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Interview: New book looks back at unique pair of Beatles concerts 50 years later

David Humphey's new book tells the story behind the Beatles' two 1964 Indianapolis concerts.
Butler Books - used by permission

David Humphrey says his new book, “All Those Years Ago: Fifty Years Later Beatles Fan Still Remember,” published by Butler Books and available from and about the Fab Four's two concerts at the Indianapolis State Fair in 1964, was written because of both his love of the Beatles and of history.

“I have always been a fan of the Beatles and am a history buff,” especially the history of rock and roll, he told Beatles Examiner. “I wrote the book since I felt the Beatles performances in Indianapolis are of great historic value. I am surprised that no one has written about these events in book form. I am very proud of it because it pays great tribute to the Beatles and their fans.”

The two shows took place on Sept. 3, 1964. What was really unique about them is that while they both took place at the Indianapolis State Fair and on the same day, they were in two different places. The 6 p.m. show took place in the coliseum, while the 9:30 p.m. show at the racetrack. The Bill Black Combo, Jackie DeShannon, the Exciters and Clarence “Frogman” Henry came on before the Beatles. According to Mark Lewisohn's “The Beatles Live,” the two shows were seen by 29,330 people and took in $85,232.

Humphrey witnessed one of the shows himself. “I did see the Beatles, but watched the grandstand show from the perimeter of the track. My two older sisters and a cousin of mine had tickets to the grandstand show,” he said. “Mom and dad took all of us to the fair that day and loved the Beatles themselves. I was only eight years old at the time but was still a fan of the Beatles, but not a Beatlemaniac like their teenage fans. I do remember Paul singing 'Things We Said Today.' That is my greatest memory other than the chaos at the fair that day.”

According to Chuck Gunderson's "Some Fun Tonight," the group stayed at the Speedway Motel in the city, which dealt with a wealth of phone calls, including a bomb threat that was reported to the police. During their stay, Gunderson says, Ringo Starr slipped away and went on a solo tour of the countryside accompanied by Indiana state troopers. The band in their limo was also given a drive on the Indy 500 race track.

Humphrey says he was able to get some neat historical mementos into the book. “The Indiana State Archives provided me with some very unique and cool documents, such as the Beatles dressing room requests and a receipt showing how much money they made from the two concerts.

“But the greatest part of the book are the interviews I conducted with fans who saw the Beatles at the '64 Indiana State Fair," he said. "The stories show the love that the fans had for their Beatles and still do to this day.”

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