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Beatles Interviews Database: Beatles Interview: Carroll James, Washington Coliseum 2/11/1964
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WWDC disc jockey Carroll James played a role in Beatle history, as the Beatles themselves learn in this interview. In early December 1963, while the Beatles were still unknowns in the States, a Washington D.C. teenager, 15-year-old Marsha Albert, mailed in a request to her local radio station and got the Beatles played on the air. That was only the beginning of a series of events.

Albert would later remember, "I wrote that I thought they would be really popular here, and if he (James) could get one of their records, that would really be great." In response to her request, Carroll James imported a copy of the Beatles' newly-released single in Britain, 'I Want To Hold Your Hand,' and let Albert announce it on the air. The response that followed was a large number of phone requests from listeners as the song began to gain quick and strong popularity in the Washington D.C. market. Due to the response, the song was moved into heavy rotation on WWDC. Capitol Records was forced to take notice. This was an early sign of the possiblity that the Beatles could in fact catch on in America -- a fact that Capitol was finding increasingly difficult to ignore.

'I Want To Hold Your Hand' was released by Captiol Records in the States on December 26th 1963. It reached #1 on the American Cashbox charts on January 17th, and was #1 on the American Billboard charts by February 1st where it remained the top song for eleven straight weeks. On the week of April 4th 1964, the Beatles would occupy all five of the Top Five positions on the Billboard charts -- a feat which has never been surpassed or duplicated by anyone before or since.

Following the huge success of their February 9th appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, the Beatles traveled through the snow by train to Washington D.C. on February 11th. Disc jockey Carroll James had the opportunity to chat with the Beatles in a remote radio broadcast trailor before their performance at Washington Coliseum, their first concert in America. James takes a moment during the interview to introduce the Fab Four to Marsha Albert.

                                          - Jay Spangler,

Q: "Welcome everyone. John Lennon."

JOHN: "Thank you, Carroll."

Q: "And Ringo Starr. Did your drums get off the train safely?"

RINGO: "I hope so. We got a man looking after them."

Q: "Good, good. And over here is Paul McCartney."

PAUL: "How do you do."

Q: "Good to see you, Paul. And over here is George Harrison, who I met the other night in New York."

GEORGE: "Yeah. How do you do."

Q: "I had a 30 second interview with him before a man with the network said, 'Here, put that thing away!'"

GEORGE: "Oh yeah."

Q: "Remember? And Dizzy Gillespie got my Beatle wig, and I still don't have one for tonight. Let me sit down here next to you, John. I have these phenomenal questions. We'll never get to them all. But these are just some of the questions that some of my listeners wanted to know about your careers and your selves."

JOHN: "Mm-hmm."

Q: "What was the first million seller in England that you had, and when was it?"

JOHN: "It was 'She Loves You,' I think. (to the others) Was it?"

PAUL: "Yes."

Q: "And the second was..."

JOHN: "I Want To Hold Your Nose."

Q: (laughs)

JOHN: "Hand."

Q: "And the other side has now become popular here."

JOHN: "Yeah, it's amazing, that. Yeah."

Q: "No it's not, it's a great arrangement."

JOHN: (jokingly) "Okay-yeah-it-is-thanks."

Q: (laughs) "The girls want to know what is your favorite food, and they want to know whether you like fish and chips."

JOHN: "Yeah, I like fish and chips quite a lot."

Q: "What is your favorite food?"

JOHN: "STEAK and chips, I think."

Q: "Paul, they of course want to know about the closest shave you've ever had in a crowd. The toughest spot you were ever in."

PAUL: "Uhh, I dunno."

GEORGE: "Ireland."

PAUL: "Yeah. We were playing in Ireland, and there's a place called (adopts heavy Irish accent) Belfast... no it was in Belfast. (loses accent) Lovely place, it is. We came out of the theatre in the front entrance, and they had sort of things to keep all the crowds back. Crush barriers. They had police on (laughs) mounted police."


PAUL: "Police on mounted dogs... whatever you call 'em."


PAUL: "And just as we were sort of driving away, and there were all motorcycles and things, the crush barriers gave in. And the crowds all sort of..." (imitates comic sounds of motors, felines, and objects crushing to the ground)


Q: "Do you attribute this to the fact that there are so many redheads in Ireland?"

PAUL: "Well I dunno. I didn't see any, actually. There may have been some underneath that crowd."

Q: (laughs) "How many rings do you own, Ringo? How many have your fans sent you?"

RINGO: "They've sent quite a lot. If I counted them all, I got about two-thousand- seven-hundred-and-sixty-one... and a bit."

PAUL: (laughs)

Q: "I see. The girls want to know, to where they should send the rings to you. What would the address be?"

RINGO: "13 Monmouth Street, London. Make sure they're gold!! I only wear gold!!"


Q: "You could possibly make more from your rings than from your records in that case."

RINGO: "Yeah, they send a lot of silver ones."


Q: "Do you play cricket at all, George?"


Q: "What is your favorite sport? Singing and fighting for your life, but other than that..."

GEORGE: "I don't like many sports. I don't mind watching motor racing. That's about it. I wouldn't mind to have a go."

PAUL: "We all enjoy sleeping, you know. That's one of our favorite sports."

Q: "Well, it's been a long time since that's happened, isn't it?"

PAUL: "No, no. It happens. We try to get to the... you know, every night, actually. We try hard."

Q: "What are some of the American artists that you feel maybe had an influence on your career?"

PAUL: "Definitely Sophie Tucker. Very big influence. VERY big."

Q: (laughs) "Well you know, Tessie O'Shay who appeared on the Sullivan show with you, of course she is British..."

