Yeah, yeah, yeah!! It’s “Music Monday” for April 12
In 1963, a famous incident took place at the Royal Variety Performance in London, at which Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, and the Queen Mother were in attendance. Before the Beatles took the stage, John Lennon was admonished by bandmate Paul McCartney and manager Brian Epstein NOT to make any offensive remarks to the audience or use any foul language. But trying to rein in John Lennon’s sarcastic mouth was a futile exercise. Taunting audiences was a Lennon specialty, and an elitist audience was a verbal jab just waiting to happen. In his introduction of the song “Twist and Shout”, the ever-defiant and rebellious Lennon announced into the microphone, “For the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands. And the rest of you just rattle your jewelry.” Though he made the minor concession of not saying “fucking” jewelry as he originally planned, Lennon still got his point across.
That was on November 4th, 1963 at the Prince of Wales Theater. At the Shea Stadium performance on August 15th, 1965 however, no such class conscious wisecracks were necessary from the acerbic tongue of John Lennon. Shea Stadium was proletariat central. I know this from having spent a good portion of my life in that place as a die-hard Met fan. No royalty would be found in the stands of Shea. Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart maybe. But no royalty. And that’s the way we liked it dammit!
So on a hot, sticky August day in New York, the Beatles, dressed handsomely in light brown jackets and dark pants, took the stage at good old Shea. No seating was put on the field, which meant that the 50,000+ fans were corralled far, far away from their idols. But I don’t think they minded one bit. John Lennon later spoke about this performance and said with the poor sound system and the screaming noise, they couldn’t even hear themselves singing or playing. Again, the plebeian masses didn’t care. They were in the presence of the Beatles, after all.
Here is a excellent video from that historic day. Not only does it include great images of the Beatles themselves, and again performing “Twist and Shout”, but many views of Shea Stadium, which is no longer with us It has been replaced by Citifield which, sadly, will never, ever host a Beatles concert. That’s one credit that forever belongs to Shea Stadium.
You can see the “rattle your jewelry” statement and the Queen mother’s reaction at this YouTube link.
Let’s Go Mets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!