Part 17 : The Beatles (Part 3)

"Memories of nearly 50 years in the Biz"

Part 17 : The Beatles (Part 3)

Postby Brian Lord » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:03 pm

Brian Lord's Radio Stories

(This page has taken on the trappings of 'unshined shoes' for the past coupla months but I have a legit cop-out. During September I was out of the country in which I live (The Philippines) and visiting Canada with my wife. A vacation. October saw The Philippines reeling from a series of killer typhoons -- four plus a horrible strike in late September. As many of you will know from your news sources, the country was basically shut down but this is November and with apologies to my readers and the RadioWest team, I'd like to resume)

The Beatles (part 3)

In early 1964, the Beatles were off to North America and a full tour of performances in large venues across the US and Canada. One of the stops was Las Vegas, a short hop on a jet from the LA area where I worked. Like more than one Southern California DJ, I opted to fly to Vegas and do what I could about seeing the group's concert and perhaps an interview. Capitol Records was a lot of help and K/MEN sprung for 4 seats on a jet for myself, and a technician (like I didn't have to hold my own tape recorder) and Wendy Nicholas, with her older sister, Vickie, as chaperone -- Wendy was 18.

Almost from the get-go I had laid down a system of association with the group which included telephoning them in England and eventually talking to George Harrison. As a station break I asked him to say "This is George Harrison of the Beatles and you're listening to K/MEN, number one in the Inland Empire" to which George asked "what empire?". I'm still kicking myself for not using that on the air instead of the straight line. The Inland Empire, by the way is what we called the market east of LA -- i.e. San Bernardino/Riverside and environs. I also made twice weekly on-air updates with the head of the 'Beatles Fan Club - USA' who's job was high paying and well organized, plus she was a great interviewee. I sent two dozen roses to her hotel room in Vegas.

(I had heard the concert in Las Vegas, held at the town's biggest arena, the Convention Center -- capacity 10,000 -- was not because Las Vegas was a rock concert stop in those days, but because the Beatles, themselves, wanted to see the place. Ten thousand was only about one-quarter their usual draw. I'd also heard that some Vegas "interests" had offered a big sum to Epstein to place the gambling capital on the list. Whatever?)

The roses turned out to be a boon, 'cause when I finally met the fan club president she told me where to stand at the Beatle's scheduled afternoon news-conference. And sure enough, the Beatles lined up right in front of me on a raised platform, Brian Epstein moving behind them and pointing to people altho' it didn't do much good -- the place was packed and nobody would shut up, they just stood there screaming like a bunch of fans.

Epstein finally pointed at me and I asked some sensible questions rather than "Ringo, how do like hamburgers" or "Paul have you met any American girls?". The reason I asked sensible questions is because Wendy Nicholas had fed them to me. The boys (and Epstein) realized I was asking common sense stuff and I got in about five questions; the other people in the front row also caught on and at one point I looked at a sea of mics in my face.

I had made sure Wendy had a pass to this conference. She was about six rows back when Paul McCartney pointed at her and yelled "What are you doing here?". After the conference, the four boys gathered around Wendy and here in the center of a ring of newsies was Wendy and the Beatles, heads together and laughing. George invited her to a party after their show that eveing. It beat going to some reception Pat Boone had arranged for the band who, of course, didn't show 'cause Pat Boone just didn't have a big following amongst his Brit peers.

Wendy and I, along with her sister Vickie and my tech, had comp tickets to Buddy Greco who was playing at the same hotel and after a few numbers Wendy said "I know I can get into that party upstairs, I've got a bloody invite. C'mon". The elevator stopped at the Beatles floor and Wendy talked her way off and I hopped off after her, followed along as she was escorted to the suite where the party was. Wendy was greeted by George and they immediately fell into conversation. I found a seat on a bed, the room was full of beautiful women and the four boys drinking Scotch and Coca Cola.

The women were mostly hookers (who needs a paternity suit) although Jackie de Shannon, who opened for them, was off in a corner talking to Paul. At one point I went down to the Buddy Greco show which was winding up in The Sands main room and brought April and Nino Tempo upstairs much to the Beatles surprise -- they all welcomed the two. I knew the brother/sister duo because I received a gold record for their hit Deep Purple which I had broken nation-wide the year before on our station. All in all, my attendance was pretty low key, as in "I watched"; about 5AM, Wendy and I left. Free booze ... I was plastered.

It had been a pretty heavy trip. When I got back , I played the news-conference interview on the air and talked to whole thing up of course, it was good promo. I had had no sleep for three days but the energy level had kept the adrenaline flowing and looking back on the whole Beatle experience now, I realized it was a highlight in my career.

Wendy Nicholas also had brought with her from England, a Rolling Stones LP and gave it to the radio station, informing us that these guys -- the Stones -- were taking over the pop music scene in Britain and one of our DJ's, Bill Watson, loved them, we all did. Bill, several months later, was responsible for getting the Stones to the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino for the first stop on their own cross country tour. That was another explosive time.
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Re: Part 17 : The Beatles (Part 3)

Postby Steve Sanderson » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:28 pm

Welcome back Brian!!
Another great story from the glory years of Rock!!
Keep them coming my friend!
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Re: Part 17 : The Beatles (Part 3)

Postby radiofan » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:42 pm

Great to have you back on the pages Brian .. Glad to hear life for you and Feli is getting back to
normal. It was great to get together with both of you a couple of times while you were in Vancouver.

Keep the stories coming, they'realways a great read!
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Part 17 : The Beatles (Part 3)

Postby freqfreak2 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:13 pm

Brian Lord wrote:I realized it was a highlight in my career.

Gosh Brian ... a highlight?

I can hardly wait to read what's next :) Wow!
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Re: Part 17 : The Beatles (Part 3)

Postby cart_machine » Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:06 pm

freqfreak2 wrote:
Brian Lord wrote:I realized it was a highlight in my career.

Gosh Brian ... a highlight?

Well, he hasn't got to the part where he worked with me!

This is such an amazing story. I'm sure everyone's waiting for the next part.

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Re: Part 17 : The Beatles (Part 3)

Postby Russ_Byth » Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:17 pm

Glad to see Brian's back to the point where he's able to entertain us again with these great stories! :mrgreen:
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