Beatles’ groundbreaking broadcast panned
LONDON ” Beamed around the world in a broadcasting landmark, a Beatles performance for the first live trans-Atlantic satellite transmission in 1967 was regarded as a defining cultural moment in Britain ” except by viewers.
Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr played to an estimated audience of 300 million who watched during the broadcast, which included contributions from across Europe and the United States.
Newly released documents revealed some viewers considered the Liverpool band unworthy of representing Britain in the show, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported Sunday.
The Beatles, who wrote “All You Need Is Love” for the broadcast, appeared alongside Maria Callas and Pablo Picasso on the “Our World” broadcast in June 1967. The program also featured footage of New Jersey; an Alberta, Canada, ranch; Tokyo’s subway network; and a tram yard in Melbourne, Australia.
A log of viewer comments to the British Broadcasting Corp. released under Freedom of Information laws shows Britain’s segment was heavily criticized.
“Have we nothing better to offer? Surely this isn’t the image of what we are like. What a dreadful impression they must have given the rest of the world,” one comment read, the newspaper reported.
Another viewer, impressed by contributions from elsewhere, said “after all the culture … shown by the other countries, the Beatles were the absolute dregs,” the newspaper claimed.
“We did not do ourselves justice,” another viewer commented.
Comments from viewers were not passed to the band’s management, the newspaper reported. Instead, the BBC told the Beatles their performance had been well-received.