Beatlemania


Beatlemania was the intense fan frenzy directed towards the English rock band the Beatles in the 1960s. Their popularity started growing in the United Kingdom in late 1963. By the next year, their worldwide tours were characterised by intense levels of hysteria and high-pitched screaming by female fans, both at concerts and during the band’s travels. In February 1964, the Beatles arrived in the US, and their televised performances on The Ed Sullivan Show were viewed by approximately 73 million people. In addition to establishing the Beatles’ international stature, their arrival changed attitudes to popular music in the US, whose own Memphis-driven musical evolution had made it a global trend-setter. From 1964 to 1970, the Beatles had the top-selling US single one out of every six weeks, and the top-selling US album one out of every three weeks. In 1966, the frenzy became so much that they stopped touring and became a studio-only band. The use of the word ‘mania’ to describe fandom predates the Beatles by more than 100 years. It has continued to be used to describe the popularity of musical acts, as well as popularity of public figures and trends outside the music industry. In February 1964, Paul Johnson wrote in The New Statesman—in an article that the magazine now describes as its ‘most complained-about piece’—that the mania was a modern incarnation of female hysteria and that the wild fans at the Beatles’ concerts were ‘the least fortunate of their generation, the dull, the idle, the failures.’ A 1966 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology rejected this assertion. The researchers found that Beatles fans were not likelier to score higher on Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory‘s hysteria scale, nor were they unusually neurotic. Instead, they described Beatlemania as ‘the passing reaction of predominantly young adolescent females to group pressures of such a kind that meet their special emotional needs.’ … In the eleven weeks before the Beatles’ arrival in the US, the nation was in mourning, in fear, and in disbelief over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Many commentators suggest a link between Americans’ reactions to the Kennedy assassination and the Beatles’ arrival, often arguing that the Beatles reignited the sense of excitement and possibility that momentarily faded in the wake of the assassination.  …”
Wikipedia
Guardian – Beatlemania: ‘the screamers’ and other tales of fandom (Video)
The Atlantic – 1964: Beatlemania
YouTube: A taste of Beatlemania in the 1960s

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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