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Lots of famous artists love touring Australia. Foo Fighters. P!nk. Coldplay. The Beatles, though? Not so much. 

On June 18th, 1964, almost 60 years ago, the Liverpool legends performed in Sydney for the very first time.

Things got off to a good start as they were greeted by over 1,000 fans at the airport, safely escorted through the mayhem by 300 police officers. They were taken to plush suites at the Sheraton Hotel, and held a positive press conference for Aussie reporters.

So far, so good. The trouble started at the first of the band’s six shows. After fans incessantly threw candy at the stage (the result of a misinterpreted interview comment made by George Harrison the year before), Paul McCartney was forced to stop their performance twice in order to ask the audience to refrain from throwing things. He was ignored both times as more candy hailed down upon the foursome.

As it was McCartney’s 22nd birthday that day, the band retreated back to the Sheraton for a party, were 17 girls who had won a Daily Mirror competition, “Why I would like to be a guest at a Beatle’s birthday party”, were reportedly there.

Their Aussie ordeal led Harrison to call the Sydney shows “the biggest drag of all time.”

Over the weekend, Twitter account Australian Kitsch posted a letter the guitarist sent from the Sheraton Hotel to his parents back home in England.

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“We have been and played at the stadium here in Sydney, and it was the biggest drag of all time.” he wrote disdainfully. “The stage revolves once every 3 minutes, and we have to walk down he aisle to get on the stage.”

Harrison added that he felt compelled to punch a policeman because “he was shoving me like mad.” You can read his full letter – if you can decipher his scrawled handwriting – below.

“The biggest drag of all time”: George Harrison on The Beatles’ Sydney concerts, 18-20 June 1964
(from ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World’, 2011) #beatles #georgeharrison #thebeatles pic.twitter.com/6eR7db66Ib

— australian kitsch 🦘 (@OzKitsch) June 17, 2023

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