Beatles’ 1965 Contract Stated They Would Not Play for Racially Segregated Audiences
A 1965 contract between the Beatles and a concert venue reveals the band’s demands were few — 150 security guards, electricity and water in their trailer, clean towels, and, most specifically, that they would not play if the audience was racially segregated in any way.
The contract, slated to be auctioned off September 20, detailed the circumstances under which the Beatles would perform during their date at the Cow Palace, just outside San Francisco.
While the non-segregation clause may seem quaint by today’s standards, it was present in many of the band’s riders and was somewhat ground-breaking during the Civil Rights era.
The band’s working-class background and disdain for non-inclusion was evident even earlier — John Lennon famously told a 1963 audience at London’s Prince of Wales Theater, “For our last number I’d like to ask your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.”