Ozarks Life Vault: The time The Beatles visited the Ozarks

The Fab Four enjoyed some down time on a farm near Alton in 1964.
Published: Jun. 16, 2023 at 6:47 AM CDT
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OREGON COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - Earlier this week, Paul McCartney told the BBC, The Beatles would release a new song this year.

That got us thinking about the time the Fab Four made a stop in our area. They were hoping to enjoy some R&R from our Ozarks Life.

In the fall of 1964, the Beatles had a stretch of 32 concerts in 31 days. With a day off before their tour’s finale in New York City, the Fab Four needed “Help” - they needed a break.

In the early morning of September 19, the Beatles touched down in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, and took a trip north to a cattle farm outside of Alton, Missouri. The farm was owned by the charter airplane company’s boss, Reed Pigman.

There are just a few photos in a book by Curt Gunther of their time on the 12,000-acre cattle ranch. It was a “Good Day Sunshine” for The Beatles just wanted to “Act Naturally.”

John got cowboy hats and rode some horses. George got a “Ticket to Ride” on a go-kart. Paul and Ringo just wanted to fish in the properties pond.

Before long, word got out. The families who worked on the ranch made sure to “Come Together” with a plan and sent their teenagers to guard the gates and tell fans to “Get Back.”

It was like a scaled-down version of what Beatles concerts looked like with teenage girls screaming to get past the gates.

But the fence line and roads weren’t the only ways onto the ranch. Don and Judy Woods sneaked in a back way on the river with only “Mr. Moonlight” to lead them. After a “Hard Days Night” they made it to a window.

“(We) peeked into windows and they were playing cards,” Judy said. “We didn’t want create a problem. So we just looked at them and left.”

“Such long hair on a man,” Don said, “first long-haired man I’ve ever seen.”

The Beatles arrived at 3 a.m. Saturday morning and left around noon Sunday. “And In The End” 33 hours of “A Day In the Life” of an Ozarks Life for four of the most famous men ever known “Across the Universe”.

As for The Beatles new song, some believe it will be “Now and Then.” They tried to record that in 1995 when “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” was recorded. During those sessions, the story goes that George Harrison didn’t like the quality of John Lennon’s voice in the demo so it wasn’t finished.

Now AI will help strengthen John’s voice to finish the track.

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