MSN Music Blog - Reverb

Unfinished business: The Beatles' rider from 1965

A year after the Civil Rights Act passed the band demanded equality for fans

By Mark C. Brown Jan 4, 2013 12:39PM

Beatles '65



The year 2012 was packed with so much music news we didn't get to all of it, so watch for some catch-up in early 2013. Today's recap: The Beatles' 1965 tour rider.

The Smoking Gun website has the entirety of the four-page list of demands -- modest by today's standards. Dressing rooms? A fence to keep fans from rushing the stage from behind? Cots? What primadonnas those four were!

The fascinating thing is demand #5.

Beatles riderRemember, this is 1965 -- mere months after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, and the band was demanding that all promoters extend racial equality to all the band's fans. Say whatever you want about the way the '60s are remembered through rose-colored glasses. Some people were walking the walk.


Jan 5, 2013 11:01AM
This is what makes The Beatles cultural icons
Jan 5, 2013 9:14AM
This should come as no surprise since most of the English acts of the early 1960s were heavily influenced by American R&B musicians, most of whom were black.  Musicians have always led the revolution for equality, whether it be racial or sexual preference, because for decades most musicians were marginalized and shunted to the sidelines as second-rate citizens.  The real story here is the brevity of the contract rider for The Beatles, which makes today's contract riders for big name rock/pop acts seem simplistic by comparison.
Jan 5, 2013 6:06AM
The Beatles were a class act for many reasons.  I'm glad I was part of the 60's and the changes that came about in some unconventional ways.
Love the Beatles, and what they stood for!
Children of God are of all colors & races. It is up to us to accept this. 
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