's the truth."

Q: "You know, I think he missed."

JOHN: "Nope."

GEORGE: "No, he didn't. No."

RINGO: "You should have seen him the day before."

Q: "What do you think your music does for these people?"

PAUL: "Uhh..."

JOHN: "Hmmm, well..."

RINGO: "I don't know. It pleases them, I think. Well, it must do, 'cuz they're buying it."

Q: "Why does it excite them so much?"

PAUL: "We don't know. Really."

JOHN: "If we knew, we'd form another group and be managers."


Q: "What about all this talk that you represent some kind of social rebellion?"

JOHN: "It's a dirty lie. It's a dirty lie."


Q: "What do you think of Beethoven?"

RINGO: "Great. Especially his poems."


M.C: "Can we have the last question now, Gentlemen, please?"

PAUL: "My favorite."


Q: "Have you decided when you're going to retire?"

JOHN: "Next week."

PAUL: "No."

JOHN: "No, we don't know."

RINGO: "We're going to keep going as long as we can."

GEORGE: "When we get fed up with it, you know. We're still enjoying it."

RINGO: "Any minute now."

Q: "After you make so much money, and then..."


GEORGE: "No, as long as we enjoy it, we'll do it. 'Cuz we enjoyed it before we made ANY money."

(At the conclusion of this press conference, since they were still unknown as individuals to most of the American press, the Beatles chanted their names in the order they were standing at the microphones.)

BEATLES: (in unison) "Paul... Ringo... George... John!! Paul... Ringo... George...John!!"

Source: Transcribed by from video and audio copies of the press conference

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