The Day The Beatles Fled Imelda Marcos

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Break out the beers and bootlegs, and let me tell you a story about The Beatles.

On July 4, 1966, the Fab Four were in the Philippines, afraid for their lives.

You see, they were there to play a concert. But when manager Brian Epstein declined the band’s invitation to a luncheon with Imelda Marcos, it was broadcast as a snub by the fabled shoe obsessive and her nation’s media.

Just like that, The Beatles’ police protection disappeared, and the band was hounded out of the country, and roughed up along the way.

Varying versions of the infamous event have gone viral as time (and memory) has faded. But that’s where YouTube comes in: Check out the newsreel below for the band’s version of what happened.

(For those who’d like to read a saucier textual version, check out recollections from The Beatles Anthology.)

“We got pushed around from one end of the lounge to the other,” Paul explains in the video interview. “They started knocking over our road manager, and everyone is falling all over the place.”

“’We treat you like ordinary passenger!’” John quotes. “Ordinary passenger doesn’t get kicked, does he?”

When George was asked if he’d go to Manila again, he didn’t mince words. “I didn’t even want to go that time. Because we’d heard it was a terrible place anyway, and when we got there, it was proved.”

1966 was the first year of the Marcos dictatorship, and Imelda was known as the “Steel Butterfly.” Too bad she didn’t let her wings down a bit more.

She could have learned a lot from The Beatles, especially that one song. What was it called?

Oh yeah. “All You Need is Love.”

This article appeared at Wired

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