How it changed the band forever
Given that the Beatles were the largest group in the world, a cultural phenomenon of the kind the world had never seen before, it is perhaps predictable that they would attract the wrath of many. Quite a product of the youthful mindset of the era, now known as the “baby boomers,” The Beatles summed up the rampant and somewhat avant-garde ethics of this generation.
The Fab Four would go through many different chapters of their careers musically, personally, and aesthetically, but one thing has always remained the same. After the release of the 1965s Rubber core, their first long-lasting foray into more experimental fields, the band became steadfast in their commitment to pushing the boundaries of what music could do.
It was after 1965 that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr would truly take their most iconic and divergent steps. However, this is not to rule out the first chapter of their famous career. Instead, pointing out that the first part was rather one-dimensional compared to what followed, with its songs about love that contained rudimentary composition techniques. In short, the Beatles before 1965 can be hailed as a product of the “Swinging Sixties”. Either way, after 1965 their drug use, conceptual ideas and counter-cultural spirit really helped make The Beatles the most impactful band in the world, and in the process, all four members were praised. as divine figures by their fans.
Known to embody the antithesis of the old Tory order, Liverpool’s favorite sons were so huge that in March 1966, leader John Lennon made a joke in London Standard Evening it would change the course of the band’s career, their life and their immediate future. It’s a comment that put them in touch with one of the most disreputable bands in the world.
Lennon was of the opinion: “Christianity will go. It will disappear and shrink. I don’t need to argue about it; I am right and I will be right. We are more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was fine, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. They’re the ones who twist it that spoil it for me.
This quote outraged conservative white Christians in the western world, and it led to the endless group banning from apartheid-era South Africa, protests and community record burns. . More importantly, it put them in direct contact with the most passionate group of murderous whores of the time, the Ku Klux Klan.
On August 11 of the same year, the group gave a press conference at the Astor Tower Hotel in Chicago before embarking on a massive American tour in support of their new album. Revolver. Given the fury over his comments, Lennon had become emotionally affected by the thought that he had put his family and comrades in danger. Thus, this led him to make a speech at the press conference in which he apologized. He said: “I guess if I had said that television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it. I’m sorry I opened my mouth. I am not anti-God, anti-Christ or anti-religion. I didn’t hit him. I wasn’t saying we are better or better.
The apology sort of smoothed things over, and some who had felt enraged by Lennon’s comments now felt appeased. For example, WAQY, the Alabama-based radio station, planned a Beatles record bonfire, but it was later canceled. Vatican Diary L’Osservatore Romano announced that the apology was sufficient, and the New York Times even wrote: “What is amazing is that such an articulate young man was able to express himself imprecisely in the first place.”
Given that religious extremists are, well, extreme in their views, Lennon’s comments haven’t even touched the sides of many, including our pointy-haired weirdos from the Deep South. During parts of their tour across the country, the Beatles concerts sparked protests and unrest, and excitement gave way to tension. This led the band to quickly hate the tour, which would have far-reaching consequences for their careers.
When the group performed in Detroit on August 13, images appeared in newspapers showing members of a South Carolina Klan chapter ‘crucifying’ an unidentified Beatles record on a large wooden cross. , which they then burned. This set a precedent for the Beatles’ relationship with the Klan.
Luckily for the group, they only had one stop in the Deep South, and that was in Memphis, Tennessee. Before the show, the openly religious demons had already sent phone threats to the group. Our cape madmen also took part in the band’s performances in Washington, DC, so when the time came for the band to move to Memphis, they knew it would be an interesting experience, to say the least. to say.
The group performed two concerts at the Mid-South Coliseum on August 19, ignoring a decision by city council that voted to cancel them rather than “the municipal facilities being used as a forum to ridicule anyone’s religion.” The local council has even definitely declared that “the Beatles are not welcome in Memphis”. It all seems rather futile and quite out of date. However, the scariest moment came when a TV reporter interviewed a young Klansman outside the venue. This young fanatic told the reporter that the Klan was indeed a “terrorist organization” and that it would use its “ways and means” to prevent the Beatles from performing.
To put that in context, this was the time when the Second Wave of the Klan was at its peak. Murderously racist, anti-communist and anti-anyone who was not a “white Anglo-Saxon Protestant”. The group committed hundreds of violent atrocities that marked the south as a place you didn’t want to go as someone who differed from their illusory ideal of “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.”
One of the most publicized examples of their evil was the murders of civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in 1964. These murders were so gruesome they served as the basis for the 1988s. Mississippi burning.
Along with young Klansman’s inference of violence, local Memphis preacher Jimmy Stroad organized a Christian rally to “give Mid-South youth a chance to show that Jesus Christ is more popular than the Beatles “. A member of the audience threw a firecracker on the stage, which briefly led the group to believe they were under gunfire. They really showed the Beatles.
Since the Klan has always had an unhealthy penchant for playing with people, it’s impossible to say what their end goal was, or if there was one, other than blocking the group’s performances. However, in an ITN interview with Robert Shelton, the “Imperial Wizard” of the Klan, he condemned the group for its support for civil rights and even claimed they were communists. Considering what happened in 1964, it’s probably a good thing that Liverpool’s favorite sons have stayed out of the south.
Interestingly, the events of the tour would have a revolutionary effect on the group. Not only did concert dates begin to hamper their studio work, but the busy tour massively overshadowed the release of Revolver, what the group considered the most comprehensive to date. This led them to believe that the tour was really a long and unnecessary exercise, especially in the climate of so much hatred. Guitarist George Harrison even discussed leaving the band but was convinced to stay on condition that the band only focus on recording music.
Ultimately, the tour was the final nail in the coffin of the Beatles’ relationship with touring, and after that, they would never tour again. Ironically, it was to launch their most illustrious and pioneering chapter, the one in which they would become true icons of music.
Watch the interview with young Klansman below.