The Beatles pictured in Washington DC in a scene from The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years.
The Beatles pictured in Washington DC in a scene from The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years. APPLE CORPS LIMITED

Get on board with The Beatles: A doco for Fab Four fans

WHEN it comes to saying you're an expert on something, you need to back it up.

Larry Kane is a man who can say he is an expert on The Beatles live on stage.

As the only journalist to join The Beatles on their US tours in 1964 and 1965, Larry saw the Fab Four on stage 46 times. He lived with them, ate with them and experienced first hand what was one of the most historic tours on American soil.

Larry appears in the new documentary The Beatles: Eight Days A Week, which is screening around the country. Directed by Ron Howard (Rush and The Da Vinci Code), the doco charts the story of The Beatles' tours and their eventual decision in 1965 to stop performing live.

The Fab Four only performed once more in 1970, which became the movie Let It Be.

Now in his 70s, Larry is still working in media and has written three books about The Beatles.

"I wrote a book called Ticket to Ride about The Beatles, and they asked me to do some interviews for this documentary," Larry tells Weekend from his home in Philadelphia.

"I outlined what were, I thought, key moments from the two tours and they flew me to Hollywood to do the filming.

"What's amazing about this movie is that firstly, it is totally honest, and it takes people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, back 52 years in time to the real story of what happened. When I was watching the first cut of it with my wife I was shaking...I said to her 'this is really what it was like', and it's a credit to Ron Howard that he's put together a movie that shows what happened and captures what it was like.

"In saying what it was like I'm referring to the crowds, the fandom and the complete insanity of it all."

In 1964 The Beatles arrived in America, and after appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show (watched by a record 73 million people), a nation went insane for John, Paul, George and Ringo. Larry remembers who the audiences were at the time.

 

The Beatles pictured in Sweden in a scene from the movie The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years. Supplied by Think Tank Communications.
The Beatles pictured in Sweden in a scene from the movie The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years. Supplied by Think Tank Communications. APPLE CORPS LIMITED

"I have an idea why people reacted the way they did," Larry says. "Firstly there were four of them, and girls would sit in the audience staring at one Beatle, with tears streaming down their faces, one hundred per cent convinced that their favourite Beatle was singing directly to them.

"I would get home and find thousands of letters saying 'Mr Kane, can you please tell Paul that I will meet him at the mall in this town at 7pm on this date, as I know we are destined to be together'.

"They were all for one and all for each other. The reason that happened was that they were trapped in this cocoon of security, with no chance to see the places they wanted to see, and their social life was followed constantly."

At the end of the 1965 tour, The Beatles announced they were no longer going to perform live, something Larry wasn't surprised about.

"No, I wasn't surprised," Larry said. "There were empty seats at shows, lots of craziness going on, and they thought they were becoming a carnival act. They wanted the music to be the most important thing, they wanted to simply create beautiful music. I'm convinced that if they had all stayed healthy that one day they would have reforme . There is no 'I' in 'team', and that's the way they played it."

Larry recalls one particular event that sums up his career, and how The Beatles touched everyone in the 1960s.

"I've interviewed every president since LBJ, and The Beatles was the one story that I didn't want to cover. Yet it turned out to be the most rewarding... in terms of writing, a personal experience, the enjoyment and also testing my merits as a journalist.

"In 1980, about four days before the US election, Jimmy Carter had lost the lead to Ronald Reagan. I'm doing an interview live on TV with President Carter, and we cut to a break. This man was extremely depressed, he knew he was getting kicked out of office. He was so downtrodden.

"He looked over at me and said 'Larry can you do me a favour? When this is over can we sit down and you can tell me what The Beatles were really like?'"


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