Fifty years ago, the exact date tomorrow, the Beatles played at the Washington Coliseum (Uline Arena) in N.E. D.C. It was the first concert for the four mop tops from Liverpool, coming on the heels of their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
The show will be reenacted tomorrow at the same arena, which will be restored and redeveloped. A Beatles cover band, Beatlemania Now, will re-create the concert, minute by minute.
By landing in New York, the Beatles got the best media coverage they could. Back then, TV viewers had just three choices on the dial -- CBS, ABC, and NBC. (Anyone remember UHF?)
Shows like Sullivan’s could easily garner an audience of 50 million or more. On that famous night, 73 million gathered in their living rooms to watch them perform a couple of songs in The Big Apple. The figure set a record.
And yet, not everyone was buying into Beatlemania. We took a quick jaunt through The Washington Post and found these sentiments.
Columnist Bill Gold (“The District Line”) toed the line with a piece summed up by his saying:
“perhaps we can just dismiss the Beatles as much ado about nothing.”
Lawrecen Laurent (“Radio and Television”) carried the curmudgeon torch even farther:
“Those of us who are old enough to vote will simply have to endure one more monstrosity created by mass media.”
George Dixon (“Washington Scene”) was having none of the British invaders either.
“The Beatles are about as exciting an act as Fink’s Mules.”
Fifty years on, we’ll cut these guys some slack. The Beatles were a signal the United States was about to change in a big way. Apparently, only those screaming teenage girls knew it.