The musical and cultural impact of the Fab Four in Florida
In 1964, Beatlemania flooded the United States. The Beatles appeared live on the Ed Sullivan Show and embarked on their first tour of North America--and they spent more time in Florida than anywhere else. Good Day Sunshine State dives into this momentous time and place, exploring the band's seismic influence on the people and culture of the state.
Bob Kealing sets the historical stage for the band's arrival--a nation dazed after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and on the precipice of the Vietnam War; a heavily segregated, conservative South; and in Florida, recent events that included the Cuban Missile Crisis and the arrest and imprisonment of Martin Luther King Jr. in St. Augustine. Kealing documents the culture clashes and unexpected affinities that emerged as the British rockers drew crowds, grew from fluff story to the subject of continual news coverage, and basked in the devotion of a young and idealistic generation.
Through an abundance of letters, memorabilia, and interviews with journalists, fellow musicians, and fans, Kealing takes readers behind the scenes into the Beatles' time in locations such as Miami Beach, where they wrote new songs and met Muhammad Ali. In the tropical environs of Key West, John Lennon and Paul McCartney experienced milestone moments in their friendship. And the band dodged the path of Hurricane Dora to play at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, where they famously refused to perform until the city agreed to integrate the audience.
Kealing highlights the hopeful futures that the Beatles helped inspire, including stories of iconic rock-and-rollers such as Tom Petty who followed the band's lead in their own paths to stardom. This book offers a close look at an important part of the musical and cultural revolution that helped make the Fab Four a worldwide phenomenon.
Funding for this publication was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.