The Beatles Refused to Play Segregated Clubs

By Amanda Wicks

Ron Howard directed the forthcoming documentary about the Beatles’ touring years, Eight Days A Week, and in going through archival footage he discovered an interesting point about the band: they refused to play in segregated clubs.

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McCartney admits not remembering that stipulation because it’s been over 50 years since they demanded it, but upon seeing footage of the Beatles’ riders it very clearly states that they wouldn’t have anything to do with venues that treated black listeners differently. “It jogs all the memories,” McCartney told Los Angeles Times about watching the documentary. “That’s one of the joys about seeing the film.”

Speaking about their stance on racial equality, he said, “One of the great things for me was all the civil rights things that we’d always naturally had an empathy with, just because we had loads of black friends and of all our [musical] heroes, many of them were black. To see in the film that we actually put it in our contracts…we didn’t remember that. I was very impressed with that. It was very cool.”

Their position in the 1960s even surprised Howard. “I didn’t know anything about that,” he said. “One of the big surprises to me was how clear they were about it, how matter of fact. I knew about their anti-war stances later. But I had no notion [about their position on racial equality]. That was courageous stuff at that time.”

Eight Days A Week debuts in theaters on September 16 and will be available to stream on Hulu one day later.

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