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On December 27, 1963, the London Times reported, "The social phenomenon of Beatlemania, which finds expression in handbags, balloons and other articles bearing the likeness of the loved ones, or in the hysterical screaming of young girls whenever the Beatle Quartet performs in public" (Beatlemania pp). Thus, Beatlemania was coined and today can be found listed in the majority of dictionaries. Beatlemania hit the United States with a vengeance after the group performed at the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 (Beatlemania pp).
The Beatles were one of the most influential much groups of the rock era, that initially affected the baby-boom generation of Britain and the Untied States during the 1960's and later the rest of the world, and with global sales exceeding 1.1 billion records, they were the most successful group (Beatlemania1 pp). Although they were originally famous for light-weight pop music, as well as the extreme hysterical reaction they received from young women, their later works achieved not only popularity, but critical acclaim that is considered unequaled in the twentieth century (Beatlemania1 pp). Eventually, they became more than recording artists, branching out into film and political activism, especially in the case of John Lennon (Beatlemania1 pp). The Beatles achieved an iconic status that went beyond mere celebrity, with such far reaching effects that it would be difficult to exaggerate (Beatlemania1 pp).
Beatlemania began in the United Kingdom and exploded following the appearance of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States, on February 9, 1964, launching the band into a worldwide phenomenon with worshipful fans, hysterical adulation, as well as denunciations by culture commentators and others such as Frank Sinatra (Beatlemania1 pp). Some of this can be contributed to the confusion over the sources of their music, and some of it was simply an incredulous reaction to the length of their hair (Beatlemania1 pp). A similar confusion was evinced in 1956 over Elvis Presley by commentators who were unaware of the tradition of blues, R& B. And gospel out of which Presley emerged, as well as his on-stage moves (Beatlemania1 pp). Nevertheless, the band's popularity was regarded by the Liverpool band members, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, with both awe and resentment (Beatlemania1 pp).
Mikhail Safonov, writer, broadcaster, and senior researcher at the Institute of Russian history at St. Petersburg, writes in a 2003 article for History Today, that the Beatles did more for the break up of totalitarianism in the U.S.S.R. than Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Adrei Sakharov because neither the novelist nor the physicist had an audience in the Soviet Union like that of the Beatles (Safonov pp). According to Safonov, the Beatles cultivated a generation of freedom-loving people throughout Russia, a country that covered one-sixth of the Earth's surface, and that "without that love of freedom the fall of totalitarianism would have been impossible, how ever bankrupt economically the Communist regime may have been" (Safonov pp). He writes that the first song he heard on Leningrad Radio was A Hard Day's Night, and shortly after, someone gave him recordings of that song and Help, which had been brought in from France, and for many Russians, this is when Beatlemania began (Safonov pp). Beatlemania took a variety of forms in Russia, but is was not the type that was seen in the West, since in the U.S.S.R., the Beatles were proscribed, thus fans were forced to hide their worship of the group (Safonov pp). It became the fashion to have Beatles hairstyles, however young people were stopped on the street and forced to have their hair cut for them in police stations (Safonov pp). Yet, writes Safonov, "the more the authorities fought the corrupting influence of the Beatles, the more we resented this authority, and questioned the official ideology that had been drummed into us from childhood" (Safonov pp). The whole world had already fallen in love with the Beatles, so the more the government persecuted them, the more they exposed the falsehood and hypocrisy of the Soviet ideology (Safonov pp).
Despite the forecasts of the imminent collapse of the Beatles popularity, they became more and more of a phenomenon in the cultural life of the entire planet, something impossible to ignore, and gradually the bans were removed (Safonov pp). The first song to be released in the U.S.S.R. was Girl, which was included in a collection of foreign popular music, however, the Beatles' name was not…[continue]
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