Fifty years ago today, The Beatles invaded New York City during their 1965 tour with a concert at Shea Stadium. The event turned out to be a milestone in pop culture as it marked the first ever major stadium concert.
With the attendance at 55,600, it was the largest Beatles concert up to that time in the band’s history. There was also a documentary made on the concert, which Ed Sullivan produced, that aired in the US in 1967.
“We knew this was more than a concert,” legendary radio personality Cousin Brucie, who served as announcer that evening, told Entertainment Weekly recently.
“This was a sociological experience. This was an amazing event, more than just the music. The music played almost a secondary role to what was going to happen at that particular moment in time.”
Linda Marotte, who was 11 at the time and came to the stadium with her mother from Staten Island, recalled the excitement of the crowd to the New York Daily News recently.
“Girls were fainting all around us,” she said. “I was very alarmed at that. Why are they fainting? They’re going to miss the show.”
The Beatles played 12 songs during their half hour set at Shea — which at the time was the home field for the New York Mets and New York Jets (in their American Football League days). Tickets that night ranged from $US4.50 to $US5.75.
Done at the height of Beatlemania in the US, the success of the concert led to promoters booking huge stadium venues for the biggest acts in the world, which still goes on to this day.
The Beatles also realised the importance of the concert. A decade later John Lennon famously said, “I saw the top of the mountain when we were at Shea.”
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