For the grand sum of $5.50, Memphis residents could have attended the only local performance of the Beatles. As one of only 14 stops during their summer tour, the Beatles scheduled two shows at the Mid-South Coliseum for August 19, 1966.
The Memphis engagement lives large in the lore of the Beatles for the controversy surrounding the concert. A month before the Memphis shows, a controversial article appeared in the magazine Datebook in which John Lennon was misquoted as he attempted to describe the hysteria surrounding the band’s fame.
Elvis Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, went into the mid 1960’s with a strategy. He repositioned Elvis from a singer who made movies to a movie star who made records. This simple distinction successfully locked in millions of dollars in upfront movie money, and successfully detached Presley from depending on the fickle whims of the demographics which drove disc sales.
In 1964, British invaders did, with guitars, drums and hair, what their 1812 predecessors with bayonets, guns and war ships couldn't. They laid siege to the hearts and minds of the colonists, and took charge of a great part of commerce. And this time they didn't have to burn down the White House.