Monday, August 29, 1966
A plane carrying the biggest pop group of all time, The Beatles, crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport. There were no survivors. The plane was also carrying three other music acts. The group was arriving to perform a show at Candlestick Park. However, instead of the sound of rock and roll, there is tens of thousands of fans huddled outside paying their respects and holding vigil.
The victims were as follows:
- John Lennon, 25 (Beatle)
- Paul McCartney, 24 (Beatle)
- George Harrison, 23 (Beatle)
- Richard "Ringo Starr" Starkey, 26 (Beatle)
- Brian Epstein, 31 (manager)
- Neil Aspinall, 24 (road manager)
- Mal Evans, 31 (road manager)
- Alistair Taylor, 31 (manager's assistant)
- Bobby Hebb, 28 (singer and songwriter)
- Barry Tashian, 21 (member of The Remains)
- Bill Briggs, 21 (member of the Remains)
- Vern Miller, 21 (member of the Remains)
The Beatles started off in 1960, consisting of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and drummer Pete Best; but the group became finalized in 1962 after Best left and Richard Starkey (known as Ringo Starr) joined. They released their first single "Love Me Do" in 1963, and soon came out with an LP titled "Please Please Me". After an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, they rose to fame in America. They went on to release six more studio albums ("With the Beatles", "A Hard Days' Night", "Beatles for Sale", "HELP!", "Rubber Soul", and "Revolver") and plenty more singles, which all hit number one in the charts.
However, some controversy arose when lead singer John Lennon made an infamous comment that spread violently in the United States. The comment, made in an interview in early 1966, said that 'the Beatles are bigger than Jesus'. Tons of southerners held Beatle bonfires and burned albums and merchandise. Members of the KKK were sending death threats to the Beatles, even though it was later revealed Lennon's comment was misquoted and taken out of context. Many were predicting the Beatles to die either before or during their concert. Unfortunately, and tragically, they were proven right.
Millions of people are in complete shock about the news. "Today is a tragic day worldwide", said Ed Sullivan, "we lost four inspiring and incredible men that leave a void that will never be filled". Another top English pop group, the Rolling Stones, had a few things to say as well. "Just some terrible news, I lost four dear friends", said Mick Jagger. "I am in shock, it's the last thing you expect to happen", replied Keith Richards. The Stones are leaving for a tour to Ireland on September 3, and guarantee there will be a lot of Beatle tracks played at the show. In the meantime, the stores were packed as Beatles albums are being sold out throughout the world, just so their fans could have a glimpse of what no longer exists.
The bodies of Lennon, McCartney, Harrsion, and Starkey will be sent back to Liverpool, England; as well as the bodies of their managers. There will be a public service on September 5, and a private burial for family and close friends on September 7. The Beatles may be gone, but their music will last forever.