PAUL: "Tessie O'Shay is our favorite American group."


JOHN: (jokingly) "Well, we can't use THAT gag tonight, anyway."

Q: "What about drummers, Ringo?"

RINGO: "I don't know. There's so many."

JOHN: "What about Big Deaf Arthur?"

RINGO: "Oh yeah, Big Deaf Arthur. He's good."

JOHN: (to Carroll) "You know Big Deaf Arthur?"

Q: "No I don't."

JOHN: "He's with Small Blond Johnnie. Yeah."

Q: (laughs) "Really? Is that a..."

JOHN: "Oh yeah. It's really swinging."

Q: "Oh. They want to know if you still like Jellybabies."

RINGO: "No."

Q: "Not at all?"

RINGO: "We used to like them, and then we got about 18 ton sent to us. So, you know, our teeth are dropping out with them."

Q: (laughs)

RINGO: "We give 'em up."

Q: "This is National Dental Health Week here in America so I guess we forget the Jellybabies for the time being."

RINGO: "Yeah."

Q: "They hurt when they hit, don't they George?"

GEORGE: "They do, yeah. They make you stick to the floor, as well."

Q: "What is your dream in life? This is ridiculous because you have achieved more than a dream already. But John, what would be your dream from now on?"

JOHN: "Umm... (comic voice) I don't really know, Carroll. I couldn't honestly say."

PAUL: (giggles)

Q: "Do you drink a lot of tea, incidentally?"

JOHN: "Yeah, but I don't like these teabags so much, 'cuz they sort of stick in the teeth."

Q: "You don't use them at all in England, do you?"

JOHN: "Uhh, some people use them. But they're usually foreigners, you know."

Q: "Americans."

JOHN: "Well, people like that."

Q: "We'll leave England out of this, and America out of this but..."

JOHN: (jokingly) "What's left?"

Q: (laughs) "What is your favorite foreign country of all the countries you have appeared in?"

PAUL AND RINGO: "England."


PAUL: "I dunno. I'd rather have England than any of the foreign countries, I think."

JOHN: "Ireland. We like playing in Ireland. That was quite fun."

RINGO: "I like playing in America."

JOHN: "No, but besides America and England, you see. Sweden was quite nice."

PAUL, GEORGE AND RINGO: (agreeing) "Sweden."

JOHN: "And France."

Q: "Anybody know any foreign languages?"

JOHN: "Oh, we all speak fluent Shoe."

RINGO: "Well, Paul speaks ANY language. He just gets 'em off like wildfire."

PAUL: (gibberish)

Q: "Johnnie Johnson told me I wouldn't be able to understand the Liverpool accent. Was that a Liverpool accent?"

PAUL: (jokingly) "No, that was a London accent. A bit different down there."

Q: "What do you feel about some of the songs that have been written about you? Donna Lynn has a recording called, uhh... You may not even have heard all of these."

PAUL: "Yes."


GEORGE: "We have."

PAUL: "I've heard 'em. (sings) 'My boyfriend's got a Beatle haircut.'"

Q: "How do you feel about this? You've got a Beatle haircut yourself."

PAUL: "Actually, I haven't heard the record. I've heard about it, though. But it's good publicity, isn't it."

RINGO: "Is it selling?"

Q: "I believe so. Bill Turner tells me it's selling."

RINGO: "Well, I say the best of luck to her."

JOHN: "Yeah, best of luck."

PAUL: "Best of luck, Donna!"

Q: "You, George, are the only Beatle who had been in America before this trip. Is that correct?"

GEORGE: "Yeah. That's correct."

Q: "Went to visit your sister a few months ago."

GEORGE: "Yeah. September."

Q: "At that time, did anybody out there know of the Beatles?"

GEORGE: "Nobody had here, either. In New York, I went into a record shop to ask if they'd ever heard of us and they hadn't."

PAUL: (giggles)

GEORGE: "No, that was October."

Q: "That was October. And then we started hearing things in this country, I guess, first around November. And in December WWDC flew your record 'I Want To Hold Your...'"

GEORGE: "You did?"

Q: "Yes."

GEORGE: "Thanks, that was great."


JOHN: "Thank you very much."

Q: "Well, you're very welcome. I'd like you to meet the young lady, right after we're finished talking here, Marsha Albert is... Come on in here very quickly, Marsha."

RINGO: "Alright, Marsha."

PAUL: "Hello, Marsha."

JOHN: "Good ol' Marsha!"

GEORGE: "Marsha Mellow."

RINGO "Thank you, Marsha."

(each of the Beatles is introduced to Marsha Albert)

Q: (to John) "They call you the chief Beatle..."

JOHN: (jokingly) "Look, I don't call YOU names."

Q: (laughs)

JOHN: "Why do you have to call me names?"

Q: Who is responsible for the haircut?"

JOHN: "Well, I think it's... (pause) bigger than both of us, Carroll. That's all I can say."

Q: (laughs)

RINGO: "Nobody, really."

Q: "When you went to high school... grammar school... what did you have in mind as a career?"

PAUL: "I dunno. At that time I thought of being a teacher, actually. But luckily I got into this business, because I would have been a VERY bad teacher."

Q: "George?"

GEORGE: "I was going to be a baggy sweeger."


Q: "I beg your pardon?"

GEORGE: "A baggy sweeger."

Q: "And what is that?"

GEORGE: "Well, you see, in every city there are twenty-five baggy sweegers."

PAUL: (cracks up)

GEORGE: "And their job is to go out to the airport each morning..."


PAUL: (laughing) "Baggy sweeger!"

GEORGE: "...and baggy sweeging all along the line, man."

Source: Transcribed by from audio copy of the interview

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