Beatles 50 Years Ago

Fifty years ago on February 9, 1964 the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Their performance is a part of  music history.

Two years after the Sullivan performance, the Beatles came to Massachusetts. It was 1966 and I was fifteen years old…and I loved the Beatles (as I still do). I was living in a housing project above Glendale Park  in Everett. Three of my closest friends and I were able to get tickets to the August 18, 1966 Beatles’ concert at Suffolk Downs. I don’t remember much about that night, but the memories I do have are vivid. One of my friend’s father drove us to the racetrack in Revere/Boston. As you can image, the parking lot was total chaos. Young kids (like me) buzzed everywhere around the area.

     We pushed and shoved and got pushed and shoved until finally the four of us managed to make it up to the second floor of the grandstands. As expected there were no empty seats so we found some floor space where we would be able to watch the concert with  fair view.  The crowd just kept pouring into the park. The stream of kids seemed endless. But as dedicated Beatles fans we refuse to surrender our position regardless of how hard we were leaned on.   The air was electric.  Several “warm up” bands appeared and sang nondescript songs, to a crowd that had little interest. They must have felt like modern day Salieri’s to the brilliant Mozart. Finally, as “The Circle” played Red Rubber Ball, a convoy of limousines came flying down the dirt racetrack, turned sharply and parked behind the stage.

      It was them…it was the Beatles and everyone knew it. The place went wild. People scrambled from everywhere and raced toward the fence that separated the track from the crowd, my friends and I included.  When the Beatles came out on stage pandemonium reigned. Police Officers lined shoulder to shoulder in front of the stage creating  a barrier to prevent someone fro dashing to the band.

       I remember nothing of the concert except the sound of one continuous, ear-deafening scream.  The rest is a pleasant blur in my brain…

One Response to Beatles 50 Years Ago

  1. PaulM says:

    Tony: Thanks for the eye- and ear-witness account of The Beatles at Suffolk Downs. I was onto the band as soon as the songs hit the radio waves in early 1964, maybe even Dec. 1963, and was ready when they played on the Ed Sullivan Show. I could only wish to see them in concert, but there was a girl in my school, Ste Therese School in Dracut, who saw them, either at Boston Garden or Suffolk Downs. I will always remember Susan Peters, who was a couple of years ahead of me in school. It was astonishing to me that somebody I knew had obtained a ticket to a Beatles concert. She was a celebrity in my universe. I had a black loose-leaf binder that I made into a Beatles scrapbook. I pasted onto pages lots of news clippings from the Boston Record American, Sun, and music magazines. On the front I had glued a strip of paper with drawings of the four Beatles that I had got out of a plastic capsule in a gumball machine. Somewhere along the way the binder was lost, as were the pile of Beatles trading cards that I had (black-and-white and color sets, almost complete). Does it feel like 50 years ago? Yeah, yeah, yeah.