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Beatles Interviews Database: Beatles Press Conference: Washington D.C. 8/15/1966
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In the early hours of August 15th 1966, following their performance at Cleveland Stadium, the Beatles hopped a flight to Washington D.C. for their scheduled appearance at D.C. Stadium later that evening.

Backstage before the concert, the Beatles held the following press conference with Washington reporters. The D.C. press were preoccupied with the controversy stirred by John Lennon's remarks earlier in the year regarding his opinions of the current state of religion. The remarks had been taken out of context and had caused a backlash that included record burnings and death threats. While the controversy seemed to dominate the headlines and the attentions of the American press, only a small segment of the public were truely upset by the remarks.

Mentioned in this press conference is an editorial from the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano which offered a surprise bid of support for John's full remarks within their original context.

After the press conference, the Beatles gave a concert at D.C. Stadium in front of a crowd of 32,000 enthusiastic Beatles fans. Immediately following the show, the Beatles traveled by bus to Philadephia for their performance at John F. Kennedy Stadium on August 16th.

A small portion of the Beatles' 1966 Washington D.C. press conference has survived through the years in audio and video clips, the text of which is presented below.

                                          - Jay Spangler,

(as the press conference opens, John is asked about reports that his 'Jesus statement' was purposely timed to stir up controversy and publicity just before their tour.)

JOHN: "Well, that is the... one of the most stupid versions of it. 'Cuz that, I mean... That's not a publicity stunt. We don't need that publicity. Not like that."

TONY BARROW: "Can I add to that, that article was originally published in England last March, so it was nothing to do with, you know, pre-tour."

Q: "The story from the Vatican claimed that the official Vatican newspaper defended your statement. Have you seen this?"

JOHN: "I've seen... uhh... I've seen similar versions of what you're talking about in the paper."

Q: "Do you feel better about the whole thing?"

JOHN: "Well, if it makes other people feel better, it'll make me feel better."

Q: "Do you feel like the whole thing has been over nothing?"

JOHN: "It's not over nothing now, because it IS something. But there weren't as many people upset as I was led to believe, and not so seriously upset."

Q: "Do you figure that this is one of the reasons you haven't been drawing as well on this trip as you..."

JOHN: "Nothing to do with it."

Q: "Pardon?"

JOHN: "I don't think it's anything to do with it. I don't think that we're drawing any less than we expected, whether THIS had started or not. Not really."

PAUL: "The numbers of people 'recepting,' or whatever the word is, is bigger, so I hear."

JOHN: "Who knows."

PAUL: "Yeah."

JOHN: "Who. Who."

PAUL: "Well, Brian knows."

GEORGE: "We're playing for more people on this trip than we have on the last two."

Source: Transcribed by from video and audio clips of the press conference

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