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The Beatles in Florida in 1964: 'Good Day Sunshine State'

WUFT's Morning Edition host Glenn Richards speaks with retired broadcast journalist and author Bob Kealing about his latest book, G ood Day Sunshine State: How the Beatles Rocked Florida. Published in early March by University Press of Florida along with the Florida Humanities, it explores the musical and cultural impact of the Beatles visits to Florida in 1964. They spent two weeks in Florida in 1964: their second Ed Sullivan Show appearance was broadcast live from the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach in February and when they returned later for their North American concert tour, they visited Key West (just ahead of Hurricane Dora) and Jacksonville where they played an historic concert at the Gator Bowl in September, 1964. All of this Beatles history is interwoven with American history in 1963 and 1964: the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the looming threat of the Vietnam War, desegregation in the conservative South, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and more. Bob Kealing takes readers behind the scenes into the Beatles' time in Florida: not just the performances and photo-shoots, but also the profound musical and cultural impact they had on a generation of young people including future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers from North Central Florida. Interviewed for the book, former Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon described the area in and around Gainesville as a "cauldron of creativity" that included his brother Tom Leadon who was in Tom Petty's pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch, fellow former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, Stephen Stills, the Allman Brothers, Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and more.

The Matheson History Museum in Gainesville will be hosting a free Author Talk with Bob Kealing on Saturday, March 25th at 4:00 p.m. More information and registration (for in-person or via Zoom) at

Glenn Richards is Operations Coordinator and local host for Morning Edition on WUFT-FM. His background includes 30+ years of radio in South Florida as an air personality, promotion director, and morning show producer (WSHE, WZTA, & WFLC). His previous education includes a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the University of Miami where he was also general manager of WVUM-FM. Upon his arrival in Gainesville in 2006 to pursue a telecommunication master’s degree at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, he worked as an air personality at WRUF-FM (both Rock104 and Country 103.7 The Gator). One of Glenn’s passions is local music. Since 1990, he has produced and hosted local music programs in both South Florida and Gainesville, playing demos and independent releases from unsigned artists, many of whom went on to national prominence including: Marilyn Manson, Sister Hazel, For Squirrels, Matchbox 20, Saigon Kick, Mary Karlzen, Nil Lara, Hundred Waters, and more.