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50 Years Ago

Beatles reaction puzzles even psychologists

Excerpt from the February 29, 1964, issue of Science News Letter

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Psychologists are as puzzled as parents over the explosive effect the Beatles are having on American teen-agers. There has not been enough serious study on mass adolescent reactions to explain the impact of these four mop-headed British youths…. The Beatles follow a line of glamorous figures who aroused passionate cries and deep swoons. Most prominent in the 1940’s was Frank Sinatra and in the 1950’s Elvis Presley. Their glory passed when they got too old to be teen-agers’ idols or when teen-agers got too old to need them. The same, it is predicted, will happen to the Beatles. In the meantime, there are two ways to handle the situation: either grin and bear it or relax and enjoy it. For the Beatles are inevitable.  — Science News Letter, February 29, 1964

Update

So much for predicting tastes. In February, 14 million people tuned in to a special celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. About 73 million people tuned in to the 1964 broadcast.

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