The historic, first-time-ever arrival of the Beatles on U.S. soil happened on Friday, 2.7.64 — just shy of 60 years ago. They had left London Airport, which wasn’t renamed Heathrow until September 1966. early that morning, and arrived at the recently rechristened Kennedy Airport, known for decades as Idlewild Airport until l2.24.63, or only six weeks earlier. The Beatles flight, Pan Am # 101, touched down around 1:40 pm.

Ten minutes later they were inside a small press lounge inside the Pan Am terminal and answering a series of taunting, goof-off questions from local journalists (print and broadcast). Most of us have seen the footage (as burned into the mind as newsreel capturings of the JFK assassination chaos, which had happened only ten weeks prior), and heard the group’s wise-ass responses. You can feel the irreverent energy and giddy vibes. Something fresh and shifty was happening. Whatever was left of that gloomy, lingering hangover from the shock of Dealey Plaza…all of that was suddenly gone.

Earlier today I was looking for some restored news footage — HD, 4K, perhaps even a 60 fps makeover or at least deliciously restored with enhanced sound — that I was sure someone had created. To my gradual surprise I was surprised to discover that except for some cruddy-looking colorized footage nobody has done squat. The same footage that was broadcast later that day on local news channels is all you can find. Strange. You’d think someone along the way would have done something to intensify those iconic sounds and images, but no.

Transcription of JFK press conference (2.7.64) provided by

Q: “Are you a little embarrassed by the lunacy you cause?”
JOHN: “No, it’s great.”

PAUL: “No.”

RINGO: “Marvelous.”

GEORGE: (giggling) “We love it.”

JOHN: “We like lunatics.”

Q: “You’re in favor of lunacy?”

BEATLES: “Yeah.”

JOHN: “It’s healthy.”

Q: “Are those English accents?”

GEORGE: “It’s not English. It’s Liverpudlian, you see.”

PAUL: “The Liverpool accent – so, the way you say some of the words. You know, you say GRASS instead of GRAHHSS, and that sounds a bit American. So there ya go.”

Q: “Liverpool is the…”

RINGO: (jokingly) “It’s the capital of Ireland.”

PAUL: “Anyway, we wrote half of your folk songs in Liverpool.”


RINGO: “Yeah, don’t forget!”

Q: “In Detroit Michigan, there handing out car stickers saying, ‘Stamp Out The Beatles.'”

PAUL: “Yeah well… first of all, we’re bringing out a Stamp Out Detroit campaign.”


Q: “What about the Stamp Out The Beatles campaign?”

JOHN: “What about it?”

RINGO: “How big are they?”


M.C: “There’s a question here.”

Q: (yelling over the crowd noise) “Would you tell Murray the K to cut that crap out?”

BEATLES: (yelling, jokingly) “CUT THAT CRAP OUT!”

PAUL: “Hey, Murray!”


REPORTER: “Is that a question?”

M.C: (attempting to calm the chaos) “Will you be quiet, please.”

Q: “A psychiatrist recently said you’re nothing but a bunch of British Elvis Presleys.”

JOHN: “He must be blind.”

RINGO: (shaking like Elvis) “It’s not true!! It’s not true!!”

JOHN: (dances like Elvis)

FEMALE FAN: “Would you please sing something?”



RINGO: “Sorry.”

M.C: “Next question.”

Q: “There’s some doubt that you CAN sing.”

JOHN: “No, we need money first.”


Q: “How much money do you expect to take out of this country?”

JOHN: “About half a crown.”

RINGO: “Ten dollars.”

Q: “Does all that hair help you sing?”

PAUL: “What?”

Q: “Does all that hair help you sing?”

JOHN: “Definitely. Yeah.”

Q: “You feel like Sampson? If you lost your hair, you’d lose what you have? ‘It’?”

JOHN: “Don’t know. I don’t know.”

PAUL: “Don’t know.”

M.C: “There’s a question here.”

Q: “How many of you are bald, that you have to wear those wigs?”

RINGO: “All of us.”

PAUL: “I’m bald.”

Q: “You’re bald?”

JOHN: “Oh, we’re all bald, yeah.”

PAUL: “Don’t tell anyone, please.”

JOHN: “And deaf and dumb, too.”


M.C: “Quiet, please.”

Q: “Do you know American slang? Are you for real?”

PAUL: “For real.”

JOHN: “Come and have a feel.”

RINGO: (laughs)

Q: “Aren’t you afraid of what the American Barbers Association is going to think of you?”

RINGO: “Well, we run quicker than the English ones, we’ll have a go here, you know.”

Q: “Listen, I got a question here. Are you going to get a haircut at all while you’re here?”


RINGO: “Nope.”

PAUL: “No, thanks.”

GEORGE: “I had one yesterday.”


RINGO: “And that’s no lie, it’s the truth.”

PAUL: “It’s the truth.”

Q: “You know, I think he missed.”

JOHN: “Nope.”

GEORGE: “No, he didn’t. No.”

RINGO: “You should have seen him the day before.”

Q: “What do you think your music does for these people?”

PAUL: “Uhh…”

JOHN: “Hmmm, well…”

RINGO: “I don’t know. It pleases them, I think. Well, it must do, ‘cuz they’re buying it.”

Q: “Why does it excite them so much?”

PAUL: “We don’t know. Really.”

JOHN: “If we knew, we’d form another group and be managers.”


Q: “What about all this talk that you represent some kind of social rebellion?”

JOHN: “It’s a dirty lie. It’s a dirty lie.”


Q: “What do you think of Beethoven?”

RINGO: “Great. Especially his poems.”


M.C: “Can we have the last question now, Gentlemen, please?”

PAUL: “My favorite.”


Q: “Have you decided when you’re going to retire?”

JOHN: “Next week.”

PAUL: “No.”

JOHN: “No, we don’t know.”

RINGO: “We’re going to keep going as long as we can.”

GEORGE: “When we get fed up with it, you know. We’re still enjoying it.”

RINGO: “Any minute now.”

Q: “After you make so much money, and then…”


GEORGE: “No, as long as we enjoy it, we’ll do it. ‘Cuz we enjoyed it before we made ANY money.”

(At the conclusion of this press conference, since they were still unknown as individuals to most of the American press, the Beatles chanted their names in the order they were standing at the microphones.)

BEATLES: (in unison) “Paul… Ringo… George… John!! Paul… Ringo… George…John!!”