'Police racism' makes Beatles star Sir Paul McCartney 'sick and angry'

The surviving members of the Beatles have thrown their support behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sir Paul McCartney, 77, told his followers on social media how the legendary band took a stand against segregation on their first tour of the US in 1964.

"The Beatles were due to play Jacksonville in the US and we found out that it was going to be a segregated audience," the 'Hey Jude' songwriter said. 

"It felt wrong. We said 'We're not doing that!' And the concert we did do was to their first non-segregated audience. We then made sure this was in our contract. To us, it seemed like common sense." 

The Beatles were the hottest band in the world in 1964, and would have held considerable sway over concert promoters.

The Fab Four got their start playing hits written by black American artists such as Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and Little Richard.

Later in the tumultuous 1960s, black keyboardist Billy Preston would become the only outside musician ever to be credited alongside the Beatles on a release - 'Get Back' released under the credit 'The Beatles with Billy Preston'. 

"I feel sick and angry that here we are almost 60 years later and the world is in shock at the horrific scenes of the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of police racism, along with countless others that came before," said Sir Paul.

Drummer Ringo Starr - formally known as Sir Richard Starkey - backed up his old bandmate.

"As my brother Paul said The Beatles always stood for equal rights&justice and I've never stopped working for peace&love ever since [sic]," he wrote on Twitter. 

"I send my peace love&continuous support to everyone marching & speaking up for justice & a better world."

Other musicians who've backed the protesters include Fiona Apple, Gorillaz, Lorde, Jay Z and Killer Mike.