Rare Beatle Pix

At Seattle Tacoma Airport in Washington, The Beatles boarded their chartered American Flyer Airlines Lockheed Electra plane bound for Vancouver, BC to give their first-ever Canadian concert, at the Empire Stadium, on Augst 22, 1964 which would be the fourth show on this first US / Canadian tour.

After the concert in Vancouver The Beatles immediately went to the airport and flew to Los Angeles, arriving at 3:55am, for their now-famous concert at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on August 23rd and a few days off before flying to their next concert at Red Rocks in Colorado. Out of fear of a deluge of frenzied fans The Ambassador Hotel canceled The Beatles reservations and Lockhhed Airport in Burbank had refused to let their plane land. British actor Reginald Owen stepped in to save them by renting them his Bel Air mansion for $1,000 for four days. While posing for a magazine photosession poolside, Bob Bonis took photographs from his unique perspective.

During this stay at Owens home Ringo played cowboy with a toy gun that was reportedly a gift from Elvis Presley. "The first time in LA, we'd rented a huge house and I turned into a cowboy. I had a poncho and two toy guns and was invited over to Burt Lancaster's, and that was how I went. I was all, 'Hold it up there now, Burt, this town ain't big enough for both of us,' and he said, 'What have you go there? Kids' stuff.' Later he sent me two real guns, and a real holster: he didn't like me playing with kids' guns. I just wanted to be a cowboy." - Ringo Starr

Municipal Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri, September 17th, 1964. George is playing his 1963 Rickenbacker 360-12 model guitar, built in December 1963. This was his first Rickenbacker 12-string, a gift from Rickenbacker owner Francis C. Hall, and was the second 360-12 ever made. It would significantly contribute to the sound of the 1960s as George used it to record both A Hard Day's Night and Help! and played it live in both 1964 and 1965 on a few songs. John is playing his 1964 Rickenbacker 325 model guitar, built specially for him by the company. John had fallen in love with the Rickenbacker 325 after seeing Jean "Toots" Thielemans play one in the George Shearing Quintet in 1959. Paul McCartney playing his 1963 violin-shaped, hollow-body Hofner model 500/1 bass. It would come to be known as the "Beatle Bass". It was stolen in 1968 during the filming of the promotional film for the song Revolution, at which point he went back to using his original 1961 model, which he still uses extensively today.

In this photo from Houston, Texas on August 19th, 1965 on The Beatles second tour of America the floor around Paul is littered with items that fans threw at The Beatles. Fans began throwing a soft British candy know as jelly babies at the band after George made the mistake of mentioning in an interview that he loved them. This spread to the US where jelly babies were unknown and fans began to bombard them on stage with hard US jellybeans, and also everything from paper, cups and makeup to other dangerous objects. In 1963, before The Beatles first came to America they were were already upset by this happening in the UK and George, in a letter back to a 15-year-old female fan wrote: "We don't like jelly babies, or fruit gums for that matter, so think how we feel standing on stage trying to dodge the stuff, before you throw some more at us. Couldn't you eat them yourself, besides it is dangerous. I was hit in the eye once with a boiled sweet, and it's not funny!"

As was the norm for their stadium shows, the Beatles stage was set up at mid-field. For this show in Bloomington, Minnesota on August 21st, 1965 no photographers were permitted near the stage so the only photographs previously know of this performance are long shots taken from quite a distance. These photographs by Bob Bonis are the only close-up photographs taken at stage level of this historic performance. Here Paul McCartney has looked back from the audience to see Bob Bonis standing at the side of the stage with his camera and flashes him a big smile.

At the same show at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesaota George gives Bob a thumbs up sign.

As the American Flyer Lockheed Electra plane chartered for this tour flew from Bloomington, Minnesota to Portland, Oregon one of the plane's engines caught fire and belched thick black smoke, but the plane landed safely and no one was hurt. When asked about it as they landed Ringo said "Beatles, woman and children first!" The Beatles performed two shows in Portland on August 22 to a combined audience of 19,936 fans. Ticket prices ranged from $4.00 to $6.00. Here John is seen wearing the same outfits that they made famous when they played at New York's Shea Stadium on the first show of this tour.

Backstage between shows John passes the time by donning a hat and towel as a scarf with a small British Flag. This photo is entitled John of Arabia.

The Beatles closed out their second tour of America with a return to Cow Palace in San Francisco, California where they had opened their first tour of America in August of 1964. When they flew from Los Angeles, where they had peformed two sold out shows at the Hollywood Bowl, to San Francisco. Joan Baez flew with them and later visited backstage along with Johnny Cash. Before the two shows at Cow Palace they had performed 16 times in nine different cites, including their third Ed Sullivan appearance. They had performed for over 300,000 screaming fans in 16 days but had one more show to go before taking a much earned six week break before getting back together to record the LP Rubber Soul.

On the flight to San Francisco at the end of August, 1964 for their last show on their second U.S. tour Paul and Ringo catch up on the latest events in rock 'n' roll.

The third U.S. tour in 1966 was the last tour The Beatles would ever make. It would take place under the controversy of John Lennon's quote that was taken out of context about The Beatles being "more popular than Jesus." On March 4, 1966 London's Evening Standard published an interview with John Lennon and his friend, journalist Maureen Cleave. In this interview was the following statement from John: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me." John had been reading extensively about religion at the time and it was a small part of a much larger article. In Britain it barely raised an eyebrow. But on July 29, 1966 the American magazine Datebook published an excerpt of an interview highlighting the "We're more popular than Jesus" quote out of context and used it as part of their cover story. The result was that radio stations in the South banned The Beatles music and sponsored rallies where parents and teens smashed Beatles records and made bonfires where they burned Beatles memorabilia. When they played in Memphis on August 13th, their first show in the south, John received death threats and the KKK picketed. Here they pass the time before the concert tuning up and practising.

George and Ringo change into their stage clothes for the performance in Memphis on Augst 13th, 1966.

Backstage at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA on August 16th, 1966 George tunes his guitar before the show.

The Beatles were scheduled to perform at Crosley Field in Cincinnati on Saturday, August 20, 1966. It was one of the shows on the tour that was scheduled at an outdoor baseball park. A few minutes before the first opening act took the stage it started to rain heavily. The stage was erected with a cnopy to protect the bands from rain but failed to do so, There was a real fear that one of The Beatles could be electrocuted. The Beatles were afraid that they'd be electrocuted when they plugged in their amps. Paul McCartney threw up from nervousness and the Beatles refused to perform. The promoter relented and the concert was postponed. In a very rare photograph John and Paul face each other while singing instead of facing the audience. Bob Bonis's photos from Crosley Field are the only known color photographs of this rare outdoor afternoon show.

After the rescheduled afternoon concert at Crosley Field The Beatles, the other acts and the entire entourage headed directly to Boone County Airport in Boone County, Kentucky for a quick flight to St. Louis, Missouri for the evening concert at Busch Memorial Stadium . It was the only time in all three of The Beatles US tours that they would play in two different cities on the same day. This tour took its toll on The Beatles and although no one spoke directly about it they all knew this would be their last tour.

Paul takes a drink on the plane en route to Busch memorial Stadium in St. Louis on August 21st, 1966. Although they still had a lot of enthusiasm for writing and recording the long and winding road of touring was coming to an end. Five concerts later they would perform their last-ever official live concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.