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Teen Mania of Swooning, Screaming, Fainting, is Contagious

Updated on June 26, 2012
Beatlmania
Beatlmania
Beatlemania
Beatlemania
More Beatlemania
More Beatlemania
Beatles 1965
Beatles 1965
Elvis 1956
Elvis 1956
Franz Liszt 1843
Franz Liszt 1843
Backstreet boys 1997
Backstreet boys 1997
Justine Bieber 2011
Justine Bieber 2011

Beatlemania, Biebermania, Lisztomania, Elvis fever, Sinatra fever, all have a few things in common: uncontrollable screaming, swooning, panic, fainting or a mesmerized state or coma. It is a phenomena that mostly impacts girls from 9 to 18 yrs. old, at certain times in musical history. Now, why is that? Why are not boys infected?

The earliest noted "mania" began in 1841 in Berlin, Germany. By 1842, the pianist Franz Liszt, a young, good looking man, had Lisztomania follow him wherever he played. Admirers of Liszt would swarm over him, fighting over his handkerchiefs and gloves, wear portraits of him on brooches, and try to touch and get a snipping of his hair. They packed the concert halls he played in and newspapers mentioned some fans fainted. Wherever he played in Germany or France, the scenario repeated.

In the 1940s, this mania repeated with a young, Frank Sinatra. Any woman who was a teen at that time fell completely under his spell. Things took to chaos in 1956 when Elvis Presley followed the pattern and shook his hips. That sent the girls bezerk and he would be banned in some places or if on TV, the camera only show from the hips up. Unlike Liszt and Sinatra, where the teen pandemic remained in a controlled state, Elvis caused serious pandemonium many times. It fluctuated between a control and uncontrollable crowd. Fainting, screaming, and being aggressive from the teen girls was new, but at many Elvis' performances. Then, again, 1963, The Beatles in England, and then, 1964, in the USA and the world, The Beatles beatlemania reached pandemic proportions unseen before or since. When you have 58,000 mostly girls, ages 9-18, all screaming at the top of their lungs, the audio, or lack of, is historic. The shriek was constant, drowning out the music they came to hear. With so many teens fainting, several medical stations were set up. The Beatles at Shea Stadium is at the height of any fan mania.

There is more to come. In 1998, the Backstreet Boys recreated the Beatlemania, but on a much, much smaller scale. Now, there is Biebermania, for the 18 yr. old. Justin Bieber, infecting the same age groups and causing the same symptoms that Liszt did over a hundred years ago. Biebermania remains on a much smaller scale.

Neuroscience has found out why mostly girls fall victim to the fan mania. When the fan hears their favorite song, their brain releases dopamine, a drug that is released for pleasure and addiction. It is a rush, much like eating chocolate. This is what MRI scans revealed. The study showed that teens and their musical tastes form at this time and over time become solidified. So, once a fan, always a fan. As for boys, they are the same but less likely to become a "screaming fan" because they are more interested in sex and athletes. For girls, they fantasize being close to their cute, handsome, male idol.

It is odd, though, there have always been male fans for those mentioned, yet seldom do you see them screaming and fainting. They are more likely to buy a guitar and pretend they are Elvis or the Beatles. Now, Madonna, seldom evoked a fan mania like Elvis or Beatles, Lady Gaga is the same. I mean, you just do not see guys screaming at the top of their lungs and fainting.

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