It's been 60 years since Beatlemania hit America. A Ventura County man had a front row seat
He was the only reporter to accompany the Beatles on their first tour of the United States.
This year marks a huge anniversary in American rock and roll history. It’s the 60th anniversary of Beatlemania hitting America. A Ventura County man not only had a front seat to the whole thing, he helped tell the story.
"It started with the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964. No one really knew about them," said Ivor Davis. At the time, he was a young British reporter based in Los Angeles focused on covering Hollywood news. He watched the broadcast like everyone else, not knowing that in a few weeks, he would literally be a part of the band's entourage.
"We couldn't go onto the internet to find out more about them," said Davis. But, after their appearance on the TV show, everyone in America knew about them.
Davis was assigned to not only cover the band, but to go with them to report on their first U.S. tour. He was the only reporter to make the entire trip.
The Ventura man admits he didn’t get the warmest of receptions from the band when he first met them in San Francisco, "They weren't crazy about me, I think mainly because they were jet-lagged." said Davis. "Once I became a part of the action, they kind of took me into the family."
Davis says the band’s popularity was so overwhelming that while they toured America, they really couldn’t see it. "The Beatles suddenly became prisoners in their own hotel," said Davis. "I kind of felt sympathy, because they couldn't do the things I could do. They couldn't go out, they couldn't walk down the Las Vegas Strip."
During the band’s tour, Davis not only documented the band’s adventures—he was the voice of one of its members. He helped George Harrison write a regular newspaper column for a British newspaper.
The only problem was during the first few weeks, Harrison stayed up so late and slept so late that Davis ended up having to ghostwrite the whole thing. Davis said one day Harrison finally read it, called it rubbish, and agreed to start working on it regularly.
Davis admits it’s hard to believe 60 years has passed. He says it’s amazing to see how the Beatles popularity has endured, and been passed along to new generations.
For the 60th anniversary of the Beatles visit to America, Davis did a new edition of his 2014 book, The Beatles and Me On Tour. There’s updated content and additional photos.
On Thursday night, Davis will talk about his experiences and the book in a special event at the Museum of Ventura County. It will be hosted by community leader and longtime publisher David Comden. It begins at 6:30 p.m., at the downtown Ventura museum.