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Reference Library: Carnegie Hall

From: "Allan Kozinn" <>
Subject: Re: Carnegie Hall
Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 15:07:11 -0400
Organization: IDT (Best News In The World)

RockyRaven wrote in message <>...

>With so much documentation about the Beatles' first U.S. visit, 
>why is there so little available on their Carnegie Hall concert?
>Pix? Film? Playlist? I've seen itineraries in books that don't 
>even mention it. What's the deal? Are there boots available? 
>Just curious.

Very complicated subject, the Carnegie Hall concert. Years ago I was assured by what seemed reliable sources at the time that the show had been recorded, and I followed various leads to the person who supposedly had the tape. When I found him, he seemed, very believeably, not to know what I was talking about (among the reasons he was believeable was that he wasn't particularly interested in the Beatles, and I had other kinds of materials that he wanted, so if he had it, presumably he'd have let me know -- besides, I didn't actually ask for a copy, just for information). Among the people who insisted it was recorded were Brown Meggs, who was head of Capitol's east coast (NY) office at the time. Yet there were persistent reports that the American Federation of Musicians blocked the recording. When the archivist showed me Carnegie's file copy of the contract between Carnegie and Capitol for the recording, it was unsigned, so seemingly the plan was dropped. In those days Carnegie did not make archival recordings of its own. By the way, the terms of the contract were that Capitol could record the Beatles, but would have to pay Carnegie a fee of $300. Maybe Capitol thought that was too high.

The Carnegie archivist, in fact, was searching for whatever he could find on the concert, because as you pointed out, there are very few pictures: the most famous one is of the Beatles leaving through the backstage door on West 56th Street. (Carnegie actually had postcards of this made up; I think they sell them in the gift shop). There is also a photo of them onstage published in "The Beatles Downunder," of all places. And there is one other stage photo from closer up. When Carnegie's archivist had the picture blown up, he noticed that someone in the stage seats had a small movie camera. She would have gotten only silent film, and mainly of the Beatles from the back (or some side views, I guess). Assuming that the stage seats were mostly comped to VIPs, he got in touch with Sid Bernstein and tried to get her identified, in the hope that he could then find her and get her to donate copies to the archives; but no luck there.

If you ever visit Carnegie, however, they do have a small section of their museum devoted to the show (or did last time I looked). It includes a copy of the main page of the program book (in which Paul's name is listed as John McCartney) autographed by all four, along with some other memorabilia. Elsewhere in the museum is Carnegie's booking engagement calendar. They change the page that's shown every now and then, but for a long time they had it open to the page that showed the Beatles booking -- spelled Beetles, if I recall correctly, and listed as "quartet."

That's as much as I can tell you.



From: (Susan Peters)
Subject: Re: Carnegie Hall
Date: Mon, 07 Sep 1998 02:01:03 GMT

I have a 1964 softcovered booklet called "The Beatles at Carnegie Hall" which is British. It was written by Ralph Cosham in New York, and features photographs by United Press International Candid Camera Team (??).

This little book has lots of wonderful photos of the Fabs at Carnegie - one arriving at the Hall (via taxi), and several of them on stage, surrounded by New York's finest (it has the photo of the fan with the camera).

"Their arrival at Carnegie Hall was a masterpiece of strategy. More than 1,500 fans without tickets strained at police barriers around the stage door entrance to Carnegie Hall, anxiously watching for the black Cadillac that would bring The Beatles to the hall in time for the concert. Suddenly, just at 7:30 - curtain time - an old taxi drove up to the stage door entrance. Out jumped The Beatles and sped across the pavement. Photographers didn't even get a chance to snap a shutter. The Beatles got away again." (The photo shows George in a black coat leaving a checkered cab.)

The two performances took place on February 12, 1964. Tickets went on sale January 27th, and were sold out within hours. Extra seats were added to the stage to accommodate more people.

For what it's worth, they say -

"Capitol Records, who issue Beatle records in the U.S., arranged to fly their top a & r man from Hollywood to produce an L.P. album to be called "The Beatles at Carnegie Hall". Technical problems prevented this being completed."

They go on to say -

"There's a good chance they'll be back. Promoter Walter Hyman was so delighted with Wednesday's reception he was immediately thinking about taking up his option for another Carnegie concert by the Beatles next September." Of course, unfortunately this never happened.

The concerts at Carnegie were referred to as "two, *hour-long* concerts". Having never seen a playlist, I don't know if this is accurate. During the second show, John's mike came unplugged during the second number, so they clowned around the stage a little while it was fixed.

The cover of the book has awful cut out pictures of each of The Beatles heads, and a photo of the poster placed outside Carnegie to advertise the show. For some odd reason, on the bottom of the poster where the ticket prices were listed they've been blocked out, but I imagine they were about $5 each!

susan peters ~

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