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AJC Deja News: Beatlemania hits Atlanta Stadium in 1965

By Mandi Albright, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An Atlanta summer usually brings with it a slew of outdoor concerts. But in 2020, the norm has become the unusual and enjoying an evening of music now means worries of coronavirus spread.

Still, some metro cities are forging ahead with summer fun, setting up concerts and other events as safely as possible. It’s a delicate balance, something Peachtree Corners city officials grappled with when they staged a July concert with social distancing, hand sanitizer and mask requirements.

Columnist Celestine Sibley recounted the Beatles' brief Atlanta Stadium show from the previous night for Constitution readers in the Aug. 19, 1965, paper.

Credit: AJC PRINT ARCHIVES

“That commotion at Atlanta Stadium Wednesday night was 30-odd thousand teen-age children and a few assorted parents giving the British mop-head musicians a tumultuous welcome,” longtime Constitution columnist Celestine Sibley wrote in her Aug. 19, 1965, next-day recounting of the Fab Four’s 30-minute set “climaxing a day which saw several hundred teen-agers shrilling and clawing at the entrance to the ball park as early as 9 a.m.”

The old site south of downtown, now serving as a parking area for the Georgia State University stadium (formerly Turner Field), shows little evidence of its history as the original home of the Atlanta Braves and Falcons. Those fortunate enough to have been there for the Beatles concert, though, need no help recalling the location, sights and sounds of the day.

The Atlanta Stadium appearance was on Aug. 18, 1965, and these screaming fans just couldn't help themselves. They paid $5.50 for a chance to scream at the moptops.

Credit: AJC file photo

When the AJC asked readers to share their Beatles concert stories from Aug. 18, 1965, the memories were of pre-show excitement, nabbing those precious $5.50 tickets for lower level seats nearest the stage and, for many who wrote in, of the thrill of simply being there.

“I lost track of time that night,” Jim Warren wrote in the Aug. 2015 article. “A limo came from the outfield and pulled up to the stage. Out stepped the Beatles. People were going crazy. They started with ‘Twist and Shout.’ I could hear the intro and then such an uproar went up that I could not hear another thing.

“The Beatles played for about 30 minutes. Then they got back in the limo and left. I only knew the concert was over because they left, the screaming finally receded and slowly we made our way out of the stadium towards our cars and went home.”

Marcia Proctor shares a photo of an ad promoting the Beatles show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

>> LEARN MORE: Readers reminisce about 1965 Atlanta Beatles show

With so many screaming, giddy teens crowded into Atlanta Stadium, anyone not present possibly imagined a scene of Fab Four-fraught fainting spells, battered bouffants and the sort of carnage brought about by the British Invasion. Celestine Sibley assured Constitution readers that wasn’t the case.

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