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Originally published February 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM | Page modified February 4, 2014 at 6:03 PM

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When the Beatles came to town: Readers share their memories

It was 50 years ago that the Beatles first set foot on American shores — Feb. 7, 1964, to be exact — and just a few months later that the Fab Four rattled Seattle Center. We asked readers for their recollections and photos, and we were — appropriately — mobbed.


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Baby boomers will be loath to get the news, but it was 50 years ago that the Beatles first set foot on American shores — Feb. 7, 1964, to be exact — and just a few months later, on Aug. 21, that the Fab Four rattled Seattle Center.

It was quite an exciting day, including a press conference, a mad dash from the Edgewater Hotel to KeyArena (then called the Coliseum) and a haywire exit back, which involved the subterfuge of riding in an ambulance to outwit the screaming girls.

Earlier this month, we asked readers to send us their memories of the show, which they posted online at SoundPosts blog, and we promised to choose our favorite for publication in the newspaper. It was hard to choose!

So hard, we decided to post excerpts from several readers’ memories:

Ahhhhh!........the summer of ’64 ... I was 13 years old and crazy in love with The Beatles.....I believed I was going to marry George Harrison!.....so when Patrice, Monique and I heard The Beatles were coming to Seattle, we rushed to buy our tickets. Monique kept saying to us“are you guys going to scream?”.......I honestly responded with “not me!” ... little did I know, when the Beatles hit the stage, a flood of emotions would take over......Patrice and I could not stop screaming!!!..............We never heard the songs they sang that night ... we didn't seem to mind.....It was everything just to be in the same room as John, Paul, George and Ringo............Unbelievable!!!

Rebecca (Kramer) Colello, Edmonds

My husband, Dick Friel, was working for an advertising agency who were responsible for handling the press for the Beatles Seattle concert.­ ... Getting the Beatles into their limo and to the venue caused a near riot. One of Dick’s other clients was Shepard Ambulance. He contacted them and just prior to the conclusion of the concert they sent an ambulance down the emergency entrance of the venue. They put the Fab Four on the floor of the ambulance, found a willing guy in a sailor suit to lie on the gurney, turned on the siren and emerged from the emergency entrance just as a limo arrived. The crowd mobbed the limo, the ambulance sped to the Edgewater and the Beatles arrived back at the Edgewater, ready to fish from their room. Later that month, the hotel sold squares of the rug that had been in the Beatles’ hotel rooms.

Sharon Friel, Seattle

Wow: 1964. A great year to be 13 years old and a girl! Right? ... I know we all bought new outfits. Mine was a red WOOL jumper ... Janet was in hot pink, Marcia in orange. BRIGHT colors so we would stand out!! ­ ... Then, there they were! It was loud, thrilling, wonderful — all 20 minutes of it. Perfection! I saw them again in 1965 and 1966 when we sat closer, heard more, and even had a close encounter with their limousines, but NOTHING was like August 21, 1964 — because it was the first time and because IT WAS MY 14TH BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!! Thank you, Beatles.....thank you, FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!

Vicki Hayes, Seattle

Off we went that night, in a jacket and tie (it was a concert after all — this was 1964) and we sat three rows from the front on the side. Jackie de Shannon and The Righteous Brothers were delightful but then came the Scream Fest. Jelly beans were flying and fainted girls were hauled out on stretchers below us. If I plugged my ears, I could hear them.

I can still see them today, rocking along with their songs, silly grins on their faces at the spectacle in front of them.

J Pival Walton, Bainbridge Island

My best friend, boyfriend and I had our $5.00(!) Beatles tickets in hand and were driving from Tacoma to Seattle on Highway 99 the afternoon of the concert. We had just passed SeaTac Airport when, on our right side, I saw a motorcycle cop with his red light going, approaching us. ... We were convinced that it MUST be the Beatles, and were becoming appropriately hysterical. At that moment, two limousines drove next to us — it was them!! The second limo drove by and there, in the back seat, sat JOHN LENNON! I repeat, JOHN LENNON!

I screamed at my boyfriend to turn into them, just a fender bender, because they would have to stop and we could meet them. Luckily he had some sense and did not listen to me.

Sandy Carpenter, Bellingham

When I heard that the Beatles were coming to the U.S. on tour, and would be performing in Seattle, I HAD to go. By then I was 14 and a half, and didn’t know if my parents would let me, but they did. So on that highly anticipated day, my mom took my friend Caron and me to Seattle from Bremerton and then to the Coliseum. She dropped us off in a huge crowd of people, mostly teenage girls. I had never been in such a crowd, and you could feel the excitement — all of us were going to see the Beatles live!

Our seats were to the side and a little behind the stage. I was somewhat disappointed, but I was there. Finally ... the announcer proclaimed, “…The Beatles!” As they came onto the stage, something happened to me that I will never forget, understand, or experience again. I, along with most everyone there, stood up and started screaming. It was like we were the 12th man for the Beatles. The screaming did not let up for their entire set.

It is hard to put into words how highly charged and emotional the crowd was. It was very intense, and did I mention loud, the whole time. A girl sitting next to us ran down the stairs, charged the stage, and was hastily carried off backstage. I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m excited, but I don’t want to make a fool of myself, or miss the rest of the concert.”

When it was over, my friend and I sat there stunned and exhausted. There were a lot of paramedics there, as we saw many girls being taken back-stage to get oxygen.

The next morning, my phone started ringing early. When I finally answered, another friend excitedly told me that Caron and my picture was on the front page of the Bremerton Sun. What?! Sure enough there was a picture of the crowd, and right in the middle were Caron and I standing and screaming our heads off. I found myself very popular for the next few days.

Some people didn’t understand. But if you were a 14 year old female Beatles fan seeing them live, you would. I still get excited thinking about how I was the right age at the right time to experience the group that changed the world of music. Go Hawks!

Barbara Jayne, Cle Elum

The few boys at that first Seattle (concert), 10 percent at the most, stared silently, my friend and myself included, trying to distance ourselves from the pandemonium around us. It was impossible. The noise pierced our bodies, our souls. It permeated every fiber of our being. It took over our insides. We looked at each other and we knew what we had to do to free the excitement. We screamed, too. Hysterically. Out of control. For the full 28 minutes The Beatles performed. Twenty-eight minutes. That was all. But it was enough to create memories to last a lifetime. And laryngitis.

Tom Nussbaum, Seattle



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