George Harrison Once Said the 'Worst Thing About America' Was the Parents of The Beatles' Teenage Fans

Article Highlights:

  • The Beatles thought the parents of their American fans were rude
  • They aggressively, thanklessly asked them for autographs
  • The band relaxed in the Florida sun (away from their fans’ rude parents)

In 1964, The Beatles got on a plane and flew to America for the first time as a band to make their debut. There, they made an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and played venues all around the country (they were excited most of all for Carnegie Hall). To John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr‘s delight, the U.S. welcomed them with open arms. And the feeling was mutual. The Beatles loved their American fans. But they did not, however, love their parents.

The Beatles fans’ rude parents

In his 1964 column for the Daily Express (with the help of Daily Express writer Derek Taylor), Harrison wrote about interacting with The Beatles’ American fans’ parents.

“The worst thing about America, despite what some commentators have said, is not the teenage fans but their parents,” he wrote, as recorded in the book George Harrison on George Harrison. “It’s the adults who come to us in hotels, trains, and planes who have given us a rough time. They’re so rude.”

They demanded autographs

Harrison went on to give an example of one “expensively dressed man” who approached McCartney for an autograph outside of a restaurant in Miami.

“This is the way he did it: ‘I have two teenage children who listen to your records. God only knows why. I wouldn’t. But they are going all day long in my house. So sign this,’” he wrote.

The Beatles received the same treatment from fans’ parents on the plane ride over to America.

“The first-class passengers asked for so many autographs you might have thought they were going into the business of selling them,” wrote Harrison. “One man wanted 13 of each.”

“They talk about teenagers, but some of the so-called adults could take a few lessons from their kids in the case of manners,” he continued. “Still, that’s just a minor moan of what has been the greatest trip ever—for all of us.”

The Beatles enjoyed the Florida sun

The Beatles were particularly looking forward to their stop in Florida. At 75 degrees, the sunshine state did not disappoint.

“When I looked out of my hotel window this morning I could see the bluest sea I ever set eyes upon,” wrote Harrison. “Marvelous! And now we want to relax—if we get a chance. For the crowds here when we Beatles flew in were even bigger than in New York. It was a great welcome. And the girls—they were great. There was a line of bathing beauties all tanned and blonde waiting with welcome gifts for us and we hardly stepped off the plane before we were kissing them for the photographers.”

The hotel The Beatles were staying in boasted other notable celebrities.

“It’s a great place for show business,” wrote Harrison. “Bob Hope and Red Skelton stayed in our hotel. Carol Lawrence is here too appearing in the supper club.”

But what the band was looking forward to most of all was relaxing by themselves.

“The main things that interest us are sunshine and privacy,” he wrote. “Although we had a fabulous trip it has been exhausting.”

Thankfully, they got a little bit of both in.

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