Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Didn't The Beatles Record In America in 1966? (continued)

In my December 18, 2010 post I mentioned a book that stated The Beatles planned to record in Nashville in 1966.  I haven't found that city mentioned in any other references, but I have found six references that describe Brian Epstein's visit to Memphis in March, 1966 with the intent of having The Beatles record an album and single there.  They are:
     1.)  Soulville, U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records by Rob Bowman (1997)
     2.)  The Beatles As Musicians:  Revolver Through The Anthology by Walter Everett (1999)
     3.) (the online version of The Memphis Flyer newsweekly), May 3, 2007
     4.)  Revolver:  How The Beatles Reimagined Rock 'N' Roll by Robert Rodriguez (2012)
     5.)  Reference #2 quotes The Beatles Monthly Book, no. 33:  April, 1966, p. 29 as its news
     6.)  References #3 and #4 mention an article dated March 31, 1966 from The Memphis Press-
           Scimitar newspaper as their source.

So, it looks as though Brian Epstein was investigating having The Beatles record in America.

The Press-Scimitar article quoted said that "The Beatles were to arrive at Stax Record Studios on April 9, 1966 and were to stay two weeks, recording an LP and one single."

There were different conclusions in the articles as to why The Beatles never came to the U.S.  The fourth reference said it was because Epstein cited security concerns and possibly also because of inflated rates for studio time.  The first reference agrees with the "security concerns" conclusion.  The third reference concluded that there were squabbles about getting The Beatles from the airport and where they would have stayed for the two weeks they would have been in Memphis and that Epstein didn't want to get in the middle of it.  Do any of the conclusions make sense?  Think about it. 1.) As I said in the December, 2010 post, The Beatles were multi-millionaire producing stars.  They could command unlimited studio time at EMI in England, so I don't believe U.S. studio rates would have been an issue.  2.)  Epstein had a long, successful history of negotiating tours for The Beatles in and out of dozens of cities throughout the world, so I don't believe he would have been discouraged by problems in Memphis.  3.)  Epstein also had a long, successful history of coordinating movement of The Beatles in and out of the same dozens of cities, so security issues don't seem a plausible excuse.  Also, remember the "bigger than Jesus" controversy started by John that began stirring up trouble in the south in late July, 1966?  Epstein did not cancel the last American tour despite threats on The Beatles' lives.  And one of the concerts planned and completed was in Memphis. I read the details of The Beatles visit to Memphis in the 1996 book, Goin' Back To Memphis:  A Century of Blues, Rock 'N' Roll and Glorious Soul by James Dickerson.  He described The Beatles' visit to Memphis:
     "Word was out:  the Beatles were going to get their asses kicked.  By the time they took the stage, John, Paul, George, and Ringo were basket cases.  Halfway through the performance, someone threw a firecracker onto the stage.  George Harrison nearly fainted."

So much for security concerns.

Here is my speculation on The Beatles staying in England to record Revolver from April to June, 1966.  I believe that Paul was out of the group on July 1, 1966.  I think his last concert (and, possibly, public) appearance was in Japan on June 30th. They sent a Paul (and a John) replacement to America in August, 1966.  I think Paul might have been casting around looking for an escape route because I think he saw "the handwriting on the wall" and feared for his life.  It's possible that he either wanted to make clandestine arrangements to come over to America when he was officially ousted from the group or it's possible that he even contemplated what would have amounted to a defection to America in April, 1966.  My guess is that he thought he'd be safe in the U.S.  If he didn't just disappear here, he might have had plans to finally tell the truth about being a replacement for the real Paul McCartney.  It's my firm belief that OUR John did come over to America and settled quietly in Palm Beach, Florida.  I think he "came out of retirement" in 1980 and recorded the Double Fantasy album with Yoko Ono.  It is our John's photo on the front of that album.

But Paul's American escape route was blocked in April, 1966.


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