Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Fans Swoon for the Hairy Idols
Fans Swoon for the Hairy Idols
No writer listed
San Francisco Examiner
August 20, 1964
The Beatles hurriedly left town last night after giving 16,000 viewers exactly 29 minutes of their valuable time. It came to $3,013 per minute for a total of $90,000.
They left 13 schoolgirls so overcome that first aid was necessary.
Another reason for their hastp departure might have been suggested by a former Beatle fan who said, "I paid $6.50 for two hours of Beatles, and look what we got!"
Those f the Beatle backlash were probably in the minority among the 16,000 teenagers - and some wonderful adults -- who filled the Cow Palace to capacity for the first stop on the second American tour by the four rich youngsters from Liverpool, England.
They should properly be regarded as viewers, not listeners, because only rarely could the catchy songs known as the "Mersey Sound" be heard over the incredible noise of shrieking females.
Although it was publicized as music, all that was heard and seen of the Mersey Sound was something like a jet engine shrieking through a summer lightning storm because of yelling fans.
It had no mercy, and afterward everyone still capable of speech took note of a ringing in the ears which lasted for as long as the Beatles had played.
The eerie scene of four young men with shaggy hair-dos wiggling on the stage and moving their lips inaudibly was exaggerated by the flashes from a hundred cameras, like sheet lightning in the Midwest.
As expected, girls in the audience stood on their chairs, waved their hands, stamped their feet, burst into tears, shrieked words of love and tried, without much success, to mob the stage. "You can figure it this way," shouted a deputy sheriff witha smile on his weary face, "that's 16,000 kids who aren't out stealing hubcaps."
Jelly beans peppered the stage despite a pre-performance request from Ringo Starr, the drummer. "It's dangerous," he said, in the only serious statement of a shouting press conference.
A school psychologist who saw the show with his wife said he has observed many cases of mass hysteria. "This beats anything I've seen," he said.
Despite a volume of sound that overpowered, but a ratio of about 10 decibels to one, anything in the recent Republican National Convention in the same arena, every girl in the audience knew exactly which song was being sung.
Mary Murphy, 15, of 88 Lake Forest St. San Francisco, searched for the right words to describe her reaction. "It was traumatic," she said. "Spell it right."
It was the night of the Pied Piper, who came disguised as four boys in blue mohair suits with black knit ties, white shirts, leather boots and soup-bowl haircuts.
But when they pulled out of town, the Beatles showed little interest in taking the children along. The only consolation, as spoken by a Cow Palace custodian, is that the big barn's rats are probably dead today from high-frequency screaming.
The Beatles went to Las Vegas, their second stop on a five week tour of 24 cities in the United States and Canada. They hit Seattle tomorrow.
During a farcial press conference before the performance, a schoolgirl asked if they planned to stick together. "I don't' know," answered John Lennon, the ringleader, "We might get fed up."
Ringo Starr, who changed his named from Richard Starkey, was asked about marriage plans. "I'm supposed to get married every week," he said. "I never will. It (marriage) is a joke."
George Harrison said he hasn't yet seen a topless bathing suit. "I'm hoping," he said.
Should the Beatles help pay for their police protection? "We do," answered George, "We pay taxes."
Did Mayor John Shelley of San Francisco hurt their feelings by failing to offer the keys of the city? "We didn't know," answered Ringo, "So what?"
They were given, however, the keys to Los Gatos.
Other gifts included a message in hieroglyphics from three enterprising San Jose girls. It said, "Hail Beatles, Thou art great Among Thy Brethren."
The Cow Palace was nearly filled by 7pm, an hour before the scheduled time to start the performance. Instead of the Beatles, the first group was called the Bill Black Combo which was greeted by screams and applause. According to one fan this was only "because the Beatles were coming."
The other combos, including one called, necessarily, the Exciters, were heard before the penultimate moment the girls had been waiting for.
When the Beatles came on stage, the screaming continued without let up for 4 minutes, 45 seconds, and went on for the rest of their time on stage.
as soon as they left, the screaming stopped abruptly.
Next week: Armageddon