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  WDRC's Long John Wade
WDRC's Long John Wade

On September 26, 2000, Long John Wade replied to a series of questions about his Beatles tour.

Q: You told me Aaron Shepard went to New York for the Beatles first press conference. But your first involvement was on a whim-you thought you'd try to call their management company for some freebies. What happened?

Aaron Shepard and Ron Landry at Beatles Cocktail Party
The Beatles cocktail party at the Plaza Hotel in
New York; Aaron Shepard (center) and Ron Landry
(right) interview one of the Lads From Liverpool.

 
 

A: In the spring of '64 I was trying to track down interviews with the Beatles no matter who conducted them. Our listeners had shown us that they wanted to hear the voices of them as much as hearing their music, but the interviews we had gotten with them ourselves at the Plaza Hotel in February were getting stale being played over and over again. I contacted Beth Coleman in New York. She was the U.S. liaison for Brian Epstein. In conversing with her on the phone she said she'd be happy to ask Brian if any other interviews were available. I asked her then if I could have a ticket on the Beatles' plane for their summer U.S. tour. She said she could ask but their were no sure things. A month later she called back saying I could go on the tour.

Paul and John with WFUN's Larry Kane

Larry Kane with Paul McCartney
and John Lennon.

Q: So you landed a spot on their month-long American tour plane. Were other radio people on it as well?

A: The only 2 American radio people to take the whole tour were myself and WFUN (Miami) newsman, Larry Kane. On board also were two journalists from London newspapers. For part of the trip we had Art Schriber(sp?). I think he was from Cleveland, and from the same station, dj Jim Stagg. Those last two covered 50 per cent of the tour each. There were various other dj's who climbed on board the plane at the city just before their own so they could deplane in their own home towns for the publicity.

Q: Murray the K is often referred to as "the fifth Beatle," but you told me he wasn't on that 1964 tour.

A: Murray was not on the summer 64 tour.

Q: You said you had to "sell" DRC management on letting you go for a month - what convinced them?

A: The cost for going on the tour, for making hotel and transportation, and so forth was $5,000. I convinced WDRC management to resell my reports to other stations across the country which they did to 11 others.

Q: While you were touring, Don did your show. What was it like having a brother act on the air?

A: I don't remember what arrangements were made for my brother to do my show while I was on the tour, but that exposure got him the morning show when Ron Landry decided to leave.

Q: Do you remember your introduction to the Beatles? What was their reaction to your being there?

A: I don't remember my first introduction to the Beatles but I know they were suspicious. In February, Murray the K had attempted to bug their rooms and they distrusted all those connected to the media.

Long John Wade at WFIL

What's Doing 'Round Connecticut column - August 23, 1964

What's Doing 'Round Connecticut column - August 23, 1964

Q: Did you get backstage passes for every concert? What did you think of the bizarre crowd reactions?

A: We got news passes for each city which meant we could travel between back stage and audience at will. The crowd reaction was surprising at first...ear splitting, flash bulbs going off producing a gigantic light show, but after a few concerts with the same reactions from the same show each time I got used to it...sort of numbed.

Q: During the tour, did you get the feeling the boys were trapped in their hotels? Did they actually get to see any of the USA?

A: Yes, they were trapped in hotels, back stage, in police cars, and such. They did not get the chance to be tourists.

 
  WDRC Swinging Sixty Survey - March 17, 1964

Q: Do you think the Beatles and their entourage really grasped the fame that lay ahead? When did you realize their act would revolutionize pop music?

A: They had already got that supreme crowd reaction in Australia and other places including their 64 winter visit to the U.S. I think it took a lot more than just the Beatles to "revolutionize" pop music although you could say they were the leaders. I knew something was up in the spring of 64 when we had 24 singles by the Beatles on our top 60 survey.

For five weeks, starting March 17, 1964, The Big D Swinging 60 Survey listed The Beatles as the collective number 1 record!

 
 

After his return, Long John reflected on his impressions in the "What's Doing 'Round Connecticut" newspaper column to the right (October 4, 1964).

He was left with a special souvenir - a caricature drawn by Paul McCartney.

McCartney caricature of LJW

What's Doing 'Round Connecticut column - October 4, 1964  
  Larry Kane's "Ticket To Ride"

In September 2003, former WFUN Miami/WFIL Philadelphia newsman Larry Kane published a book about the 1964 and 1965 American Beatles tours. It contains several references to Long John Wade.

Ticket To Ride is available from Running Press books.

 
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