‘Cherry Bomb’ incident mars The Beatles’ second performance in Memphis 50 years ago this hour #OnThisDay #OTD (Aug 19 1966)

Video: 'The Beatles Live in Memphis 1966 From Many Footages'

(Thursday, August 19, 1966, 10:10 p.m. CDT) — The Beatles performed the second of two shows tonight at Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis on the eighth stop of The Beatles’ 1966 US tour.

The Beatles’ final tour was mired in controversy arising from John Lennon’s comments that The Beatles’ were “more popular than Jesus.” The anti-Beatles feelings were particularly strong in America’s Bible belt, and a local preacher, the Reverend Jimmy Stroad, staged a rally outside the Coliseum. Six members of the Ku Klux Klan also picketed outside the venue wearing full robes.

During the evening show, a cherry bomb firecracker was thrown onto the stage during George Harrison’s performance of “If I Needed Someone” (you can hear it in the video below at 7:07). The Beatles each looked at one another, thinking a shot had been fired and wondering who had been hit.

If there was a single catalyst that led them to the decision to quit touring, this may well have been it.

Video: 'The Beatles - Live At Mid-South Coliseum - August 19th, 1966 (Evening Performance)'

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