Thursday, August 16, 2007


How ‘Beatlemania’ hit the embassy

‘A diplomatic incident of some kind is perhaps foreseeable when four young Liverpudlians arrive in a land they’ve never seen before to meet legions of screaming, weeping young women. That might be what Harold Wilson had in the back of his mind when, as Prime Minister, he ensured that a visit to the British embassy in Washington was on the Beatles’ itinerary when they travelled to the US in February 1964.

If that was the case, then Wilson had evidently not anticipated quite how enthusiastically the Fab Four would actually be received by the likes of Lord Harlech, British ambassador of the day, and his wife Lady Sylvia Ormsby-Gore. [..]

John Lennon was pushed and pulled by a “rugby scrum of young Foreign Office officials” while George Harrison was grappled into a corner by dozens of autograph hunters in formal dress. But Ringo had the worst of it. “Someone just cut off a piece of my hair. I’m ruddy mad. This lot here are terrifying,” he said. “Much worse than the kids.”‘

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