|The legacy of the Beatles at Shea Stadium – 50 years later
Aug. 14, 2015 Mike Barnett
Fifty years ago on Aug. 15, a rock and roll youth movement revolution took place. The Beatles played in front of over 55,000 screaming fans at Shea Stadium – an unprecedented event that ushered in the modern rock era, says Mike Barnett, an instructor at CU-Boulder’s School of Music.
CUT 1 “What can you say about the Beatles? They’ve had probably more of an impact than any other rock band. There is kind of an irony in that because rock is considered, really, an American – in essence – an American expression, but it’s a British band that really, probably, has more impact. I also think the Beatles helped to globalize rock.” (:21)
Barnett teaches Music of the Rock Era, Music in American Culture and several other music courses. He says the Shea Stadium concert showed that America’s youth was changing culturally and the Beatles helped to unify this change.
CUT 2 “Given the social climate, the political climate, it seems like they needed that. And a group like the Beatles, specifically I think, helped that culture to coagulate into what would become the counterculture, the protest movement – I think that all starts with the Beatles kind of unifying youth culture.” (:24)
The concert also ushered in the British rock invasion of America with the ever-popular Beatles leading the charge. But Barnett says the Beatles were the most popular band not because they were British or different but because they were that good.
CUT 3 “It has to do with their music more than anything. Not to take away from any other groups at the time but I think the Beatles musically were stronger. (:11)Paul McCartney and John Lennon had an incredible gift for writing a catchy tune. I mean how many songs can you listen to and not walk away with it stuck in your head?” (:22)
He also says the Beatles came along at a time when the rock and roll of the 1950s and early 1960s had become commercialized and tame compared to the likes of Elvis and Chuck Berry but the global popularity of the Beatles reignited the anti-establishment culture in America.
CUT 4 “After the commercialization of rock and roll in the 50s, the early 60s you had people like Fabian and Bobby Darren who were like this rock and roll light - really a watered-down version of Elvis and Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Not dangerous. They were very non-threatening. (:16) And then here come the Beatles out of nowhere - just like a steamroller - kind of take over, you know, just over night. Really lambasted the youth culture and revitalized what rock and roll was originally.” (:30)