Paul McCartney Found This Aspect of America ‘Jaw-dropping’

Paul McCartney recently released a new book titled 1964: Eyes of the Storm, a collection of photographs he took that captured The Beatles’ first trip to America. There are many similarities between the U.K. and the U.S., such as the language and the fashion. However, there was one significant difference about the U.S. that McCartney was shocked by.

Paul McCartney said it was ‘jaw-dropping’ to see armed police in America

The Beatles first visited America in 1964 after topping the U.S. charts with “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. Their visit saw the rise of Beatlemania in the States and the British Invasion, which saw rock bands from the U.K. becoming more popular in the U.S. The fab four were thrilled to travel to the U.S., believing their new popularity across the pond meant they had achieved their dreams.

While adjusting to American culture wasn’t too difficult for The Beatles, a few aspects of America surprised them. In an interview with BBC One, Paul McCartney showed a picture he took in America of a cop riding next to him on a motorcycle. The photo focuses on the gun in his holster, which was something the singer-songwriter was not used to.

“We’re English guys and we’d never been to America,” McCartney explained. “I’ve got my camera. I’m taking pictures like a tourist. And we’re in the car and a motorcyclist escort pulls up right next to the window. Well, he’s got, like, his gun in a holster. And he’s on this cool motorbike. So, to me, it was jaw-dropping. So, I had to get that picture.”

Gun culture is very different in the U.K. than in the U.S. It’s not uncommon to see an armed officer in the U.K., but it’s significantly rare than in the U.S. Sometimes it does depend on the area as law enforcement in Northern Ireland are all armed, while in England only a few trained officers carry guns.

McCartney has only fond memories of his first visit to the U.S.

While seeing the armed officer was a culture shock, Paul McCartney has only fond memories of his initial visit to America. The fab four were excited to visit as so many of their musical influences, such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley, came from the U.S. They were also looking forward to seeing the screaming fans in the street, as this was validation that they had made it.

“It was great because we were kids from Liverpool. I look at it, I think we’re, like, early 20s when these are taken,” McCartney explained. “It was, like, such a thrill to be going to places like New York where all the music that we loved was coming from. Just seeing all the people in the streets, screaming and waving at us. It was like, ‘Wow!’ It was what we’d hoped for. It was what we were working for. We wanted fame.”

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