The Beatles never decided to give up their tour officially. They played in San Francisco the last contract concert of their 1966 world tour and didn’t set any new dates. No announcement was made in public.
Ringo Starr told Mojo in a 2016 interview to promote Ron Howard’s documentary Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years: “The Beatles were never gone. And they could have come back.”
They returned, of course, to the stage at Apple Headquarters in Saville Row for one celebratory swansong, the Rooftop Concert. But in the last four years, as a band, The Beatles touring became more and more remote.
They stopped playing live for 4 main reasons: poor sound, fatigue, a lack of concern for their safety, and the development of their music. In their tumultuous 1966 World Tour, all three came to the fore.
4 Main Reasons Made The Beatles Stop Touring
1. Poor quality sound & organization of concerts
The first Beatles American tour in February 1964 featured two Television shows and two concerts: Washington and New York. Their comeback to the whole tour in August raised a desire for concert tickets that had never before been seen.
Local promoters have organized the largest available venues to meet this demand. The only auditoriums in most towns were stadiums that could physically accommodate tens of thousands of fans.
Sadly, the amplification technology was not yet ready for filling this vast space created significant problems in sound. The (distorted) tone in many cases was an auditory nightmare through the stadium PA system. This could also not deal with relentless shouting.
The Beatles depended on their puny amplifiers on stage. They couldn’t hear anyone else playing, practically. Just by watching the rear ends of his bandmates gyrating will Ringo Starr holds the rhythm.
In 2016 the soundtrack for the new documentary ‘Eight Days A Week’ was revamped by Giles Martin (the son of George). The tone is much different than the sound heard by fans at the time — or even by The Beatles. Like Paul McCartney,
“We couldn’t hear ourselves when we were live, as there was so much screaming going on.”
One choice was maybe to perform some smaller gigs at least — that’s what Paul McCartney did to Wings 10 years later. The Beatles were still caught up in their popularity even in the summer of 1963.
In August, a visit to the cavern revealed that the warmth of the club days could not be changed.
In 1966, the Beatles faced an implacable Beatlemania for nearly three years. Their initial success was interesting as they faced ‘I Want You To Hold Your Hand’ screaming night after night over the shouts of young fans.
Neither has it helped John Lennon ever rehearsed vigorously. Later, when Paul suggested daily practices to prepare for the Magical Mystery Tour, he would feel great shame.
“We are grown men!” Excellently, he declared.
The Beatles became more and more aware of their sloppy play — they were embarrassed, for example, by their celebrated performance in the Ed Sullivan Show. They realized, despite all adulation, they were a blank shadow of the band that had delighted the Star Club and the Cavern crowd.
Naturally, most of the girls who participated in Beatles concerts did not appreciate the subtleties of the music scene. Either way, it was decent enough what the band played. This indicates that the effort needed to change was little opportunity.
3. Concerns over Security
Following John’s statement “more famous than Jesus”, the band faced plenty of angry mass threats and demonstrations as this remark became well-established in the US.
As a result of this statement, when the band went on tour, The Beatles faced security issues.
While the band took part in the United States the last tour, there was an incident with firecrackers, where people threw firecrackers on the stage, the incident with a firecracker made the band decide for security reasons to avoid touring.
Live concerts may be unsafe because security was always chaotic. This sense of vulnerability was reinforced by a pretty horrible experience in the Philippines.
When The Beatles landed in the Philippines, the band shunned the appeal of Imelda Marcos. The result was that the band didn’t have room service, that the lifts weren’t working, and there were no taxis for the airport after their shows.
The Beatles had planned to avoid touring after the failed Philippines tour.
The Beatles played their last American tour concert on August 29, 1966 – it would be their final concert ever scheduled.
4. Development of music
Ultimately, they stopped performing for this main reason. Their music changed. Much of Revolver could not be performed live at the time. The Sgt. Peppers never had before recently.
The Beatles realized that their touring period had ended and their music demonstrated how effectively they could make music without touring days.