sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2012

Leeds nostalgia: Fifty years since the city screamed to the sounds of The Beatles

BEATLEMANIA: The crowds go wild for The Beatles.
Fifty years ago today, (Sept 29) one of the biggest singles of all time was released and just over a year later the band behind Love Me Do, The Beatles came to Leeds.

It was the first of several visits to the city, each of which gave countless teenage fans (mostly girls) the chance to scream their hearts out.
The fab four first performed at the Queen’s Hall in 1963, on the same bill as Acker Bilk.
They came again on June 5, 1963 and on that occasion, dozens of police were employed for crowd control.
In addition to throwing assorted items of underwear on stage, the mainly female crowd pelted the mop-tops with pounds of Jelly Babies, because Ringo Starr had recently expressed a liking for them.
Former policeman Alex Jones, who was on duty that night, recalled John Lennon was hit on the head by a cigarette lighter, which caused him to utter a swear word.
Although the group weren’t due to perform until 6pm, by 4pm a large crowd had gathered outside and whenever any of the band so much as walked past a window, the fans went wild.
The queue for tickets stretched all the way from The Odeon down to Vicar Lane and took around four hours to dissipate.
The Beatles also appeared at the Leeds Odeon on November 3, 1963 and October 22, 1964.
On the latter occasion, several fans had to be treated for shock and given first aid after being overcome with emotion.
The Beatles gave two performances on that day, again at The Odeon, each watched by around 2,500 people, most of them screaming at the tops of their lungs.
During one performance, six girls managed to break through the strong cordon of usherettes and attendants to climb over the organ and onto the stage. The first girl to push through got within inches of Paul McCartney before being dragged off stage and ejected. She lost her shoes in the struggle and was bruised.
Speaking afterwards, however, she was unapologetic and said: “I don’t care, I’d do the same again. After being thrown out, I went to the front of the cinema and a policeman let me back in.
John Clark, Odeon manager at the time, said he had never known an audience so determined to get on stage.
During the second performance, the cordon of ushers was reinforced with ambulance workers and as a result only one girl managed to break through.
When the Beatles appeared in 1963, the Yorkshire Evening Post carried a report which said fans screamed so loud it was virtually impossible to hear the band playing.
The report of November 4, 1963, reads: “For 27 ear-splitting minutes, I tried to listen to The Beatles during the first performance of their one-night stand at The Odeon.
“But as soon as the group appeared on stage it was mass hysteria from the 2,500 capacity audience. Even the powerful amplifiers could not pierce the non-stop screaming.”
It went on: “Constant appeals from members of the group for the audience to ‘shut up’ met with even more screaming.
“How well they sang is anybody’s guess.”
Apparently, the group’s last number, Twist and Shout, brought pandemonium as scores of girls rose from their seats and surged forward toward the stage. Usherettes were lost in a seething mass of waving arms and legs.
The report added: “It was as if the whole audience had been sprayed with an infectious screaming virus. Three minutes after the curtain fell, they were still yelling.”
However, comments on the event just days later, members of the band said it was nothing out of the ordinary.
John Lennon said: “The Leeds audience was no noisier than we have had anywhere else, apart from Glasgow.”
Drummer Ringo added: “We love the row fans make. Fortunately, the orchestra pit helps in many cases but some of the staff have to fight like mad to keep the fans off. They do a grand job and we appreciate it.”
Paul McCartney agreed: “Some people think it frightens us even. We will be frightened when the noise stops. We’ll begin to look at ourselves and ask, what’s wrong.”
Among some of the items thrown on stage were dozens of fluffy toy bears, some of which at least were kept by the band – John Lennon admitted to keeping some and taking them home for his son to play with.

Source: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

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