The nearest the Beatles ever came to Sabah, Malaysia

On 4th July 1966 the Beatles did 2 live concerts in Manila, the Philippines.

Unfortunately, what happened there snuffed out any hope of the world’s greatest ever group performing in Malaysia, or perhaps… even good old Sabah. The Beatles swore they’d never ever return – it was the most frightening moment in their entire career.

The incident described in more detail, and in the bandmembers’ own words, which includes accounts like:

They were literally kicked and jostled as they left their hotel and totally harassed all the way to the airport. Things were no better there where the airport manager has also removed all security for the Beatles. They went so far as to shut down the power to stop the escalators, forcing the boys to scale several flights of stairs with their own luggage, only to face an angry mob of 200 Filipinos brutally manhandling them! Ringo was literally floored by an uppercut and kicked on the ground. When they finally approached the plane, a large booing crowd jeered and mocked them chanting “Beatles Alis Dayan!” (Go Home Beatles!)

The following newsreport is off Saskatoon Star – Phoenix, originally published 8th July 1966.

Saskatoon Star-Phoenix (Associated Press) 8 July 1966

Sometime in 2011, 45 years after the event, Imelda Marcos herself gave her side of the story:

Being a big fan of The Beatles, I made representation with the Philippine promoter to invite them to lunch at Malacañang Palace so that I can personally welcome them to our country together with my family and friends who are also big fans. Honestly, I was disappointed with their non-appearance but later understood that there was a miscommunication and bore no grudges.

When I heard they were being manhandled at the airport on their departure, I immediately ran to the airport to have it stopped. I remember reprimanding the airport manager Mr. Willy Jurado.

I would never dream of hurting the world’s No. 1 band. Whatever motivated the people to treat them that way was not my doing. They could have done it out of sympathy and I think it was wrong. I abhor violence.

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