- Why American fans of The Beatles had more merchants than British fans
- The Worst Thing About America Was the Parents of Teenage Fans of The Beatles
- The difference between American and British fans of the band
Beatlemania may have hit England before, but when The Beatles made their first American tour in 1964, locals were ready to welcome them with open arms. Immediately, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr noticed something of their American fans—they were all decked out in Beatles merch. Unlike in England, it seemed that every fan in the States was sporting at least one official Beetle accessory.
Americans love Beatles merch
In his 1964 column for the Daily Express, Harrison wrote about The Beatles’ first US tour (with the help of Daily Express writer Derek Taylor). He thought that American Beatles fans were decked out head to toe at Merchant because they were naturally enthusiastic.
“Americans love to jump into things with great enthusiasm and gusto,” he wrote, as recorded in the book George Harrison on George Harrison. “That’s why our merchandising has become so big. Each fan has a Beetle button, Beetle badge, cap or sweater. It’s great.”
During the tour, the Beatles also got their hands on some new merch.
“We’re also wearing sweaters with ‘Stamp Out the Beatles’ written on them,” Harrison wrote. “They come from Detroit and we think they’re great. But we’re also getting another set of sweaters that have ‘Stamp Out Detroit’ on them.”
The Beatles Love Their American Fans, Not Their Parents
While the Beatles thought their American fans were great, they weren’t exactly fans of their parents.
“The worst thing about America, despite what some commentators have said, is not teen fans but their parents,” Harrison wrote. “It’s the adults who come to us in hotels, trains, and planes who have given us a hard time. They’re so rude.”
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Outside a restaurant in Miami, Florida, an “expensively dressed man” approached McCartney for an autograph.
“He did it like this: ‘I have two teenage kids who listen to your records. God only knows why. I wouldn’t. But they’re going to be in my house all day. So sign it,’” Harrison said. Wrote.
The Beatles got the same behavior from fans’ parents on a plane ride to America.
“First class passengers asked for so many autographs that you would have thought they were going into the business of selling them,” Harrison wrote. “A man wanted 13 of each.”
american vs british fans
When the band first arrived in America, they were often asked if their American fans looked different and different from their British fans.
“They really aren’t,” Harrison wrote. “They still react the same way and shout the same things, except it’s in an American accent. They use different phrases in their letters. Today I got a note from a guy who wrote that he has neither father nor brother and asked: ‘Will you be my elder brother?’ This is a new one.”
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American fans were different over the phone as well.
“In England if they met on the phone they would be talking and talking forever,” Harrison wrote. “The Americans are sharp and straight to the point. They say: ‘I just want to welcome you to America. I think you’re great. I know you’ll enjoy it here. Goodbye.’”
Of course, as time went on, The Beatles gained fans all over the world. Though they may have spoken in different accents, they all had one thing in common: an unprecedented, passionate love for the Beatles.