Eight Days A Week: 5 Great Things About Ron Howard’s Documentary

By |2022-01-07T12:05:44-08:00September 26, 2016|1963, 1964, 1965, Beatle History, Beatlemania, concert, Live, Movies, Uncategorized|

Getting ready to perform, during the suit-and-tie era. Ron Howard's Eight Days A Week documentary of the Beatles' touring years is excellent. Not perfect, not a definitive look at the totality of the Beatles' career, but very good at doing what it sets out to do. Howard does shy away from the unseemly elements of the Beatles' life on the road, most obviously the rampant sex. But if you're in search for some nightly fling, then you can try sites such as uberhorny. And he doesn't delve into the disenchantment that Lennon and Harrison later expressed about the experience of [...]

The Beatles and the Boomers: The Childhood They Gave Us

By |2016-03-10T08:10:16-08:00March 9, 2016|1960s, Beatlemania|

I really don’t remember when I first saw the Beatles.  I have no memory of a ‘before’ and ‘after.'   I think I must have issued from the womb with them firmly attached, like a birthmark. I’m a first-generation Beatles’ fan, born in 1956, which makes me a younger cohort of the boomer generation.   According to Sociologist and Beatle Expert Candy Leonard, “screaming teenage girls got a lot of attention in 1964 and they're the ones immortalized in the black and white footage, but the largest number of first-generation Beatle fans were actually boys and girls between five and 10 years old [...]

Explaining Beatlemania via Sex At Dawn

By |2016-02-07T13:35:26-08:00February 7, 2016|Beatlemania|

Nope, nothing sexual going on here. Commenter @King Kevin asked me yesterday whether I'd read the book Sex At Dawn, a fascinating and controversial attempt to explain contemporary human sexual behavior via “anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality.” One of the book's primary contentions is that human females are as randy as males, if not more so -- and it takes maximum effort and much selective vision on our society's part to make it seem otherwise. From the book: "And yet, despite repeated assurances that women aren't particularly sexual creatures, in cultures around the world men have gone to extraordinary [...]

“These Paper Bullets!”: The Fabs Meet the Bard

By |2016-01-18T21:58:42-08:00January 18, 2016|AHDN, alternate history, Beatle-inspired, Beatlemania, Beatles fiction, comedy|

For everyone who's wondered what might have happened if Shakespeare had met the Beatles, These Paper Bullets! delivers  "a modish rip-off of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing with a serious backbeat." I saw one of the last scheduled performances of the play, by New York's Atlantic Theater Company, and it was a delight. Despite a few wobbly bits, it stands on its own as a story—but it's also salted with plenty of in-jokes and references for Beatles fans. And the original songs, by Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, are outstanding. The play originated with the Yale Repertory Theatre, and its book was written by Rolin [...]

Why Those Screaming Beatlemania Girls Matter

By |2015-11-30T12:09:11-08:00November 30, 2015|Beatlemania, Beatles Criticism, books, pre-Beatles, Television|

Those videos of Beatlemania girls screaming have have always made me squirm. All that howling, weeping, and writhing bug me for multiple reasons. As a woman, they make me cringe because rock criticism defined itself against them: screeching gals over there, analytical guys over here. As a Beatles fan they make me wince because they (superficially) reinforce the argument made by many non-fans that the Beatles “were just a boy band.” At a time when Why-Can’t-The-Boomers-Just-Get-Over-The-Beatles-Already is a definite thing (see this Washington Post piece), it's worth asking: Really, why all that screaming? And why should any of us post-Boomers care? Measured [...]

London researchers say Beatles not revolutionary

By |2015-05-09T18:06:57-07:00May 7, 2015|1964, Beatlemania, Beatles Criticism, Mark Lewisohn, pre-Beatles|

NANCY CARR * A study just issued by researchers at Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London asserts that the Beatles' success in mid-60s America was anything but revolutionary. According to Professor Armand Leroi, the paper's senior author, “They were good looking boys with great haircuts and British accents but as far as their music was concerned they weren’t anything new.” "Yeah-huh," as those of us raised in Texas sardonically respond to transparently idiotic statements (at least when we're trying to be polite). The researchers decided that the Beatles weren't up to anything new because chord progressions, lyrics, and beats in [...]

The Beatles in Pittsburgh, 1964

By |2014-09-15T11:59:05-07:00September 15, 2014|1964, Beatlemania|

The Beatles one and only visit to Pittsburgh came in 1964, at the height of Beatlemania. The Post-Gazette commemmorates both the concert and the phenomenon here. This is my favorite part. Three fans, holding a cake they hope to present to the group, are outside the arena waiting for the concert to begin: Speaking “British” was something the three teens who’d never ventured far from Weirton [West Virginia] had done quite often. Just a few weeks earlier, Sharon and Beverly had launched into the accents while attending the premiere of the Beatles’ new movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” in nearby Steubenville, Ohio. [...]

The Beatles as wicked-looking innovators

By |2016-02-07T19:42:18-08:00June 5, 2012|1963, Beatlemania|

Sometimes it’s good to go through the time tunnel and remember that once the Beatles were “the strangest group to ever hit the pop scene.” I was reminded of this when I happened across The Best of Boyfriend (ed. Melissa Hyland: Prion, 2008) in a bookstore. Boyfriend was a UK magazine for young women published from 1959 to 1966, and in addition to advice columns, clothing ads, and serial fiction, it featured stories and pictures of the latest musical groups. In early 1963 Boyfriend ran a spread on the Beatles, who had recently released “Please Please Me.” The anonymous writer sounds almost [...]

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