December 19, 2007

Beatlemania in the NY Times

4 Rock 'n' Roll Performers Hailed by Teen-Agers,
3,000 Screaming Teen-Agers Greet the Beatles (Yeah, Yeah)

New York Times
February 8, 1964, Saturday
Section: food fashions family furnishings, Page 25

The Beatles were met by 200 reporters and photographers from newspapers, magazines, foreign publications, radio and televisions stations, and teen-age fan magazines. A press conference was bedlam.

While the Beatles stood quietly on a platform, smoking and smiling, photographers cried: "Down in front...gimme some room...whatsa matter...I can't see...please, a sport...hey, Beatles, looky over here..."

Brian Somerville, their press agent said, "Would the photographers please be quiet now so the reporters can ask questions? Please." This was met by cries of anger. Finally, Mr. Somerville grabbed a microphone. "All right. Shut up! Just shut up!."

The Beatles joined in. "Yeah, yeah, everybody shut up." Reporters applauded. Someone asked, "Will you sing for us?"

Mr. Lennon replied, "We need money first." More applause.

"How do you account for your success?" Mr. Lennon again: "We have a press agent."

Mr. Starr was asked what he thought of Beethoven. "I love him," he said, "especially his poems."

A reporter cried: "Hey you're keeping kids outa school!"

"That's a dirty lie," Mr. Lennon said, laughing.

Mr. McCartney beamed. "We have a message," he said. Suddenly there was a moment of silence. "Our message is," he began, "buy more Beatle records!"


polchic said...

At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, oh if only there were bands today that could manage the press as cleverly. I think I've seen some emo boys try, but they just come across as snarky and bratty.

What is it about the Beatles that let them pull this off? Time and time again?

venerableseed said...

I think they had a lot of practice. But I don't know if they really did pull it off back then.

The next day their two NYTimes reviews were particularly harsh. The one is an incredibly condescending tome from a musicologist the other is actually pretty funny. I'll post that later today.

If you think you're a curmudgeon, just wait.

And it was their first time on American soil. It's funny to me how similar their routine is to the A Hard Day's Night press conference which they would start filming the month after their American invasion.

Script or improv? I wonder.

polchic said...

I also wonder if I am the only person who appreciates Spice World....