The Beatles’ Historic Show at the Deauville Hotel
The Beatles first trip to the United States to appear on the Ed Sullivan show is one of those moments in Rock and Roll history that transcends the music. Though the performance was well before my time, everyone I know who was alive then remembers watching it. I suppose some considered it the beginning of the “British Invasion” of American rock music. But what few remember is that the Beatles second U.S. performance – barely a week later - was from the glitzy Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach.
CHAOS AT MIA, BEATLES FIND MIAMI “MAGNIFICENT”
Yes, like so many in the northeast in February, the Beatles decided the cold weather was not for them and made their way down to Miami during their first trip to the United States. Upon their arrival, they were greeted by throngs of teenage fans at Miami International Airport, jam-packing the observation decks to get a glimpse of their shaggy-haired heroes. People just began abandoning cars on the concourse at MIA and rushing into the terminal to see the Beatles get off their plane. Airport security and over-aggressive Miami-Dade parking enforcement were not quite as aggressive in 1964.
The Beatles made their way through the hoards of screaming teenagers (who left the airport completely trashed) to the fabulous Deauville Beach Resort, which at the time was a popular hangout for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joey Bishop. The Fab Four were treated to a week of sun and fun, with fans writing love messages in the sand and locals offering free rides in powerboats and yachts. The experience prompted Ringo Starr to call Miami Beach “The most magnificent place I’ve ever seen.”
WORKIN’ LIKE A DOG, EVEN ON VACATION
The band’s second performance on the Sullivan show was preceded by two dress rehearsals on February 14th and 15th, where hotel guests from all over the Beach were invited to come and witness a free Beatles concert. People staying at nearby hotels like the Casablanca and Versailles were offered tickets to the rehearsals, as well as the taping itself.
On February 16th the Beatles taped their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan show from the Napoleon Ballroom at the Deauville. The concert may have been slightly more forgettable for some because they were not even the top-billed act on the show, taking a back seat to Mitzi Gaynor. The set consisted of “She Loves You,” “This Boy,” “All My Loving,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “From Me To You,” “Til There Was You,” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Fans were not disappointed.
After the $10,000 the Beatles received for their initial Sullivan performance in New York, they made only $3,500 for the Miami show. And while the band only performed in front of 2500 people at each performance, an estimated 70 million people saw the performance all over the country.
ANOTHER MIAMI CHAPTER IN ROCK AND ROLL HISTORY
So while the Beatles certainly have a comprehensive and intriguing history, as does Miami Beach, few are aware of the historic time these two icons crossed paths at the Deauville. The Ed Sullivan taping was one of the highlights of the swinging 60s era in Miami Beach, and was certainly an event that has contributed to the history of the city. But in all the fanfare that surrounded the Beatles first appearance on the show, somehow the Miami performance gets forgotten in the lore.
HERE ARE SOME RARE SHOTS OF THE BEATLES IN MIAMI BEACH, AS WELL AS SOME OF THE BANDS’ COMMENTS ON THE EXPERIENCE
ABOVE: Rare videos of the Beatles in Miami.
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