Music History Podcasts

The Beatles Invade New York! Memories of Beatlemania from the fans who helped create it

PODCAST: EPISODE 346 How Beatlemania both energized and paralyzed New York City in the mid 1960s as told by the women who screamed their hearts out and helped build a phenomenon.

Before BTS, before One Direction, before the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, before Menudo and the Jackson 5 — you had Paul, John, George and Ringo.

The Beatles were already an international phenomenon by February 9, 1964. when they first arrived at the newly named JFK Airport. During their visits to the city between 1964 and 1966, the Fab Four were seen by thousands of screaming fans and millions of television audiences in some of New York’s greatest landmarks.

And each time they came through here, the city — and America itself — was a little bit different. 

In this show, we present a little re-introduction to the Beatles and how New York City became a key component in the Beatlemania phenomenon, a part of their mythology — from the classic concert venues (Shea Stadium, Carnegie Hall) to the luxury hotels (The Plaza, The Warwick).

We’ll also be focusing on the post-Beatles career of John Lennon who truly fell in love with New York City in the 1970s. And we’ll visit that tragic moment in American history which united the world 40 years ago — on December 8, 1980

But we are not telling this story alone. Helping us tell this story are recollections from listeners, the women who were once the young fans of the Beatles here in New York, the women who helped built Beatlemania.

Listen today on your favorite podcast player:

A very big THANK YOU to the women who sent in recollections about their love of the Beatles in the 1960s.

CBS via Getty Images
New York Daily News
Galavanting around Central Park — sans George.
The Beatles at Carnegie Hall
Bob Dylan heading into the Delmonico Hotel to meet the Beatles
The Beatles at Shea Stadium/SUBAFILMS LTD
Image credit: Allan Tannenbaum, Getty Images

Historical clips used in this show:

Related to this week’s show

Featuring a ghost story related to the Dakota Apartments:


Diary of a Beatlemaniac by Patricia Gallo-Stenman
Can’t Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain and America by Jonathan Gould
John Lennon: The New York Years by Bob Gruen
The Search for John Lennon by Lesley-Ann Jones
The Walrus & The Elephants: John Lennon’s Years of Revolution by James A. Mitchell
The Beatles Are Here! by Penelope Rowlands
Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney by Howard Sounes
The Beatles: A Biography by Bob Spitz
John Lennon 1980: The Last Days of His Life by Kenneth Womack

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4 replies on “The Beatles Invade New York! Memories of Beatlemania from the fans who helped create it”

I remember when the Beatles came to New York
My ears were glued to WABC radio who got into the plaza Back in those days the 3 Top 40 radio stations in New York WINS, WABC, & WMCA were fighting to be the so called official Beatles station.WABC eventually won because WABC got interviews with the Beatles before the other stations did.

I wish I would have known about this podcast earlier to share my experience at the West Side Tennis Club the evening of the concert.
I was 12 years old. My father and stepmother somehow got reservations for dinner at the club that night. We did not belong to the club so I do not know how that happened. Murray the K (well known radio DJ) was dining at a large table with other guests. He graciously gave me an autograph scribbled on a photo card of himself.
The wait seemed tedious as the WSTC was the dressing room for the Beatles and I knew I might get an up close view. They flew in by helicopter and I stood outside with the others. It was not a large crowd. We cheered at them as they walked by. I remember my cousin reached out to George (we were that close) and he took his hand and motioned it as to push her away.
Our waiter got us autographs! But the best part was yet to come. The girls bathroom had a direct view into the Beatles dressing room. Secretly we sat there and watched! However I don’t think we saw much of anything from our view…there were many people in the Beatles room and I don’t recall seeing a Beatle.
I had tickets to the show so at some point I had to leave.
When The Beatles left for the show apparently several people, including my parents, went into the dressing room and came out with a makeup bag with makeup, personal photos (we enlarged one to see if it was Cynthia Lennon), Cigarette butts And assorted items that I don’t recall. I couldn’t believe it!!!!
*As an adult I can now say that was wrong…but as a Beatle fan experiencing Beatlemania…it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Oh the concert was great. Couldn’t hear anything and I was still high on what I just experienced at the WSTC.

CBS News claims they were the first to do stories on the Beatles during the fall of 1963, first on the CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace and three weeks later the story ran on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, reported by London correspondent Alexander Kendrick. Cronkite has said that immediately after he got off the air he got a phone call from Ed Sullivan asking for more information about the group. I suppose it is possible that Sullivan did see the group at Heathrow Airport and forgot about it until reminded by the story on the Evening News. Maybe Ed was lucky he didn’t get scooped by another show as had been with Elvis (by two other shows). For the record, screaming teenagers did not originate with the Beatles, over Elvis. Sinatra (then known as “Frankie”) did in the early 40’s. Even earlier, so did Crosby and Rudy Vallee.

I’m too young to have remembered Beatlemania, but I clearly remember John Lennon being killed in 1980. I was in high school at the time. The day after he had been shot, half the kids in school were wandering around in a daze, crying. The other half were asking who this John Lennon guy was that everyone was making such a fuss about…

The following weekend, our church youth group took a bus trip to NYC, mainly to see the Radio City Christmas show. After the show we had some free time, so a few of us walked uptown to the Dakota. There were hundreds of mourners there — so many that we couldn’t get close to the building. In fact, police were still around the crime scene. Street vendors were everywhere, hawking John Lennon t-shirts, pretzels, and even balloons.

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