Beatles: A Sound Analysis
By Glenna Syse
August 12, 1966
You have to see it to believe it, because it is not the kind of thing you believe by hearing.
These conclusions are not sociological, they are medical. When you plug 13,000 young female larynxes into the Beatles circuit, you produce a vibration that causes a disease called labyinthitis, which is an inflammation of the inner ear that sometimes results in loss of balance. It is an ailment that seems to affect only those over age 15, and this is why all the adults leaving the International Amphitheatre Friday seemed to be listing.
I am what is laughingly known as adult, and that is why I am writing this at an angle. If you have trouble reading it, rotate the page 35 degrees to the right.
In the interest of equilibrium, you should know this is a review of The Beatles who gave two concerts Friday at the International Amphitheatre.
It is called a very loud booking and whatever it was they said about Christianity, remember they said they were sorry and a whole brouhaha probably made it louder booking than usual.
In my member, it is the only event I have reported upon by using paper and pencil to ask questions. I wrote a note to a fireman. “How many firemen?” Over the din, he took my pencil and wrote “100 firemen.” I got my hot dog by pointing to it.
What did they sing? Well, it was all over and the diminuendo left only the sounds of a few sobs. I got my answer from three 14 year olds -- Kathy, Sue and Pat. They said the Beatles sang “Rock n Roll Music,” “She’s a woman,” “If I needed someone,” “Day Tripper,” “Babies in Black” [sic], “I Feel Fine,” “Yesterday, “ “I wanna be your man,” “Nowhere Man,” “Paperback Writer,” and “Long Tall Sally.” How they know is one of the miracles of the five senses.
Three shrewd young ladies they were, too. They expressed the belief that a concert such as this promotes record sales. Because if you can’t hear it, you go out and buy it and listen to it at home.
And one of the girls had a final say on John Lennon’s now notorious remarks.
“I am a minister’s daughter and I got to church three times a week and I love the Beatles. I think what they meant was they may be more popular than Jesus but they are not better than Jesus.”
Strictly as a production, the concert was rather haphazard, except in matters of security. Two hundred Andy Frain ushers were inside along with 100 firemen and 84 Burns detectives. They formed a solid line in front of the stage and countered hysteria by flashing lights into the anguished screaming faces.
The stage was far too small to accommodate the amplification apparently necessary for this 20th Century sound. It seems no one sings nowadays without being plugged into a machine.
There was a tense gap between the acts that preceded the headliners and the Beatles themselves. And the Beatles’ stage manager got very red in the face as he moved the amplifiers and machines around. Even when they were hooked up, they didn’t always work. In moments of adjustment, John Lennon did a little dance that created a response that must have been heard by all the cattle for blocks around.
The reaction of the Beatles’ appearance was tumultuous, a word that seems a total understatement. If this is what happens when the Beatles are banned, what do you suppose would happen if they were abolished?
What did they wear? Dark green costumes. By any stretch of the imagination, I do not think they could be called suits. They were double-breasted and padded at the lapels. They were tieless and shirts were lemon plaid, high in the collar and long in the cuff.
They did only half an hour of songs and some day someone will probably figure out that they decreased the British National debt a couple of hundred pounds sterling a moment.
They were preceded by the Remains, The Ronettes, the Cyrkle and Bobby Hebb – who presented a cheerful two hours of insanity before the main bout. One final note. Do the Beatles have a new sound? It’s a purely academic question.