Beatlemania: 52 True Stories About The Craziest Fans That Ever Lived
Written by Jacob Shelton
The Beatles' "Love Me Do" was released in 1962; the following year saw the release of "Please Please Me," "From Me To You," "She Loves You," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Roll Over Beethoven," and "I Saw Her Standing There." That's a lot of legendary, high-charting, airwave-ruling singles within a short amount of time. The Beatles, in essence, took the world by surprise, rising to dominance almost immediately, seeming to turn the world upside down in the process -- it's no wonder their fans developed something like a religious fervor for these four Liverpool lads called "Beatlemania."
For Starters, Beatlemania Was So Much Like A Cult That Some People Forced Themselves To Scream...
"Beatlemania" -- it's a simple term, a description of a madness for the Beatles, that highly influential rock group from Liverpool, England. The Beatles inspired fans, sure, but did they truly inspire "mania"? Hysteria, infatuation, obsession -- are these really fair terms to describe listeners' affection for the Fab Four?
In an interview with The Guardian, one Beatlemaniac compared the screaming that was a must at every Beatles concert to being in a cult.
"I didn't understand why you had to scream and I didn't have an impulse to scream but it was what you did," she said. "It was mandatory. There was this cult-like element to it."
Consider the true stories of Beatlemaniacs going to extraordinary lengths to get a piece of John, Paul, George and Ringo -- a lock of their hair, an item of clothing, a discarded cigarette butt. The truth is, something got into the heads of these young people, some rare herd mentality that made them stalk, steal, hide, surround, and -- for the teenage girls above all -- scream like frightened hyenas at the sight of these mop-topped messiahs. It all seems like an exaggeration today, but it was very real.
Beatlemania made the youth of the world (and the U.S. in particular) into mobs -- not exactly angry mobs, but if you saw them coming you'd get out of the way. If they thought The Beatles were in a car, they'd make sure that car wasn't going anywhere. If they thought the Beatles were staying in a hotel, they'd knock on the door to every room in the hopes of meeting their rock 'n roll gods. The true stories can be shocking, funny, or both -- Beatlemaniacs crept through sewers, swam across ponds, and yes, even came in through the bathroom window, fueled by that desire for connection with the sublime.
In the New Testament, a woman is healed by touching the hem of Jesus's garment -- who knows what the Beatlemaniacs might have expected to get from a feel of those famous suits worn by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr? Maybe it was something better -- after all, as John Lennon observed, the Beatles by 1966, the apex of Beatlemania, were "more popular than Jesus." It was a statement that outraged conservative folks as blasphemous, it almost killed Beatlemania itself -- and above all it was 100% true. Here's a look at the various ways in which certain parts of humanity lost certain parts of their minds, all over a four-piece rock band from northern England.
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