Sudden ending: On the road with The Beach Boys in 1968

By  David Beard

April: The band begins a package tour with Buffalo Springfield and The Strawberry Alarm Clock, which is canceled after four dates in the wake of the assassination of 39-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4.

Mike Love said, “It was a dramatic thing for me to be the only white kid in school and being exposed to racism in the late ’50s with all the race issues going on in that period. It culminated in Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination a decade later just when I got back from India. That whole issue was literally in my face; it’s kind of a strange thing… coming from a Beach Boys’ perspective. When I was leaving India and returning to go touring, Maharishi said, ‘You should stay here and become a teacher of TM and everything will be better after that.’ He didn’t say, ‘You must stay here,’ he said, ‘You should stay here.’ He was too subtle for me at that time.

“I flew back and (I think) the day before the tour opened we were sitting in Nashville and Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. Almost immediately more than half the shows were cancelled, because a lot of those cities were burning and the National Guard came out. We lost a lot of money. I was thinking to myself, ‘Had I stayed in India we would have rearranged the tour and not been right in the middle of that thing.’ His words were reinforced dramatically in a very macabre way.

5 – Municipal Auditorium, Nashville Tenn.
[cancelled due to King’s assassination in Memphis]
6 – East Carolina College, Greenville N.C.
6 – Dorton Arena, Raleigh N.C.
[rescheduled for 24th]
7 – Clemson University, Columbia S.C. [cancelled]
7 – University of North Carolina, Greensboro N.C. [cancelled]
7 – Township Auditorium, Columbia S.C. [all April shows w/Buffalo Springfield and The Strawberry Alarm Clock: this show added The Epics]
8 – Township Auditorium, Columbia S.C.
9 – Florida Southern College, Lakeland Fla.
9 – Orlando Sports Stadium, Orlando Fla.
 9 – Memorial Stadium, Daytona Fla.
10 – University of Florida, Gainesville Fla.
11 – Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta Ga.
11 – City Auditorium, Macon Ga. [cancelled]
12 – Jacksonville Coliseum, Jacksonville Fla.

May: Maharishi Tour
The band commence a second tour, this time with Maharishi. Poor attendances force the abandonment of the tour after seven dates.

3 – Washington Coliseum, Washington D.C.
3 – Civic Center, Baltimore Md.
4 – Singer Bowl, New York N.Y.
4 – Iona College, New Rochelle N.Y.
4 – The Spectrum, Philadelphia Pa.
5 – Bushnell Memorial, Hartford Conn.
5 – Providence RI [cancelled]
6 – Boston Gardens, Boston Mass. [canceled]
7 – Brandeis University, Waltham Mass. [canceled]
7 – New Haven Arena, New Haven Conn. [canceled]
7 – Quinnipac College, Hamden Conn. [canceled]
8 – Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo N.Y. [canceled]
9 – Mike Douglas TV show, Philadelphia Pa.
9 – Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio [canceled]
10 – Syracuse University, Syracuse N.Y. [canceled]
10 – LeMoyne College, Syracuse N.Y. [cancelled]
11 – Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland Ohio [canceled]
12 – Chicago University, Chicago Ill. [canceled]
13 – Capitol Theater, Madison Wis. [canceled]
14 – St. Paul’s Arena, St. Paul Minn. [canceled]
15 – Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Des Moines Iowa [canceled]
15 – Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City Mo. [canceled]
16 – Keil Auditorium, St. Louis Mo. [canceled]
17 – Merv Griffin TV Show, Los Angeles Calif.
17 – Denver Auditorium, Denver Colo. [canceled]
18 – Oakland Stadium, Oakland Calif. [canceled]
19 – Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Calif. [canceled]
19 – University Of Nevada, Las Vegas Nev. [canceled]
20 – Stanford University, Stanford Calif. [canceled]
21 – Sacramento State College, Sacramento Calif. [canceled]
21 – San Diego International Arena, San Diego Calif. [canceled]

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4 thoughts on “Sudden ending: On the road with The Beach Boys in 1968

  1. April 15, 1968 the Beach Boys played Austin Texas. Opening act was a local act: Lavender Hill Express. Then Strawberry Alarm Clock followed By Buffalo Springfield…..then the Beach Boys. Just wondered why it wasnt on the list of dates

  2. The model the Beach Boys used to present the message of the Maharishi predated a style still used by contemporary Christian artists. As the BBs were abandoning their Transcendental Meditation tour, Jesus Music groups, most emerging from the hippie movement, employed the same use-the-music-to-present-the-message approach.

    Love Song, probably the most successful (scored a #1 tune in the Philippines), was led by Chuck Girard who sang lead for Gary Usher’s Little Honda by the Hondells (

    Could it be that the Beach Boys’ Gospel According to TM concerts paved the way for how many groups still present the Gospel According to JC?

  3. There is at least one confirmed error in the tour timeline shown above. The tour went on for a couple of dates after the MLK assassination. The last scheduled date they played before the “MLK hiatus” was the afternoon of April 6, 1968 at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Racial unrest kept the tour from heading on to Raleigh (a 2-hr drive) to play again that evening. Most of the band members spent the night of April 6 in Greenville before going to Philly to play the Mike Douglas show on April 9. I believe they played several other dates in April 1968 that are not shown in the schedule, such as the April 15 concert in Austin, as mentioned in a prior comment.

  4. Correction to my comment above. The tour resumed their schedule on April 9, 1968 when they played at Daytona, FL.

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