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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “If I Needed Someone” (cherry bomb version)

Posted by on April 29, 2009 at 6:14 pm.

This week’s BROW is a follow up to another that I posted a little over a month ago that you may read here if you like. It comes from an audience recording of the August 19th, 1966 Memphis, TN performance of George Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone.” Due to John Lennon’s recent “Beatles are bigger than Jesus” remark taken out of context by a US teen magazine, The Beatles were already a bit apprehensive about their safety while performing in the Bible-belt southern US, where ritualistic burnings of Beatles records were being organized by churches, radio stations, etc. along with actual life-threats from the Ku Klux Klan. It was during this evening performance when a cherry bomb exploded on or near the stage and each of the Beatles looked at the others to determine which one had been shot. This moment in history was one of numerous deciding factors in the decision to quit touring after 1966. The explosion occurs in this recording at about one minute and 12 seconds in. My apologies for the horrendous sound quality of this recording but since it’s sourced is from a portable reel-to-reel tape machine running somewhere in the chaotic bed of a frenzied audience, it’s good to be able to make anything out.

The Beatles - If I Needed Someone
The Beatles: Memphis, TN on August 19, 1966

The Beatles: Memphis, TN on August 19, 1966

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  • Chip says:

    Interesting. Too bad there isn’t video to go along with it.

  • Fletch says:

    I was there that night. Was watching Paul and when the cherry bomb went off, he took a quick look to his left (where George and John) were. The Beatles, to their credit, never missed a beat and managed to finish this song and the concert. Had to have scared the hell out of them. It shook me up.

  • Happy Nat says:

    Interesting Fletch. Many thanks for sharing.!

  • Gabriel says:

    It’s never horrendous, when it is life happening. It was the real thing, no tricks. It was history being made.

  • SpinalCracker says:

    Hey nat,

    i cannot get this page to load anymore…am i the only one??

    thanks, SC.

    • Happy Nat says:

      @SC – I have just recently changed hosting companies and hope any access issues will be short-lived. I haven’t heard from anyone else about not being able to get pages to load but I am really not sure yet as the switch is still in transition. I will do what I can once I see how it plays out over the next day or so. Thanks for letting me know and I appreciate your patience.

  • SpinalCracker says:

    Thanks Nat.
    that is probably what is gong on, as i just was sharing this recording with the cherry bomb..you know a lot of people think it was a firecracker…a big difference in that and a firework that has the word bomb in it.
    my cousin lost fingers fooling with one of these.
    thanks for you reply. really like your website.

    • SpinalCracker says:

      well, dang it.
      it loads now…everything but the recording in Memphis…and my little spinning circle (win7) showing the page is loading will not stop…i know that file is the culprit now..wait a few days and see.

  • Nico says:

    Wow! Great! For some reason I can’t find a video of it. Only this audio piece

  • Raoul Hurley says:

    I was there, actually back stage as one of the local concert promoters. None of us heard the bang and didn’t know until after the Beatles finished their set. If any of us did hear the bang, it probably got mixed with Ringo’s drum beat and the speaker blasts. We could hardly even hear the Beatles themselves
    with a coliseum filled with screaming kids. The Fab Four did seem to hurry off stage and appeared excited, but I assumed that is the way they always ran off stage…until someone mentioned the probable firecracker . Just another day of excitement to keep Memphis in the bad headlines.

  • Joel Glazier says:

    the clip is piece of history as are all ‘amateur /audience ‘ recording of concerts on that 1966 or any tour.

  • Fletcher Terry says:

    I heard later that The Beatles decided backstage at the Mis South Voluseum that night that their touring days were over … Sad that one lone dumbass was responsible for this

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