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An End and a Beginning - The End Of Touring Life

beatles john spend remark

George noted that their musicianship began to suffer as a result of the prolonged touring—and screaming. “There was no satisfaction in it. Nobody could hear. It was just a bloody big row. We got worse as musicians, playing the same old junk everyday.” John, always questioning and uncompromising by nature, also began to feel at odds with his fame. “People think fame and money bring freedom but they don't,” he explained. “We're more conscious now of the limitations it places on us rather than the freedom. We can't even spend the allowance we get, because there's nothing to spend it on. What can you spend [it] on in a room? When you're on tour, you exist in this kind of vacuum all the time.” The Beatles would continue to tour the world throughout 1965 and 1966, including a famous show at Shea Stadium in New York in the summer of 1965, at which nearly 56,000 people showed up! They played what would be their last British show in early 1966. In August 1966, at a show in Candlestick Park in San Francisco, they had reached a unanimous decision. “We knew,” recalled George, “this is it—we're not going to do this again. This is the last concert.” That night the Beatles took photographs of themselves on stage to mark the occasion. It was truly the end of an era, but the beginning of an even more important phase of their lives.

More Popular than Jesus?

A huge public furor erupted in the United States over a remark John made to a British newspaper writer. In the interview, he had said that the Beatles “are more popular than Jesus now.” Taken out of context, the remark caused riots and mass Beatles record burnings all over the United States, especially in the South. The Beatles were stalked by Ku Klux Klan members outside many of their shows and received many threats. John, quite scared, eventually apologized publicly for the remark. Although it wasn't the only reason, the incident did contribute to the group's decision to stop touring in 1966.

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