The Beatles showed their support for the US civil rights movement by refusing to play in front of segregated audiences, a contract shows.
The document, which is to be auctioned next week, relates a 1965 concert at the Cow Palace in California. Signed by manager Brian Epstein, it specifies that The Beatles “not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience”.
The agreement also guarantees the band payment of $40,000 (£25,338). Other requirements include a special drumming platform for Ringo Starr and the provision of 150 uniformed police officers for protection…
The Beatles had previously taken a public stand on civil rights in 1964, when they refused to perform at a segregated concert at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.
City officials relented, allowing the stadium to be integrated, and the band took to the stage.
“We never play to segregated audiences and we aren’t going to start now,” said John Lennon. “I’d sooner lose our appearance money.”
I knew there was another great reason why I always loved the Beatles. Actually, among folks active in the civi rights movement – in the Land of the Free – we all knew about the Beatles’ stance against racism. It was only the “official” newspapers and radio and TV stations that wouldn’t admit it.