CURT GUNTHER PHOTOGRAPHS THE BEATLES
If you were lucky enough to get tickets, it was the hottest tour of the summer of '64. It was the Beatles first American tour. Curt Gunther was there. He photographed the Beatles both on and offstage as they criss-crossed their way through the U.S. He shares his photos with us in the newly published book "Beatles '64: A Hard Days Night In America" (Doubleday Books).
Q - How did you hook up with the Beatles?
A - I met them the first time they arrived in San Francisco, and became friendly with their press agent Derek Taylor. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to go or not, because I didn't know how big these guys were. Nobody really knew, until I saw 5,000 people at San Francisco Airport which I couldn't believe. I weighed the question for at least 3 days before I decided to ask Mr. Taylor, 'Can I get on the charter flight?' He said, “I can't say that. I gotta ask Brian Epstein” (Beatles manager). Brian then said to Derek, 'O.K., let him come, but he's got to pay his own expenses'. And that's how that happened.
Q - Road manager Bob Bonis claims Brian Epstein charged members of the press
$1,000 a week for a seat on The Beatles plane. What else did you get for that
kind of money?
A - Nothing. I don't think Brian Epstein did that. I think Bob Bonis is wrong. He charged a flat fee of $2,500 for the flight, which was from coast to coast, and we had to pay for our own hotel rooms and food of course.