Yeah, Yeah, Yeah — Beatles play Las Vegas
August 24, 2014
Las Vegas Sun
Aug. 21, 1964
Hotel Sahara never went through anything like Wednesday night. It likely never will again, either.
It wasn’t a run of bad luck on the tables, or anything like that. But if the Viet Cong had laid siege to the hotel, it might have been more welcome.
The Beatles were ushered in through a back stairway, down dark hallways and into a freight elevator. Their 2,000 or so Las Vegas teen-aged fans screamed outside, inside and from the bowels of the hotel to the towering penthouse high above the Strip.
The determined kids infiltrated everywhere.
Actually, only a handful of youngsters saw their idols arrive at the hotel about 2:30 a.m. But the imaginations of a few created chaos for many. Barely two minutes went by that someone didn’t think he spied one of the mop heads. He or she would point to a dark hallway, a window or a men’s room and a scream would mount.
“Ringo-O-O.” would echo through the casino, down the lobby and shoot up the long elevator shaft. Or maybe “Georgie.” Or “Paul.” Or “Johnny.”
When the Beatles arrived at the hotel there were about 2,000 teen-agers waiting in the lobby. The youngsters were attired in slacks, suits, cocktail dresses, Bermuda shorts, capris and some of the males sported obvious Beatle haircuts.
“We want the Beatles, we want the Beatles, we want Ringo,” chanted the milling youths.
Sheriff’s deputies with a loudspeaker warned that anyone under 18 years of age would be arrested.
A clerk at the hotel registration desk said an unusual number of teen-agers had registered with their parents Tuesday.
A ring of security stood vigil around and throughout the hotel. The Beatles were whisked up to Suite 1722 high above the multitude. The doors of the freight elevator slid open and the heroes of the continents ambled out and toward their suite. Ringo carried a light jacket over his right shoulder. Paul McCartney wore a horizontally striped polo shirt and sunglasses. He hammed for the SUN photographer who was on hand only through a stroke of luck and the coming of nine security guards assigned to the floor. George had his hands in his pockets. John looked as if he were mulling over the plot for his next book.
All appeared tired.
Ringo entered the suite and went immediately to the television.
“How do you work this telly?” he asked the SUN. He fumbled with the knobs until he brought an old movie into view. He sat and watched.
Paul sprawled across one of the beds and sighed. When a photographer entered he got up and left the room.
George and John went directly to the other room to look for something to eat.
The Beatles’ manager presently cleared the suite of all intruders. Outside the room he dropped his lighter. He and a security guard both knelt to retrieve it. They bumped heads.
Somehow a small girl and her mother entered the floor and came to the door. A guard asked, “What room do you belong in?”
“Right here,” the girl replied.
Screams of teen-agers shattered the still early morning. Everywhere in the spacious hotel were clusters of kids, hoping to see their idols. Running groups went every direction, on every floor.
Ringo once stuck his famous head out of the door, apparently looking for someone. We asked him how he felt. “It’s a rough life,” he said.
Meanwhile, outside, the rough life of Ringo rocked the constitutions of hundreds of battle hardened sheriffs and city police. Charging gangs tried to enter the hotel. Police dogs patrolled the grounds. Some girls fainted, or pretended to.
Some strapping teen-age boys huddled excitedly. “I actually SAW them,” one said.
A young woman was stopped by a stern security guard. He asked, “Are you staying at the hotel?”
“No,” she said. “I’m trying to get out.”
A group of pretty girls rushed up to the SUN photographer and reporter. They offered “any price” for their press cards.
The lobby was packed. Someone kept paging the Beatles by name. Near the souvenir counter, three girls lay on the floor, exhausted.