The Beatles’ 1964 Visit to Florida Is the Subject Of The Next Florida Lecture Series Program

Mar 6, 2023

by FSC Staff

Legendary rock group The Beatles made history all over the world with their groundbreaking sound and style, but for nearly two weeks in 1964 the group made headlines in Florida.

That time frame is the subject of the next Florida Lecture Series as author Bob Kealing will present Good Day Sunshine State, How the Beatles Rocked Florida, at 7 p.m. on Thursday March 16 in Branscomb Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Kealing’s new work sheds light on this special time in Florida and music history. With dozens of new interviews and access to rare, primary source documents and letters from the Beatles and their entourage, Kealing examines their nearly two weeks spent in Florida during the watershed year, 1964. The Fab Four evolved from wide-eyed tourist newcomers, to young Rock and Roll Hall of Famers to be, and finally to outspoken advocates for equality who insisted on integration at their historic Gator Bowl concert on September 11, 1964. 

“We are extremely excited to welcome Bob Kealing back to our campus,” noted James M. Denham, director of FSC’s Lawton M. Chiles Center for Florida History. “From Gram Parsons, to Elvis, and now the Beatles, no one has done more to uncover the exciting music history of Florida in the 1960s and 1970s.” 

Kealing was an Edward R. Murrow and five-time Emmy award-winning reporter for WESH-TV in Orlando, and is the author of five books, including Elvis Ignited: The Rise of an Icon in Florida (2017) and Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock (2015).  Kealing currently serves as Public Information Officer for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

Founded in 2001, the Lawton M. Chiles, Jr., Center for Florida History strives to enhance the teaching, studying, and writing of Florida history. The center seeks to preserve the state’s past through cooperative efforts with historical societies, preservation groups, museums, public programs, media, and interested persons. This unique center, housed in the Sarah D. and L. Kirk McKay, Jr., Archives Center, is a source of continuing information created to increase appreciation for Florida history. 

Florida Lecture Series, produced by the Lawton M. Chiles Center for Florida History, is a forum that brings speakers to the Florida Southern College campus to explore Florida life and culture from a wide range of disciplines, including history, public affairs, law, sociology, criminology, anthropology, literature, and art. The overall objective of the series is to bring members of the community, the faculty, and the student body together to interact with and learn from leading scholars in their fields.