BEATLEMANIA at the Palace

Beatlemania (noun)

A high level of interest in the rock ‘n’ roll band, the Beatles, which came to popularity in the 1960’s

— Dictionary.com’s 21st Century Lexicon Copyright © 2003-2013

Andi Lothian

Beatlemania started – more or less – exactly 50 years ago this week. Who actually come up with the concept is difficult to say because there have been many pretenders. The leading contender is Andi Lothian, a former Scottish music promoter, who claims that he coined the term on 7th October 1963, while speaking to a reporter at a Beatles concert in the Caird Hall, Dundee.

According to some records the first printed appearance of “Beatlemania” was in the “Daily Mirror” on 15th October 1963. After seeing fan hysteria at a Beatles concert in Cheltenham the night before reporter Don Short wrote..“Beatlemania! It’s happening everywhere… even in sedate Cheltenham”

Don Short with Beatles

“I used the term Beatlemania and it got picked out as the headline, perfectly conveying the mayhem, hysteria, noise and adulation that engulfed the band wherever they went.”

DON SHORT – Reporter Daily Mirror

Unfortunately the Beatles weren’t anywhere near Cheltenham on the 14th October. After the excitement of headlining at the London Palladium on the 13th the band took the night off. They didn’t actually get to Cheltenham until the 1st November which means that the first appearance of “Beatlemania” in print wasn’t until the 2nd November 1963.

BEATLEMANIA!

Other claimants to “Beatlemania” include:-

Sandy Gardiner, a reporter with ‘The Ottawa Journal’ who on 9th November 1963 wrote…

A new disease is sweeping through Britain, Europe and the Far East… and doctors are powerless to stop it. The name of this new addition to the world is – BEATLEMANIA. Most of the victims have fallen prey to Beatlemania by desire…and the majority of them are teenagers…

Rex Makin, a Liverpool solicitor who once advised Brian Epstein on a contract with The Beatles.

On this day, 50 years ago the Beatles single “She Loves You” was still holding the No. 1 slot after 5 weeks in the U.K Top Ten and their album “Please, Please Me” was still at No 1after 22 weeks in the album charts. Of all their recordings “She Loves You” is the one that best captures the spirit of the early Beatles -the shaking of ‘moptop’ heads, the “yeah, yeah, yeahs” and the relentless screaming of ecstatic fans that marked the beginning of Beatlemania.

The Beatles sing “She Loves You” LIVE

It was universal. Wherever the Beatles appeared so did Beatlemania. When they played in America they often had to be taken to the venue in armoured trucks, such was the mayhem. Similar scenes took place across Europe, Australia and New Zealand. There were riots in the Philippines when they refused to play at a children’s party organised by the President’s wife Imelda Marcos. (Forgetting her manners Imelda had not informed the band that they were expected to attend… or else!)

For all its heady appeal Beatlemania didn’t really make it to St Margarets. There are no news reports of mounted policemen keeping weeping fans away from Crown Road or crush barriers being erected outside the Post Office. In St Margarets we were better than that. We got the lads themselves.

Twickenham Studios

In March 1964 the Beatles came to Twickenham Studios in St. Margs. to begin work on their first feature film “Hard Day’s Night”. The director, Richard Lester, had specifically chosen Twickenham Studios over larger studios like Shepperton because he felt that it would be quieter and more secure from fans. The Beatles liked it too. They returned in February 1965 for “Help” and again in January 1969 for the rather depressing documentary “Let It Be”. By then the Beatles were beginning to fall apart. The long hours of rehearsal and filming and the cold, cavernous interior of the studio were not conducive for either making music or being matey. On the 10th April the following year, 1970, the band broke up.

Beatle Fan

Perhaps we had the Beatles at their best, when they were still four lads from Liverpool, before the pressure dragged them down. They felt relaxed enough to drink in the St Margarets Hotel and normal enough to go shopping. They filmed in and around the Turks Head and Thornbury Playing Field in Isleworth for “Hard Day’s Night” and on Ailsa Avenue for “Help”. They once walked down my street. Allegedly. If only they had stopped. Ah. Beatlemania!

— from Martyn Day