On February 9, 1964, Beatlemania officially exploded in the United States.
That was the date when the Beatles, having flown across the Atlantic, made the first of three consecutive weekly appearances in the variety program The Ed Sullivan Show. About 70 million Americans tuned in that day—many of whom were mobs of screaming teens—and officially ushered in the "British Invasion," one of the most lasting moments in pop music history.
Thus began the band's conquest of the U.S. of A., and later, the world. Today, 50 years after their American invasion, the band—with only two members still alive—continue to be relevant and profitable, with earnings of $71 million just last year.
Below is a clip from that momentous event:
Now, while America's reception for the Fab Four was tremendously positive, the same couldn't be said about the band's experience in the Philippines, which happened just two years after the Ed Sullivan gig.
In fact, it was the complete opposite.
On July 3, 1966, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr landed in Manila for a concert. Manila got to see them perform but the Beatles got so much more. The Beatles were invited by the Marcoses for lunch. Politely, they declined. The reaction from the Marcoses and the rest of the country, as the Beatles would learn, was all sorts of terrifying.
From the day of their arrival to their scary attempt to "escape" Manila, what the Beatles experienced then is the reason that up to now they vow to never return to the Philippines. Below is a list of the incredibly surreal things that happened in those fateful days in 1966.
One of the rare happy moments of the Fab Four in Manila
1) The Fab Four's bags were confiscated upon arrival. The bags allegedly contained marijuana, and given the times then, weren't about to be legal anytime soon. This set the tone for the trip: nervous and pretty iffy. Thankfully, the bags were not searched.
2) Their decision to decline the Presidential invitation came before the concert. They were still able to play their two concerts on July 4, 1966—one at 1 p.m. and the other at 8:30 p.m. at the Rizal Memorial Stadium—to crowds of 30,000 and 50,000. Huge crowds even for today's standards.
This was what the band played, according to a Beatles fan site:
"The Beatles' set list during the Manila concert was as follows:
1. Rock And Roll Music (Chuck Berry cover, from the album Beatles For Sale)
2. She's A Woman (Single, later to be compiled on the Beatles Past Masters Singles compilation album)
3. If I Needed Someone (from the album Rubber Soul)
4. Baby's In Black (from the album Beatles For Sale)
5. Day Tripper (Single, later to be compiled on the Beatles Past Masters Singles compilation album)
6. I Feel Fine (Single, later to be compiled on the Beatles' Past Masters Singles compilation album)
7. Yesterday (from the album Help!)
8. I Wanna Be Your Man (from the album With The Beatles)
9. Paperback Writer (Single, later to be compiled on the Beatles Past Masters Singles compilation album)
10. I'm Down (Single, later to be compiled on the Beatles Past Masters Singles compilation album)
ENCORE: Long Tall Sally (Little Richard cover, single, later to be compiled on the Beatles' Past Masters singles compilation album)"
The signs that things were about to go bad started when they woke up the next morning as the band woke up to horrible, stale meals.
3) And then it hit them. They turned on the TV and saw Imelda announcing on TV that the presidential invitation had been snubbed alongside images of kids crying because The Beatles didn't come. It was downward spiral from here as newspaper headlines bannered things such as "Beatles Snub President" and "Imelda Stood Up: First Family Waits In Vain For Mopheads."
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