Birth of Beatlemania - screaming fan

The Birth of Beatlemania: 60 Years

Where did Beatlemania come from? Is Beatlemania still alive? What is the legacy of Beatlemania?

8 min read

The phenomenon of Beatlemania screamed itself into existence 60 years ago in October 1963. Our brand-new video explores Beatlemania, with first-hand accounts of those frantic fanatical days. Uncover the accounts of Beryl Marsden, Freda Kelly, Bernadette Byrne, Dr Mike Brocken, Dr Kitty Oliver, and Skylar Moody.

In 1962 Bernadette Byrne, George Harrison’s then girlfriend and co-founder of The Beatles Story, was in a car with George being driven away from a gig at the Floral Hall in Southport. The car was being mobbed and chased by young fans, an experience described by Bernadette as “terrifying.” What she saw that night was the beginning of a phenomenon that would shape the next 60 years of pop culture, a phenomenon that was later coined “Beatlemania.”

For most of 1963 there had been reports of teenage girls screaming, crying and fainting with excitement at Beatles gigs. On 13th October 1963 this phenomenon was catapulted into the public eye when The Beatles played the popular ITV show “Sunday Night at the Palladium.” It would be this performance to a TV audience of 15 million viewers that would help define the word “Beatlemania.”

It was a scream. It didn't stop.
Beryl Marsden

Though the reviews for the performance were positive it wasn’t The Beatles’ performance that made headlines. It was, instead, the reactions of the audience, with their passionate screaming, that caught the attention of the press. The band were hardly even able to hear themselves under the constant screaming of the audience!

They were so excited of seeing them on stage, they just had to release the tension by screaming.
Freda Kelly

Eight days later on October 21st was the first documented use of the term “Beatlemania” when Daily Mail journalist Vincent Mulchrone wrote an article under the headline “This Beatlemania” in response to the performance at the London Palladium and the growing reports of screaming fans.

Andi Lothian, a Scottish concert promoter, maintains however that he coined the term at a Beatles performance on October 5th at the Glasgow Odeon. When asked by a reporter to explain what was happening at the gig as a group of girls rushed the stage he reportedly said “that’s Beatlemania.”

Whatever its origin the term was here to stay.