On this day in 1966, August 12, the Beatles arrived in Chicago to begin their last tour, a seventeen-day gig in the United States and Canada. At a press conference that afternoon, John Lennon explained his six-month-old quote about the Beatles being "more popular than Jesus Christ now," which went unnoticed in Great Britain but aroused a wave of hateful anti-Beatles hysteria throughout the American Bible Belt. "I'm not anti-God or anti-Christ or anti-religion," Lennon insisted. "I wasn't knocking it. I wasn't saying we were greater or better."
The tour went ahead as planned and, apart from a firecracker exploding in the sudience at a Memphis concert, went without a hitch.