Monday, November 03, 2008

August 19, 1966 - Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis

Taped: Friday 19 August 1966

An already tense atmosphere in the Deep South was heightened when a spokesman for the Memphis city authorities announced that "The Beatles are not welcome in Memphis." A local preacher, the Reverend Jimmy Stroad, organized a mass rally outside the stadium, to protest against the presence of the "blasphemous" John Lennon within a municipal arena. Six Ku Klux Klansmen also picketed the stadium in their costumes. A small number of fanatics threw rubbish on stage and exploded a firecracker. Outside, decoy cars were used to fool protesters, but The Beatles' coach was still surrounded by hordes of Christian demonstrators screaming abuse. Paul: "They were zealots. It was horrible to see the hatred on their faces."

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