What were the major symptoms of Beatlemania?
Fainting? Yes. Screaming? Of course. Crying? Definitely.
This Huffington Post story is typical: "11 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Beatles, Even If You're A Superfan"
And what fact tops the list?
"The Beatles concerts were said to smell heavily of urine due to overexcited girls," the story said.
What? Says who?
"Multiple people have claimed Beatles shows were known for their urine," the HuffPo claims. "Notably, John B. Lynn, son of the owner of a venue the Beatles played, told the Washington Post that the concert hall smelled like the pee of overexcited girls after the show."
There’s more. The story says, "Bob Geldof told Q Magazine in 2010:
" ‘The Beatles was a case of watching females in excelsis. It's the old cliché, but you couldn't hear them for all the screaming. I remember looking down at the cinema floor and seeing these rivulets of piss in the aisles. The girls were literally pissing themselves with excitement. So what I associate most with the Beatles is the smell of girls’ urine.’ "
Could that possibly be true?
In the mid-60s, most Beatlemania fans were teens, way too young for Depends. And why wasn’t this mentioned in 1964, ’65 or 1966, when the Fab Four were touring the States? The press was hunting for anti-Beatles’ info. By 1966, it seemed like the whole world was PO’d at the Beatles. They were picketed and their records smashed, especially after John Lennon brashly said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.
I knew one woman who could set the historical record straight: Karen Grace. The St. Louis Superfan went to the Beatles concert at Busch Stadium August 21, 1966.
"My mom bought three tickets," Karen said. "I remember she thought the ticket prices were outrageous – $5.50 each. My brother Rob went with me, and Mom gave the third ticket to a neighbor girl. Now she wishes she’d gone.
"I remember we had to go past the protestors who were picketing the stadium, and the weather was warm and drizzly."
Did you actually hear the music?
"I did, if I plugged my ears with my fingers to drown out the screaming. I’m sure if anyone took my photo they would have gotten the wrong impression. The Beatles were one of the first stadium concerts, and Busch Stadium wasn’t really set up to have lots of loudspeakers, but I could hear the music."
You're also the best Beatles expert I know, Karen. Did Busch Stadium smell like pee from all the excited teen girls?
"Not that I remember," she said. "It was warm and drizzly, so I'm sure we would have noticed it. Granted, we were outside, but my brother, Rob, who was nine at the time, would surely have said something if he saw or smelled any evidence of pee. In fact, he would have made a big deal of it.
"I read this story, and I guess it could be true. Geldof was talking about a concert hall. But I think it’s an urban myth."
Thank you. I’m so relieved.