FRIDAY FEBRUARY 7, 1964
|JOHN AND CYNTHIA LENNON IN THE VIP LOUNGE AT HEATHROW BEFORE BOARDING FLIGHT TO AMERICA|
"All we knew was that a couple of the records had done well in the States. We believed there was still a huge mountain to climb if The Beatles were really to make it there.
We were ushered into a massive press conference, where journalists, spotting me at the side of the room, demanded a picture of John and me together. To my surprise John agreed. He was usually careful to keep Julian and me away from publicity, but this time, carried along by the momentum of the whole thing, he agreed.
Minutes later we were ushered to the plane. At the top of the steps the boys waved to the packed airport terraces as the screams crescendoed."
It's estimated that over four thousand fans were waiting at London's Heathrow Airport to see The Beatles off on Friday, February 7, 1964, and it had been just such hysteria that had caught the attention of Ed Sullivan on October 31, 1963 as he happened to be at Heathrow waiting to return to New York when The Beatles' plane arrived from Sweden to similar pandemonium.
'Beatlemania' had erupted in the UK the year before, and the throngs of screaming, wailing, adoring fans had become rather commonplace in this, the nation of The Beatles' origin, but the band was uncertain about the reception they would receive in America.
They were scheduled for an 11:00 A.M. departure
on Pan American Airways 707 Clipper "Defiance," Flight 101.Their destination . . . New York City
|AMID THE SCREAMS OF THOUSANDS OF BRITISH FANS, JOHN AND CYNTHIA LENNON (FOLLOWED BY BEATLES' MANAGER BRIAN EPSTEIN) CROSS THE TARMAC AT HEATHROW TO BOARD PAN AM FLIGHT 101|
|THE BEATLES PRIOR TO BOARDING PAN AM FLIGHT 101 BOUND FOR NEW YORK|
|JOHN AND CYNTHIA|
Once aloft, George Harrison captured some private moments:
|THE ENIGMATIC PHIL SPECTOR|
|SPECTOR, JOHN AND CYNTHIA|
"He's as mad as a hatter. The first time I met Phil (Spector), we were all on a plane going to New York and that's when we realised how crazy he was because he 'walked to America'. He was so nervous of flying he couldn't sit down, so we watched him walk up and down the length of the plane all the way."
Although The Beatles were an enormous success
in the UK and much of Europe, the U.S. was quite another issue.
Yes, their record, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was number one in the States, but there was still a reticence amongst the group about how they would be received in America.
"They've got everything over there. What do they want us for?"
|NEW YORK CITY SKYLINE 1964|
Oh George, fear not . . .