Memphis 1966

Auctioned by Cooper Owen in October 2005.


Reel-to-reel tapes of The Beatles afternoon concert and evening 'Cherry Bomb' concert in Memphis on August 19th, 1966

In 1966, the Beatles were on what would become their last tour - largely because of the event that took place during their evening show in Memphis on 19th August that year.

It was during the 1966 tour that John Lennon made his remark about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus. Quoted out of context, it caused the Bible Belt to explode with ritualistic record burnings, picket lines at concerts and threats, including death threats.

The vendor and her best friend took their portable reel-to-reel tape recorders to both the afternoon and evening concerts that day in Memphis. At the evening concert, during If I Needed Someone, the explosion went off. The vendor recalls that they thought someone was shooting at the Beatles. After the concert, it was established that kids had thrown cherry bomb fireworks near the stage. The Beatles later said they thought it was a gunshot. This is when they realized how vulnerable they were and in the Anthology, they cite this concert as a deciding factor in their never touring again.

The lot comprises:

The two original sets of reel-to-reel tapes of the afternoon and evening Beatles concerts in Memphis, TN on August 19, 1966, for a total of 6 reel-to-reel tapes.

A cassette that has just the Beatles portion of both concerts it was made in the late seventies from the original set of reel-to-reel tapes containing the cherry bomb explosion.

A set of studio audio-tapes made in the nineties from the second set of original reel-to-reel tapes.

EMI has confirmed to the vendor that the tape is what they believe to be the only record of the performance.

The playlist for the performances, which lasted approximately 37 minutes, was as follows:
Rock and Roll Music
She's a Woman
If I Needed Someone
Day Tripper
Baby's in Black
I Feel Fine
I Wanna Be Your Man
Nowhere Man
Paperback Writer
Long Tall Sally

Sold by catalogue only
(this lot is based in the US).
Not sold with copyright.

This photo accompanied the auction.
I suspect this is the recorder which made the tapes.