With last weekend being the 50th anniversary of the launch of American Beatlemania, the U.S. public should remember that Beatlemania had taken a foothold in the UK over a year previously and was in full swing even prior to the band’s first UK chart-topper, “Please Please Me”, which hit number one on January 11, 1963.
Beginning with Beatlemania in Great Britain in late 1962 that spiraled out of control by the time of the worldwide Beatlemania craze that started with their arrival in the U.S., The Beatles became celebrities overnight.
A lifelong friend of mine who I know from the beach graduated from Tufts University in the 1970’s. While a student at the Boston-area university, he had a part-time job as a security guard at the Boston Garden, giving him the opportunity to witness great rock concerts as well as games of the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics. My friend John is now a marketing research executive and has a story about Beatle fame he will never forget in his lifetime.
In November 1974, John was working an Elton John concert at Boston Garden. Before the concert started a couple came up to him and said they were friends of Elton John and wanted to go backstage. My friend John asked the couple, a Caucasian man and an Asian woman, if they had backstage passes and they said no. John told them that they could not go backstage if they did not have the proper backstage passes. Once again, they said they were friends of Elton John and once again my friend told them in no uncertain terms that they could not go backstage. The couple turned around and walked away.
A Boston police officer came over to my friend John and in a voice of shocked disbelief said, “Do you know what you just did?”
John answered, “No….. what?”
The Boston cop said, “That was John Lennon! You just kicked John Lennon out of the backstage area. You’re going to get in big trouble for this …….. all of us are probably going to get in trouble.”
My friend John could not believe what he had done and expected to get fired that night.
After the concert, my friend John was standing outside the door of the backstage area, thinking that his days at the Boston Garden would soon be over. When the after-concert party ended the people started filing out of the backstage area. As they gradually filed out of the door, they all were silent and made eye contact with John. It was obvious that John Lennon had told everyone about the security guard who had refused to let him backstage. The people glared at my friend John, including Elton John himself. When John Lennon and his companion May Pang walked out and made eye contact with him, a smile appeared on Lennon’s face as he walked past them. Finally, Elton John’s manager was the last out and confronted my friend. He asked him, “Are you the person who kicked John Lennon out from backstage?
My friend John began to apologize, but Elton John’s manager said, “Do you know what you did? You kicked him out from backstage……… he was thrilled! He said that it was the only time since becoming famous as a Beatle that anyone ever treated him like a regular person ….. he wouldn’t shut up about it……. he was raving about it …… we had to hear the whole thing a hundred times.”