|Circa 1965 The Beatles with Mary Wells Hulton Archive/Getty Image|
A soon-to-be auctioned contract from The Beatles 1965 tour shows that the Fab Four’s belief in a truly universal egalitarian sociaty was more than just pretty words and music.
The contract for an Aug 31, 1965 concert to be held in the Cow Palace in Daly City, CA., will be auctioned on Sept 20, 2011 in Los Angeles and is expected to raise $3,000 to $5,000. The contract contains the phrase “not to be required to perform in front of a segregated audience.”
This is not the first time The Beatles took a stand civil rights. In 1964, halfway through a 23 City 1964 US Tour, just weeks before a scheduled appearance at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, the Fab Four announced in a press release “We will not appear unless Negroes are allowed to sit anywhere.” City Officials agreed and ticket sales were open to all for the concert. The opening act for this concert was a black R&B vocal quartet, The Exciters, best known for the hit “Tell Him.”
The Beatles were unlike any other musical group in 1964. They held the fascination of an entire nation – young, old, liberal, conservative, black, white, everyone had an opinion about The Beatles. They were able to do what had never been done before in the rock and roll arena, they used their celebrity and musical status to open the eyes of Americans to social wrongs.
“I can see the Beatles coming over here and being assailed by this weird, unfair policy of segregation. They were not just good musicians. They had intellect. They spoke up.” said Mark Lindsay, lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders.
Paul, John, Ringo, and George continued to support Civil and Human Rights even after the group disbanded and they pursued solo careers. These four young men, with their strange haircuts, crazy antics, British accents, and non-traditional ideas about society as a whole, will forever share the stage and spotlight with others who came before and after using music to change the world. Artists like Pete Seeger, Woodie Guthrie, Bess Lomax, David Rovics, Kim and Reggie Harris, Terry Leonino and Greg Atzner of Magpie, and of course, Harry Chapin.
I am not sure if John Brown would have liked the Beatles’ music, but I am sure that he would have agreed with their message.
“We weren’t into prejudice. We were always very keen on mixed-race audiences. With that being our attitude, shared by all the group, we never wanted to play South Africa or any places where blacks would be separated. It wasn’t out of any goody-goody thing; we just thought, Why should you separate black people from white? That’s just stupid, isn’t it?”~ Paul McCartney 1966