A contract for the Beatles’ 1965 concert at the Cow Palace in San Francisco reveals that the band had put in an anti-segregation clause: “Artists will not be required to perform before a segregated audience.”
Perhaps it was that phrase alone that increased the value of that contract which sold for $23,033 (£14,800) at a Los Angeles auction Tuesday. Original forecasters thought it would only take in 3-4 thousand.
The Beatles had taken this stand earlier, specifically in 1964 when they refused to play a planned segregated concert in Florida’s Gator Bowl. Ultimately the city backed down, and changed the policy for the concert.
At the time John Lennon was quoted as saying: “We never play to segregated audiences and we aren’t going to start now. I’d sooner lose our appearance money.”
Even though this clause gives insight to the temper of the times during the Civil Rights Movement era in the U.S., San Francisco would probably be the last city in America to spark worry on this front.
Here is a close-up of the Cow Palace contract, which was standard for all the Beatles’ U.S. shows: