Beatlemania in the 1960s

The Beatles were a mystical happening that many people still

don't underezd. Phenomenoligists had a ball in 1964 with

Beatlemania, a generally harmless form of madness which came from

Britain in 1963. The sole cause of Beatlemania is a quartet of young

Englishmen known as the Beatles. In the less than one year that they

achieved popularity in England to the time they came to America, The

Beatles achieved a popularity and following that is unprecedented in

the history of show business in England. They became the first

recording artists anywhere in the world to have a record become a

million-seller before it's release. They became the target of such

adoration by their fans that they had to cancel all one-night bookings

because of riots in early 1964. Beatlemania had reached unbelievable

proportions in England, it became a form of reverse lend-lease and

spread to the United States. Capitol records followed the Beatles'

single record with the release of an album, "Meet the Beatles," in

late January of 1964. That event was followed by the Beatles

themselves, who arrived in New York February 8, 1964 for three

appearances with Ed Sullivan. The first show was scheduled for Sunday,

February 9, the second was telecast from Miami a week later, and the

third pre-taped for an airing in March. These concerts were the most

watched television programs ever (70 million viewers) until recently.

The Beatles' arrival in the United States was presaged by a deluge of

advance publicity. Newsweek, Time, and Life have chronicled

Beatlemania, UPI, and the AP(Associated Press) had done their part for

the cause (including an AP wirephoto of J. Paul Getty sporting a

Beatle wig), and even Vogue shoved high fashion aside momentarily in

it's January, 1964 issue and carried a full-page photo of the group.

Baltimore's respected Evening Sun took notice of the coming of the

Beatles on it's editorial page at that time. Said the Sun: "The

Beatles are coming. Those four words are said to be enough to jelly

the spine of the most courageous police captain in Britain... Since,

in this case, the Beatles are coming to America, America had better

take thought as to how it will deal with the invasion... Indeed, a

restrained 'Beatles, go home,' might be just the thing." Precisely

how, when, and where Beatlemania got started nobody- not even their

late manager Brian Epstein(who died of a drug overdose in 1967) can

say for sure. The Beatles are a product of Liverpool, which had a

population of some 300 rock and roll bands( or "beat groups," as

Liverpudlians are wont to call them). The beat groups hawked their

musical wares in countless small cellar clubs, old stores and movie

houses, even in a converted church, nearly all of which are in

proximity to the Mersey River. Out of all these groups came, somehow,

the Beatles. And they had to go to Germany to do it. In order to

better their Liverpool take-home pay of around $15. per week apiece,

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo (so called

because of his penchant for wearing at least four rings) Starr took a

tramp steamer to Hamburg and a job which moved them up a bit

financially, if not in class. There, in a raucous and rowdy strip

joint, the Indra Club, the Beatles became the first entertainers to

play louder than the audience. There, too, they were "discovered" by

English promoter and talent agent, Brian Epstein, who has since become

deservedly known as "the fifth Beatle." Under Epstein's shrewd

guidance, the Beatles soon found themselves signing a contract with

Britain's giant Electric & Musical Industries, Ltd., the largest

recording organization in the world and major stockholder in Capitol

Records, Inc.; headlining concerts throughout Britain; and appearing

on television. Their first recording, "Love Me Do," was issued by

EMI's Parlophone label in October, 1962. It sold a respectable 100,000

copies, and it was the last time a Beatle single sold less than half

million copies. The first million-seller, "She Loves You," came out in

the spring of 1963. It was followed by two albums, "Please, Please Me"

and "With the Beatles." Both LP's sold over 300,000 copies.1 Then,

finally, came the unprecedented success of the newest single record,

"I Want to Hold Your Hand." In between there was three extended play (

a 45 r.p.m. disk containing four