Today The Beatles left the Philippines, but they did not have an easy time of it. The kerfluffle over their having supposedly snubbed the first family led to Brian Epstein being presented with an enormous tax bill, which he was told he would have to settle before they were allowed to leave the country. This little piece of extortion led to their taking a net loss on the visit, but Epstein was not inclined to argue the point, hoping just to get away in one piece.

A surreal scene at the airport ensued. Says The Beatles Bible:

At Manila International Airport, management and staff had been instructed to give no assistance to The Beatles’ party. Escalators stopped working as they approached them, forcing them to carry heavy amplifiers and instrument cases.

And that was just the beginning. According to Tony Barrow,

Filipino thugs, some in military uniform, closed in on our party from all sides. Guns were brandished and fired into the air, makeshift cudgels and coshes were waved in our faces…. There was no alternative but to run the gauntlet of the menacing mob. Brian Epstein was punched in the face and kicked in the groin. The roadies got the worst of it. Mal Evans was kicked in the ribs and tripped up but he staggered on across the tarmac towards the aircraft with blood streaming down one leg. We did our best to shield John, Paul, George and Ringo from direct blows.

It all makes for quite a vivid scene in my mental movie of The Beatles’ continuing adventures. They did eventually make it to their plane and, after a delay caused by some last-minute bureaucratic tomfoolery, into the air. Continues Barrow:

As soon as KLM flight 862 aircraft rose up from the runway at 4.45pm that afternoon our entire party broke into spontaneous applause.

Next stop: India.

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