At the time when Beatlemania hit America, there was furore seeping out of every corner of the States as four men from Liverpool rocked up and turned everything on its head. The U.S. government was less than impressed with the uproar that The Fab Four caused in every city they turned up in and even introduced a bill to reduce it from happening again.
Beatles fans across America were fearful that they would never get the chance to see their heroes in action ever again, and the bill would stop the band from playing live in the country. Government officials found themselves on the receiving end of abuse from countless angered teenage Beatles fans defending the right for John, Paul, George and Ringo to do their job.
However, the future of The Beatles returning to America was never actually in doubt. The rumours of their demise in the country were greatly exaggerated by the press, who realised that they could whip up hysteria using The Fab Four’s name. Following the advent of Beatlemania in 1963, there was no act bigger than The Beatles, not just in music, but in general. The following April, the U.S. Labor Department revealed that they had new rules for foreign entertainers, which made the press correlate it to the rise of The Fab Four.
Under the new rules, entertainers had to apply through Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The U.S. became more stringent with who could perform in the country, and only entertainers with unique talent could enter. The Labor Department declared they would evaluate all acts individually before letting them perform in the States.
Even though no ‘entertainer’ possessed a more ‘unique talent’ than The Beatles, and having them in America was a win from an economic sense, that didn’t stop the press from starting a frenzy by insinuating they’d never play again in the States.
Below is the handwritten letter that then fifteen-year-old fan Janice Blackwell wrote to the department pleading with them to have a change of heart. Letters like this show that The Beatles were like a religion to their fans worldwide and how they were much more than just a band.
1206 South Jackson
El Dorado, Arkansas
April 3, 1964
U.S. Labor Dept.
I can only hope and pray this letter will be read. I and three other girls were so upset we couldn’t go to school today because of an article in the paper saying the Beatles can not return to the U.S. until the government gives their approval. Maybe the didn’t follow the law of immigration clearance order, but you must all agree the teenagers of the U.S. want them back., It’s none of my business but they’ve just got to return soon, please.
I sincerly hope (I can’t spell. I’m very upset) you can give me some kind of reply to this letter. Please, if you can, answer if and when they will or won’t return.
Very truly yours,
P.S. This is no laughing matter to me or any other fan of the Beatles. Please reply a letter back to me. This is a business letter and should be treated as such, Mr. Willard Wirtz, sir or whoever is reading this. This letter I know is not in good form of any kind. But I feel terrible.
I’m 15 and I feel like 80.