Sep 19, 2023 - Music

Greatest Cleveland concerts: No. 6 — Beatlemania

The Fab Four. Photo: Les Lee/Express/Getty Images

For a moment in 1964, Cleveland became the center of Beatlemania.

Why it matters: The Fab Four's concert on Sept. 15, 1964, at Public Hall sparked two days of fan frenzy unlike anything Northeast Ohio had ever seen.

Flashback: Following their groundbreaking appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February 1964, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr embarked on their first North American Tour that August.

Zoom in: The night before the Cleveland gig, fans broke through a police barricade outside the Sheraton Cleveland Hotel where The Beatles were staying.

  • More than 100 police officers were on hand for the concert at Public Hall the next day, using a riot bus as a decoy vehicle to get the band to the venue.

The intrigue: The Beatles opened with a cover of "Twist and Shout." The screams were so loud, you could barely hear the music.

  • During a performance of "All My Loving," a handful of fans pushed through the police line in front of the stage, stopping the show.

What they said: "This has never happened before, but it was clear to me from the start that there was something very wrong," Beatles manager Brian Epstein told reporters backstage.

  • "The enthusiasm of the crowd was building much too early."

The bottom line: The Beatles returned to the stage after 10 minutes, wrapping up a 12-song set with a cover of Little Richard's "Long Tong Sally."

  • The members then snuck out through Public Hall's rear exit while police sped away in the decoy riot bus.

Go deeper: 15 greatest concerts in Cleveland history


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