Man, there must be something in the water up in Canada. First, there’s news that a rare tape of the Fab’s Maple Leaf Gardens concert is up for auction, and now this. Those collectors really hold onto their stuff. What else do they have stored away in their attics, trunks, and clsoets?
While this is not the Beatles performing in concert, it is a press conference that has rarely been heard by the public, at least in the United States. I can hear the bootleggers minds turning. It would truly be awesome if this tape, like the Maple Leaf Gardens tape was liberated.
You could put together a deluxe tape of the concert and the press conference together, and really make a grand bootleg set. Hopefully, once the auction hits the kind soul who buys it can be persuaded to release the press conference. Those 1966 interviews are quite the pressure cookers. Nerves were high, they were high. It was mass hysteria. God, I’d love to hear it.
Here’s what we’ve read.
A former Spectator photographer’s failure more than four decades ago to sell a tape recording of a Beatles news conference in Toronto could land him in the money. Paul Hourigan, who went on to work as a photographer for The Spectator for 34 years, tried to sell the 13 1/2-minute tape to Hamilton’s radio stations and The Spectator in August 1966, but no one was interested.
He gave the tape to his wife Florence and it lay in a cigar box of memorabilia for decades.
The tape features the band talking about John Lennon’s statement that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, the Vietnam War and U.S. draft dodgers coming to Canada.
Hourigan, 63, went looking for the tape a few months ago when he read a story about someone trying to sell a bootleg recording of The Beatles’ concert at Maple Leaf Gardens on Aug. 17, 1966. It was one of the last concerts they staged before the band stopped touring.
EBay estimated the bootleg’s value at $20,000 to $30,000.
“I started to think, ‘Whoa, what have we got here?’ ” Hourigan said. “I’ve got a tape of the press conference.”
While Hourigan says he “would have died and gone to heaven” if he got $50 for the tape in ’66, he is now looking at a bonanza.
Bob Doidge, owner of Grant Avenue Studio, cleaned up the tapes for Hourigan and put them on a CD. He said the recordings could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
An auction house that specializes in rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia is checking out the tape and determining how rare it is. That may play a part in how soon Hourigan’s wife retires, he jokes.
“They could get back 25 inquiries saying, ‘I’ve got that (tape), too,’ ” said Hourigan, who retired last year.
“But if they don’t hear anything back, we could have an original. If so, she’ll be retiring sooner.”
The press conference at the King Edward Hotel was closed to freelancers, but Hourigan used chutzpah to get in.
He interviewed the most senior police officer he could find at the scene about dealing with screaming fans, he recalls, and then walked into the hotel.
An officer stopped him because he didn’t have the proper ID, but the senior officer waved him away and let Hourigan in.
Source: Guelph Mercury