The First Beatles Concert, Jelly Beans and All

By KATHY MEGYERI

On Feb. 11, 1964, I was in Washington, D.C. and got tickets for the first Beatles concert in the U.S. I hadn’t even heard of them, I just wanted to see their opening act, the Righteous Brothers. Along with over 8,000 others, we braved over eight inches
of snow to get into the now defunct
Washington Coliseum.

 

When the mop-topped Brit boys
took to the stage, the screaming was
so loud some policemen plugged their
ears with bullets. The Beatles sang
crowd-pleasers like I Saw Her Standing
There, All My Loving, Please Please Me, She Loves You, and I Want to Hold Your Hand. Unfortunately, the crowd was so pleased, listening to the lyrics was impossible.

 

But even worse than the deafening screams, the adoring fans started pelting the Fab Four with Jelly Beans.

During a previous television interview, George Harrison, “the quiet Beatle,” told the host that Jelly Babies (the English version) were his favorite treat. Though the crazed girls meant it as an act of love and worship, the Beatles hated it because they feared damage
to their instruments and selves.

George would later tell a reporter:

That night we were absolutely pelted
by the f—–g things. They don’t have
soft Jelly Beans there, they have hard
Jelly Beans. To make matters worse…
they hit us from all sides. Imagine
waves of rock-hard little bullets raining
down on you from the sky. If Jelly
Beans traveling about 50 miles an hour
through the air hit you in the eye, you’re finished. You’re blind, aren’t you? … Every now and again, one would hit a string on my guitar and plonk off a bad note as I was trying to play.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jelly Bean shenanigans at Beatles concerts continued for a while but then fizzled out. Fortunately they didn’t stop the Beatles from becoming the greatest rock band of all time.

 

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