Many, if not most of us, missed experiencing Beatlemania, a new word created in 1964 after 73 million Americans watched the iconic Beatles on Ed Sullivan that historic Sunday night. Only those who actually were in the crowds of thousands either in the UK or when the band toured the US did you have a sense of the frenzy, hysteria, the band created.
True, most of the frenzy and chaos were among the girls and teenagers from 9 to 18 yrs. old. Most boys contained their excitement but were none the less "freaking out" on the inside. If you missed it, born a long time after, but read about and heard about, it is very difficult to fully comprehend it. The closest thing that resembles it would the chaos of a World Series win or Super Bowl win, on a smaller scale, a Jonas Brothers concert or Justin Bieber. But they really do all pale in comparison to the worldwide Beatlemania that began in 1964 and lasted until 1966, maybe 67. The frenzy was no doubt unnerving to the Beatles and it really did imprison them in so many ways. At first, they did like it, craved it. But even after a year of it, John was beginning to feel despair, the world was always watching their every move.
From fans, it was just a love. Everyone loved them for different reasons and when their first movie came out, A Hard Day's Night, getting into was at least an hour or more wait even after a month after its release. There second movie, Help!, followed a similar issue.
Beatlemania changed the youth of America and the UK first, then, the world. From new mod looking clothes, boots, fabrics, using certain words to the more dramatic and evident, men's long hair and sales of hair tonic decreased dramatically for men because The Beatles did not use it. Those who followed Elvis, the old rockers, did. The music was the game changer and it would create many issues within a family as time went on. For instance, kids who followed The Beatles and other British groups, felt it as the new wave, the Now Generation. They mimicked their idols in dress and hair (if their parents would allow it). They were on the cutting edge. Those that felt The Beatles were "girls" because of their long hair, hated their music and followed Elvis or the Beach Boys, were thought of as "the old way". So, even though 3 or 4 years might separate siblings in a family, it was a HUGE issue when it came to listening to music on the record player.
Beatlemania faced a lot of prejudice from anyone who did not buy into it. For the most part, it was the long hair on men that simply read as "revolutionary" or "feminine" by the establishment (those mostly 25 yrs and older at the time). They were from a different rock generation and had a problem with it. The manner of dress came later and by 1967, Levi jeans were accepted as a normal way to dress. Many employers would not hire you if you had long hair over the ears even into the 70s. Many firms expected you to wear a suit and tie to work at IBM etc. Men over 40 yrs. frequently wore hats whenever they went into the public.
Beatlemania was grabbed by many firms to promote their products from ice cream, combs, brushes, guitars, guitar amps, microphones, food, soda, games, cartoons on Saturday. Just having The Beatles' name on it or endorsing it meant profit! A person could not turn on a radio or news without some mention of The Beatles, even in Texas, a conservative state, pop radio played their songs consecutively many times and frequently for days when it hit. It was a media frenzy, far greater than Elvis had. What had happened in the UK in 1963, now happened in the USA on a huge scale. Even Elvis conceded his throne, The King of Rock, to them. It seemed they really were more popular than Jesus.
Now, the best way to experience it is to watch on YouTube, The Beatles at Shea Stadium, August 1965, when 58,000 fans simply showed their frenzy love for them. Their screams of admiration even drowned out their music. Many were taken to hospitals after collapsing. The fence was finally overrun and the police fought to keep them away.
Even today, it remains a testament to them and how they changed youth culture.
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