The 48th Anniversary of the British Invasion
June 24, 1812: A Napoleonic Invasion
June 6, 1944: The Normandy Invasion
Feb. 7, 1964: The British Invasion
“There were millions of kids at the airport, which nobody had expected. We heard about it in mid-air. There were journalists on the plane, and the pilot had rung ahead and said, ‘Tell the boys there’s a big crowd waiting for them.’ We thought, ‘Wow! God, we have really made it.’”
The above recollection belongs to Paul McCartney, as quoted in the Beatles Anthology, regarding the scene on the plane as he and the other Beatles, along with their management and journalists, made the trip from Liverpool to New York for the first time.
The event, dubbed the British Invasion, became one of the defining moments in the history of popular music, helping to coin the term Beatlemania and occurring two days before the band made their legendary appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
After landing amid a huge gathering of screaming fans at New York’s JFK airport, the Beatles took part in a press conference where they were asked questions that were often at best patronizing and at worst nonsensical, which helps explain why the Beatles themselves seemed to treat the event like a joke. Below are excerpts from that interview, courtesy of www.beatlesinterviews.org:
Question: Are you a little embarrassed by the lunacy you cause?
John: No, it’s great.
George: (giggling) We love it.
Question: In Detroit, Michigan, they’re handing out car stickers saying, ‘Stamp Out The Beatles.’
Paul: Yeah well… first of all, we’re bringing out a Stamp Out Detroit campaign.
Question: A psychiatrist recently said you’re nothing but a bunch of British Elvis Presleys.â€¨
John: He must be blind.
Ringo: (doing an Elvis impersonation) “It’s not true!! It’s not true!!”
Question: There’s some doubt that you can sing.
John: No, we need money first.
Question: Are you going to get a haircut at all while you’re here?
Paul: No, thanks.
George: I had one yesterday.
Question: You know, I think he missed.
Ringo: You should have seen him the day before.
Question: What do you think your music does for these people?
Ringo: I don’t know. It pleases them, I think. Well, it must do ‘cuz they’re buying it.
Question: Why does it excite them so much?â€¨
John: If we knew, we’d form another group and be managers.
Question: Have you decided when you’re going to retire?
John: Next week.
Ringo: Any minute now.
George: No, as long as we enjoy it, we’ll do it. ‘Cuz we enjoyed it before we made any money.