Beatles Interview With Ivor Davis
Its been a long time since we have done done of
these interviews, but today we are back and with
the one and only Ivor Davis.
When you first heard you were going to
be with the beatles how did you feel?
It sounded like a nice assignment. Travel with them
on their private jet for five weeks—eat, sleep and
hangout with them. And write George Harrison’s column.
I had seen them on the Ed Sullivan show in Feb
1964 and they were a smash hit. But communications
around the world were not that big and I only knew
they were very popular in Europe.
If you were to describe all the beatles how would you?
They were very friendly with me—and I soon felt
part of their family.
John was provocative from the beginning—he liked to needle
you and kept calling me Ivan the Terrible. Paul was smooth
and would serve me a gin and tonic on the jet. George warmed
up-he was a bit sullen to start with but improved as he got to
know me. And Ringo was the new boy with the Beatles, and
didn’t have a lot to say for himself back then. But he became
the most popular Beatle by the end of the North American trip.
Who was the beatle you were closest to?
I should have been closest to George but wasn’t. He was the
least communicative of the four. John was funny, witty and had
a really wicked sense of humor. I enjoyed his unpredictable
company. He’d call me at 3 in the morning and say “we’re
playing Monopoly—come over.” And I’d walk to his suite for
middle of the night games of Monopoly.
Was there anything that shocked or surprised you about
the band in person?
Not really. They were remarkably sanguine considering it
was crazy bedlam at every show with girls screaming
from start to finish so I couldn’t hear them
sing—and neither could the Beatles.
What is something about the beatles that not
many people might know but you found out?
Ringo liked beans and toast for breakfast, so Neil Aspinall
their road manager brought canned English beans
along in his bag for Ringo. They liked to drink rum
and coca colas. Ughh. They liked beautiful young women.
But who didn’t. And beautiful young women loved them.
And the girls came flocking. None of the Beatles liked
soccer, which was odd considering they all came from a
soccer-crazy city like Liverpool. And I loved their sense
of humor. They were funny—and that sense of humor
kept them sane from all the madness swirling around
them. They were never swell headed, and they never
were mad about meeting all the celebrities who
wanted to hold their hands. Only Jayne Mansfield got
through, and they liked Bob Dylan and Joan Baez
(particularly John liked Joan) And they all wanted to
meet Elvis. And they did in the Summer of l965.
Would you say they were the best band in history?
Absolutely. Today, amazing as it may seem they are almost
more popular than they were back then. Beatle frenzy
continues unabated 50-odd years later. And I meet fans
from grandparents to kids. They are an evergreen
If you could go back, would you have done
First, I would have kept all the autographs I gave away to
friends. Then I would have bought a lot more of the
merchandising stuff—Beatle wigs and programs and
stored them in the attic. Then unpacked the box—and
become a very rich man peddling the memorabilia and
not worrying about social security. But who knew they would
last so long! Oh. Dammit.Yes. I wish I’d taken my
I-phone camera with me!!!
How long did it take to write your book?
About a year (but it was simmering in my skull for 50!) I was busy
covering other big stories and traveling all over the
world as a foreign correspondent for the London Daily
Express, and the Times of London—and one day I woke
up and thought, ‘why not write a book!”
Why should people buy your book and give it a read?
Because I was there. I witnessed first hand what came down.
I sat front row at every concert and saw the bedlam,
the craziness and Beatlemania unfold before my very
eyes. And 90 percent of Beatle authors never met all the
Beatles. What you read is what I saw—seasoned I hope
with some humor and an element of maturity.