15 august 1965

The Beatles onstage at Shea Stadium, with Brian Epstein looking on, 15 August 1965

Photo: Marc Weinstein/Beatlesphotos.net

“Brian put in a lot of time getting us off the ground. He believed in us from the start.” - George Harrison, The Beatles Anthology [x]

“I tell you, Larry… there is no other band, there will never be any band like them, ever, for eternity. They are… the best… I say to you, Larry, here in 1965, that the children of 2000 will be listening to the Beatles. And I sincerely mean that.” - Brian Epstein to Larry Kane, When They Were Boys [x]

John Lennon: “We don’t know what to say. We loved him and he was one of us. So you can’t -”
George Harrison: “You can’t pay tribute in words.” - 27 August 1967

In memory of Brian Epstein, 19 September 1934 - 27 August 1967… with gratitude.

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On this day in music history: August 30, 1965 - “Highway 61 Revisited”, the sixth album by Bob Dylan is released. Produced by Bob Johnston and Tom Wilson, it is recorded at Columbia Studio A in New York City from June 15 - August 4, 1965. The second “electric album” by the prolific singer/songwriter features the first side with Dylan backed by musicians including Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Harvey Brooks, while the second side is primarily acoustic ballads. The album has more of a blues oriented sound than his previous work, inspiring the albums title which is the highway that runs from Dylan’s hometown of Duluth, MN down to the Mississippi Delta. It features several songs that become standards in Dylan’s catalog including “Like A Rolling Stone” (#2 Pop), “Ballad Of A Thin Man”, “Tombstone Blues” and “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry”. The album becomes one of his most acclaimed and best selling albums. “Highway 61” is remastered and reissued in 2003 as a limited hybrid SACD in digi-pak packaging by Sony, before reverting to a standard redbook CD only release. In 2014, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissues “Highway 61” as a double vinyl LP set mastered at 45 RPM, and as a hybrid SACD. “Highway 61 Revisited” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2002.

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15 August: On this day in 1965, The Beatles became the first-ever rock band to perform a stadium show, with their record-setting sell-out show at New York City’s Shea Stadium.

Photos: Robert Whitaker, New York Daily News

“Shea Stadium was so close to LaGuardia Airport and the planes would fly right over it. It was either final approach or taking off, but they would fly right over the stadium. And the noise level was so huge that you could not hear the jets. I mean you could see the jets flying over, but the noise of all these girls screaming and yelling drowned out the noise of the jets.” - Marc Catone, The Beatles At Shea Stadium

“The stadium vibrated - the whole place. You didn’t hear the music, so I don’t remember them playing. All you heard was screaming.” - Joyce Kaufman, The Beatles At Shea Stadium

“It was hysteria. It was just unbelievable to see it all. People fainted all the way up to my tier.” - Judith Goodspeed, The Beatles At Shea Stadium

“There were so many people screaming and yelling and fainting. I saw stretchers coming out all over the place. When we left there were people fainting all over the place. We had people fainting every minute.” - Peter Bennett, The Beatles At Shea Stadium

“The screams were solid. Like a wall. It was frightening. Cops were all over the field. Kids made a run for the Beatles and were stopped repeatedly by the police.” - Scott Ross, The Beatles At Shea Stadium

“It was terrifying at first when we saw the crowd. But I don’t think I have ever felt so exhilarated in my life. It was unbelievable that so many people wanted to see us. Even though we are used to big crowds, this surprised us.” - George Harrison, NME, 20 August 1965

“It would have been better still if we could have heard what we were playing. I wasn’t sure what key I was in in two numbers. It was ridiculous!” - John Lennon, NME, 20 August 1965

“Fantastic! Wonder if we’ll ever be able to do it again?” - Paul McCartney, NME, 20 August 1965

“Screaming had just become the thing to do. We didn’t say, ‘OK, don’t forget, at this concert - everybody scream!’ Everybody just screamed.” - Ringo Starr, The Beatles Anthology

View The Beatles’ full performance via DailyMotion (user: Helen) here.

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On this day in music history: August 15, 1965 - The Beatles perform at Shea Stadium in New York City. During the band’s second tour of the US in the Summer of 1965, The Beatles play the single largest live concert of their career. Put on by promoter Sid Bernstein, the concert takes place at Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY, the home of the New York Mets. Performing before a sold out crowd of 55,600 fans, it sets a record at the time for the single largest rock concert in history. The opening acts include Brenda Holloway, King Curtis, Sounds Incorporated, and The Discothèque Dancers. When The Beatles take the stage, they are introduced by Ed Sullivan, with the band performing a twelve song thirty minute set before being whisked away. The historic event is documented in the film “The Beatles At Shea Stadium” airing in the UK and Europe in May of 1966, and on US television on ABC on January 10, 1967. Beautifully restored footage from the concert is seen in the documentary “The Beatles Anthology” in 1995. To date, the performance has not been officially released (with the exception of a 1978 VHS release which is quickly withdrawn for legal reasons) in its entirety on home video, though decent quality bootlegs have circulated among fans for many years. Footage from the Shea Stadium show also appears in the Grammy winning documentary “The Beatles: Touring Years” directed by Ron Howard.

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The Beatles’ 3rd tour of the US began on Sunday, 15 August 1965, playing before 55,600 fans at Shea Stadium. It was the largest audience for a rock concert to that time, and the first “stadium show.”

The Beatles were flown by helicopter from Manhattan to the stadium in Queens. An armored car then drove the group onto the field, where a stage was set up on second base. Fans were allowed only in stadium seats and not on the field, fenced in to protect both the band and the infield grass.

“What I remember most about the concert was that we were so far away from the audience,” Ring Starr said. “It was totally against what we had started out to achieve, which was to entertain, right there, up close.”

The Beatles performed a 30-minute set of 12 songs: “Twist And Shout,” “She’s A Woman,” “I Feel Fine,” “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.”

As soon as they finished, the armored car sped across the field, the Beatles were in the car and on the move “no more than twenty seconds after they stepped off the stage. The back gate of Shea opened, the armored car sped through and they were gone,” promoter Sid Bernstein wrote in his autobiography.





The Beatles at the first-ever stadium rock concert, and the then-largest audience in history: Shea Stadium, 15 August 1965. Photo: Dan Farrell/New York Daily News.

“The sound at our concerts was always bad and we would be joking with each other on stage just to keep ourselves amused. It was so impersonal. We got into that big political thing and, at that time, we were so sick of it. I think we all were. We were all like nervous wrecks, getting flown round everywhere and doing press conferences everywhere we went. It was all too much!” - George Harrison, Off The Record