The Beatles In Buffalo? It Almost Happened!

12:44 AM, Feb 7, 2012   |    comments
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Photo Courtesy AP

Buffalo, N.Y. - When the Beatles were planning to invade America 48 years ago this week, their tour was all based around three consecutive Sunday night appearances they were going to make on the Ed Sullivan show.

Their first would be on Sunday February 9th, then two days later they were scheduled to play a concert in Washington, D.C.

That left an open date for Monday, the 10th.

And that's where our story of "just imagine what if" begins.

At the time, WKBW Radio was one of the powerhouse of rock and roll stations in the whole country- its signal reached up and down the east coast.

And so the Beatles' management approached KB radio to see whether the station would be interested in bringing the Beatles to Buffalo to play at the old Aud.

Remember, this would have their first ever American concert, on the night after what turned out to be their record-setting appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

The Beatles asking price?? A guarantee of $3,500. That's right, $3,500!

Two of KB's top DJs at the time, Danny Neaverth and Joey Reynolds, would have been the promoters.

So, you would think it wouldn't have taken them very long at all for them to to say "yeah, yeah, yeah, "right?


Dan Neaverth: "We talked it over, and we're like wait a minute- a Monday in Buffalo even if it's after the Ed Sullivan show, who's going to come to a concert like that? And we thought it over and said that's too much of a risk. I mean $3,500 that's a lot of money for a group that's just getting started really.

Now had they offered us Friday or Saturday we would have taken a chance on that."

Scott Brown: "In February no less?"

Dan Neaverth: "Oh yeah, oh yeah, who's going to come out? it might snow!"

On February 9th, Danny and 73 million other people watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.

Beatlemania was born.

Overnight, kids all over America were giving "all their lovin'" to the Fab Four.

Now remember, their very next appearance could have been in Buffalo the very next night.

Scott Brown: "After you saw them on the Sullivan show that night did you say 'oh my God we've made huge mistake here'"?

Dan Neaverth: "I can honestly say even then when we watched that show I never really thought it was going to be that big a deal. I know the kids were going crazy at the Ed Sullivan show, but it just didn't seem like it would be that good a deal. And in the end, we looked like jerks! It wasn't our smartest monetary move ever."

And so instead of coming to Buffalo, the Beatles instead took a train to Washington, D.C. to play their first-ever concert in the states.

It was a sell-out in front of screaming teenagers.

The Beatles would go on to tour the states again in 1965 and 66.

Scott Brown: "After you missed out on the first opportunity did you ever try to bring them to Buffalo?"

Dan Neaverth: "No there was no way, at that point, a $3,500 guarantee? No way they wouldn't even consider something like that. But we did do something to semi make up for it- we did take contest winners to two different concerts, one in Pittsburgh and another in Toronto.

That was interesting because I never heard one note of their songs ever at either of the concerts because there was no way you could hear anything because of the screaming. Right now, Kodak's in trouble, but back then they were making a continuous amount of money on flashbulbs because there was a continuous flash from one end of the concert to the other, you couldn't see and you couldn't hear anything."

Today nearly 50 years later, Danny Neaverth, Buffalo broadcasting legend and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame admits that the decision to not bring the Beatles to Buffalo was not one of the most "fab" he's ever made.

Scott Brown: "When you've told people this story over the years what has been their universal reaction?"

Dan Neaverth: "Wow, the Beatles and you said no? (laughs) It almost puts me in an artificial sense of power  of "I said no to the Beatles!" It wasn't that at all, it was fear! That's all it was, a business decision and we certainly weren't very smart businessmen!"


















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