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Monday, September 15, 2014

Watch the Beatles' Press Conference in Cleveland from 50 Years Ago Today

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 12:40 PM

"We're quite normal," John Lennon tells a mesmerized and befuddled crowd of local reporters and fans (and reporters who were unabashed fans) during a press conference in Cleveland on Sept. 15, 1964. When asked what they'll be doing after the newser, he effects his most extreme and goofy British accent and says, "Have a jolly good cup of tea!"

Self-aware and witty always.

The whole video offers some really terrific looks into the band's weariness with asinine questions about, you know, their hair and their opinions of America. 

The press conference came about hours before the Beatles took the stage at Cleveland Public Auditorium — 50 years ago today. That show was riddled with the era's patent Beatlemania, complete with a "riot" the likes of which local police hadn't anticipated. 

From the Beatles Bible:
During the day the police drove a riot bus several times between the Sheraton-Cleveland and the concert venue. Fans initially thought The Beatles were inside, but quickly realised it was a decoy. However, just before showtime The Beatles left the hotel inside, fooling the fans gathered outside.

At the Public Auditorium a police line of over 100 people attempted to keep the fans from the stage, but was slowly pushed back by the crowds. Eventually a handful broke through the cordon and climbed onto the stage. Concerned at The Beatles' safety, Inspector Michael Blackwell and Deputy Inspector Carl Bare decided to stop the concert.

Bare walked onto the stage and took a microphone, telling the crowd that the show was over and to sit down. At the time The Beatles were performing All My Loving, and continued to play despite the police wishes. Blackwell also arrived onstage and gestured to The Beatles to stop performing. They reluctantly put down their instruments and temporarily left the stage, amid the sound of booing fans.

In their dressing room backstage, John Lennon told Art Schreiber from local radio station KYW: "This has never happened to us before. We have never had a show stopped. These policemen are a bunch of amateurs." An angry Brian Epstein nonetheless put up a diplomatic front, saying "The police were absolutely right. This has never happened before, but it was clear to me from the start that there was something very wrong. The enthusiasm of the crowd was building much too early."

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