New film shows how The Beatles helped fight segregation | Entertainment | Observer-Reporter
LONDON – Music aside, the true power of The Beatles wasn’t the volume of their fans or the popularity of their hairstyles – it was the pull of their politics.
The band’s refusal to play to segregated American audiences in 1964 is one striking example explored in a new documentary about the band’s tireless years on the road in the 1960s before Beatlemania forced them to stop performing live.
Director Ron Howard mined archival footage to reveal the Fab Four’s shock at being asked to perform for a separated crowd for the film “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years.” The movie is now out in select theaters in the United States and United Kingdom.
“We were kind of quite intelligent guys, looking at the political scene and, coming from Liverpool, we played with black bands and black people in the audience. It didn’t matter to us,” McCartney said.
“We played Jacksonville (Florida) and we heard that the whites and the blacks were going to be segregated and we just went, ‘Whoa, no. No way,”’ he said. “And we actually forced them then, which is very early on in the 60’s, to integrate. We actually even put (it) in the contract.”
McCartney and Ringo Starr reflected on their impact and the band’s overwhelming success during an interview this week in Studio Two at Abbey Road Studio, where The Beatles recorded their catalog.