Today is April 10th and the 50th anniversary of The Beatles 2nd album being released in the US (which indecently was the third Beatles album sold in the US). Today we delve into The Beatles on stage.
-First stadium concert
Now modern fans of rock music may think it’s fairly standard for rock bands to play sold out stadiums, in some states in the US I’m sure there’s a show going on every 52 weeks of the year. But in the 1960s this was not so, and in 1965 The Beatles made music history for being the first to play to a stadium crowd, 55,600 people were in attendance when they played at the famed home ground of the New York Mets, Shea Stadium.
The Beatles had broken the mold, bands like Led Zeppelin, Green day, Queen and of course their contemporaries The Rolling Stones have a lot to thank The Beatles for. Artists from all kinds of genres might not be playing such large crowds at such lucrative venues if The Beatles had not set this precedent for live music (on the downside now Kanye West has to put up with ‘gold diggers’, poor Kanye. That said it also means he could afford that 15 carat engagement ring for that woman who is famous for some reason.)
In fact the ability to sell out large venues has now become industry standard for having ‘made it’ and achieving success. This not always being to benefit of musical performance, as while the experience and excitement of a stadium rock concert can be breathtaking, sometimes it’s hard to beat the intimacy of a performance in a smaller venue.
-First band to quit touring because they couldn’t hear themselves over the crowd
Have you ever heard a crowd of 55,600 people? Now imagine if the majority of that crowd were screaming from the top of their lungs, that would be pretty loud right?
Right from the get go Beatles performances were plagued with the sound of screaming fans, and while at the beginning this form of affirmation was flattering it was affecting how they played, they couldn’t hear themselves over the crowd! This wasn’t just in the US and the UK. All over the world they went on stage to an audience of screaming fans (all over the world bitches be crazy).
After the flattery had worn off (eventually) this problem started to become grating. Firstly as they found that as they couldn’t hear themselves play, they weren’t able to develop as musicians and performers (often times Ringo found himself playing a different song to the rest of the band), and secondly they weren’t enjoying it. This was because of the inability to improve mentioned above, as well as the craziness associated with being the biggest band in the world. One time in particular they had difficulty in the Philippines. Their hotel was attacked and they feared for their lives in Manila as it’s people were outraged. Why? The Beatles didn’t accept an invitation for tea with the first lady (look it up). This combined with the possibility that people in North America wanted to shoot Ringo with a sniper (of course it had to be poor old Ringo, who could shoot him? Just look at his puppy dog eyes), and some trouble with the bible belt (which will be mentioned in part 4).
Now you might be saying to me, ‘sure’, ‘i accept your statement that bitches be crazy and i get how this is a first’, ‘but how is this an innovation?’ To which I’ll reply ‘well my sexy friend, this fact in itself isn’t an innovation, but what resulted from it is.’ Now when bands perform live they have speakers pointing in their direction so that they can hear what is going on stage, an idea I’m sure was inspired by The Beatles and the trouble they had on stage.
Moral of the story, while bitches may be crazy they don’t try to kill you, crazy people do (especially ones that have read ‘Catcher In The Rye’) so don’t annoy the real crazies.
I’d like to leave you for this week with a clip from the famous concert in Shea Stadium in 1965, wherein The Beatles show off their ability on stage, all but perfect except for Paul McCartney forgetting the words near the end.