How I Ran Away to England to Meet the Beatles and Got Rock and Roll Banned in Cleveland
(A True Story from 1964)
In 1964, with a stroke of the mayor’s pen, Cleveland forbade the Beatles from holding anyone’s hand and dampened the fire of the Rolling Stones: Cleveland banned rock and roll.
And it was all my fault.
When I was seven, my parents abandoned me, and I was taken in by my stern great aunt and kind great uncle. When I was sixteen, my uncle, the light of my life, died. I felt lost and lonely, and wanted nothing more than to feel happy and loved. The first time I heard the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” I knew the Beatles were the answer to my longing.
My best friend and I formed a secret plan to escape to London, and the day after the Beatles’ infamous concert at Cleveland’s Public Hall, we flew out on TWA. My fervor for the Beatles was so strong that I even passed up an invitation from Bill Wyman to go on tour with him and the Rolling Stones.
After twenty-three days, the police found us, and we learned that Scotland Yard—and the Beatles—had been searching for us. The American Consul put us on display at a press conference, then whisked us back to the airport and sent us home to face the music.
Fifty years later, I realized it was time to tell my story and provide a missing piece of rock and roll history.