Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 15, 1965 (Sunday)

William A Shea Municipal Stadium (Shea Stadium), 126th St. & Roosevelt Ave.

Queens, NYC, USA

The Beatles' record-breaking first performance at New York's Shea Stadium was watched by 55,600 fans, and marked the beginning of the group's second full US concert tour.

The William A Shea Municipal Stadium, to give it its full name, was the home of the New York Mets baseball team. The stage was located on second base, far from the audience, which was confined to the stadium's spectator areas.

The concert at Shea Stadium set a world record for attendance figures, and also for gross revenue. The Beatles pocketed $160,000 of the $304,000 box office takings. The event was promoted by Sid Bernstein, and 2,000 security personnel were enlisted to handle crowd control.

The Beatles had hoped to land on the field by helicopter, but the idea was blocked by the New York City authorities. They travelled by limousine from the Warwick Hotel to a heliport, from where they were flown in a New York Airways Boeing Vertol 107-II helicopter, over New York City, to the roof of the World's Fair building in Queens. From there they boarded a Wells Fargo armoured van, where they were each given a Wells Fargo agent badge, and were driven to the stadium.

The journey, which involved a sightseeing opportunity over the skyscrapers of Manhattan, was filmed by Ed Sullivan's company Sullivan Productions, in association with NEMS Enterprises and Subafilms - owned by Brian Epstein and The Beatles. The concert was also filmed by 12 camera operators.

Other acts on the bill were, in order of appearance, Brenda Holloway and the King Curtis Band, Cannibal & The Headhunters, Sounds Incorporated, and the Young Rascals. The Beatles were introduced by Ed Sullivan.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, honoured by their country, decorated by their Queen, loved here in America, here are The Beatles!

The Beatles ran onto the field and took to the stage at 9.16pm, to a barrage of deafening screams. Despite new 100-watt amplifiers especially designed for the group by Vox, they were insufficiently loud and The Beatles instead used the in-house PA system.

Their set, which was retained throughout the US tour, comprised 12 songs: the group's truncated version of Twist and Shout, followed by She's a Woman, I Feel Find, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Ticket to Ride, Everybody's Trying to be my Baby, Can't Buy Me Love, Baby's In Black, Act Naturally, A Hard Day's Night, Help, and I'm Down. 

For Shea Stadium's spectacular finale John Lennon played the organ part for I'm Down using his elbows. After the concert The Beatles ran back to the Wells Fargo van and were swiftly taken away.

A 50-minute television special on the show, The Beatles At Shea Stadium, was screened for the first time at 8pm on March 1, 1966 on BBC 1 in the UK. Its US debut was from 7.30pm on 10 January 1967. The film began with the concert's closing song, I'm Down, and featured the other acts before The Beatles were introduced by Ed Sullivan.

She's A Woman and Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby were left out of the resulting programme. The sound was also extensively re-recorded, in a secret session which took place in London on January 5, 1966.

The Beatles returned to Shea Stadium during their final tour the following year, on August 23, 1966. 



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 14, 1965 (Saturday)

Studio 50, New York City, USA

The Beatles traveled to North America for the 3rd time, and their 2nd full concert tour, departing from London Airport with a lusty au revoir from one thousand fans at noon on August 13th, arriving in New York at 2:30 pm local time and setting up residence at the Warwick Hotel on Manhattan until the morning of the 17th.

Their first engagement - after the obligatory press conference, was the taping of an insert for The Ed Sullivan Show. The Beatles didn't perform any TV duties during their August/September 1964 tour and it was now 18 months since those three February 1964 top-rated spots on Sullivan's Sunday night variety series.

During this morning, the Beatles returned to the scene of their triumphant Sullivan debut, CBS-TV's Studio 50, located at Broadway and West 53rd St, rehearsing from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and then taping from 8:30 pm, also before an audience. They performed six songs live (the same six in same order that they had played on Blackpool Night Out a fortnight previously): "I Feel Fine", "I'm Down", "Act Naturally", "Ticket To Ride", "Yesterday" and "Help!". There was a clear break after "Act Naturally", the Beatles returning for the final three songs and a different stage setting.

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 13, 1965 (Friday)

The Beatles left England at midday to fly to America to begin their second tour of the United States.

Their flight from London Airport was seen off by 1,000 fans. The group arrived at New York's JFK Airport at 2.30pm local time, and were greeted by crowds of reporters and cameramen. The American fans, however, were unable to see The Beatles, as the police had ordered that their aeroplane to be parked two miles from the main terminal.

The Beatles were driven straight to the Warwick Hotel on 6th Avenue and 54th Street, where they stayed on until 17 August. They gave a press conference, directed by their press officer Tony Barrow, for around 250 reporters.

The group had the entire 33rd floor of the Warwick Hotel to themselves, with guards stationed on each entrance to keep out unwanted guests.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 12, 1965 (Thursday)

In UK Help! by The Beatles was in the top 5 hits.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 11, 1965 (Wednesday)

Beatles movie ""Help"" opens in NYC

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 10, 1965 (Tuesday)

The number one song on the UK Singles Chart on August 10, 1965 was Help!

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 9, 1965 (Monday)

Actual Contest - To see the Beatles at Shea Stadium (next week) on August 15th.....

Radio news - Since last week, WMCA in New York

has been giving away tickets to see the Beatles at

Shea Stadium on the nighttime Gary Stevens show

(7p-11p). Listeners have to guess which Beatle is

going to “talk to them” next on WMCA. A random

continuous-loop tape of either John, Paul, George or

Ringo will be played and if you guess, you and a

friend are in Shea Stadium to see the Fab Four Sunday night! Check out

WMCA’s goodguy smile!

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 8, 1965 (Sunday)

The Beatles enjoyed this Sunday off - 50 years

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 7, 1965 (Saturday)

These are the Billboard magazine Hot 100 number one hits of 1965. ... August 7, "I'm Henry VIII, I Am", Herman's Hermits. August 14, "I Got You Babe", Sonny & Cher. August 21. August 28. September 4, "Help!" The Beatles. September 11.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 6, 1965 (Friday)

The Beatles' fifth UK album, Help! was released on this day as Parlophone PMC 1255 (mono) and PCS 3071 (stereo).

Following the structure of the previous year's A Hard Day's Night the previous year, the first side of Help! featured seven songs from The Beatles' second feature film. The flip side contained another seven songs - including Paul McCartney's instant classic Yesterday - recorded over the same period.