Was this an early Beatle Death CLUE from 1966? I don't know, but it is an interesting story nonetheless because people did LINK the Beatle Burning with the lightning strike. There must have been a reason why.
KLUE held their ‘burn the Beatles’ campaign on the radio stations grounds on Friday evening August 12th.
On Saturday morning, August 13, Radio KLUE was taken off the air when a lightning bolt hit their transmission tower, knocking their news director unconscious and destroying much of their electronic equipment.
The radio station call letters were KLUE as in CLUE
The station was number 1280 on the AM dial. 1280 as in 12/80 or December 1980.
KLUE 1280 = CLUE December 1980, and of course John Lennon.
The Longview newspaper said:
"Phil Ransom, news director, was knocked unconscious when the lightning coursed into the (KLUE) building and was rushed to Good Shepherd Hospital … Ransom regained consciousness shortly afterward and was believed in good condition, although he was being held for observation Saturday evening." A KLUE spokesman said the lightning "caused extensive damage to radio equipment."
It was Phil Ransom who said a book by Lennon, “A Spaniard in the Works,” contains “anti-Christian comments that would make the godless Russian leaders blush.”
The newspaper story is reprinted below in its entirety:
Beatle Burning Has Lightning Climax
By Paul Schnitt – Independent Reporter.
They had a Beatle (paraphernalia) burning deep in the heart of Texas recently while I was visiting my parents in the old home town.
A local radio station in Longview, TX – KLUE – took the initiative after Beatle John Lennon shocked the world with his statement – misinterpreted or not – that the British rock ‘n roll group is more popular today than Jesus.
“There comes a time when a radio station must take a stand,” commented the disc jockey somberly over the radio.
KLUE took a stand, indeed.
“Never again would a Beatle record be played on this station,” he said.
KLUE sponsored the Beatle Burning right in its own front yard. The station is located a few miles out of town on a hill, in the middle of nowhere.
Someone estimated the crowd at over 4,000 but that was a true Texas exaggeration. There were about 1,500 people of all ages and inclinations.
The adults, and there were quite a few, seemed to take the ceremony most seriously. The teen-agers brought their Beatle paraphernalia – record albums, magazines, sheet music, photographs, sweatshirts - and marched to the site of the bonfire.
The radio station, however, provided most of the fuel, offering its entire collection of Beatle records.
Hardcore Beatle fans, willing to forgive and forget Lennon’s words, were on hand, too. So were many indifferent persons who just had nothing else to do that Friday night.
The station disc jockey who emceed the affair announced the burning was about to begin and the crowd gathered around the huge pile. The fire was started and everybody watched, some cheering, others booing while a local rock ‘n roll group played some music, conspicuously nothing recorded by the Beatles.
Newsmen roamed through the crowd shoving microphones into people’s faces asking opinions. Someone said he wished the Beatles were there so they could be thrown into the fire. One man said he’d be willing to give the group another chance since Lennon apologized.
I sort of wished I brought some marshmallows to roast. When it was all over there was nothing left of the Beatle paraphernalia but ashes.
There’s a sequel to the story.
The next day, Saturday, August 13, 1966, dark black clouds formed over the Longview area followed by a vicious thunderstorm. And, so help me John Lennon, the KLUE station was struck by lightning and the manager was knocked unconscious.
Yea, Yea, Yea…