Beatlemania! In 29 Unbelievable Photos

Published August 4, 2017
Updated December 30, 2021

Beatlemania was a fan frenzy that followed the Beatles as they toured across the globe. Some believed it was a mental illness — and these photos make it easy to see why.

Paul Mccartney Mobbed By Fans
Paul McCartney is escorted past fans by the crew of a television network.

The Beatles made this trip by boat just to avoid getting mobbed by fans. Despite their security, though, one woman still managed to grab hold of McCartney's shirt.

Teddington, England. July 11, 1964.
Sunday People/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Beatlemania Hysterical Fans
Beatles fans break into hysterics while watching the band play.

New York City, New York. August 14, 1965.
Peodincuk/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Police And Fans
A fan breaks through the police line to get a few steps closer to the band.

London, England. July 19, 1964.
Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

George Harrison On Train
George Harrison filming A Hard Day's Night.

The mob of girls pressing their faces against the glass are not part of the script.

London, England. 1964.
Max Scheler - K & K/Redferns/Getty Images

Police Push Back Fans
Police at the Sydney Airport push against a fence, desperately trying to keep the fans from breaking through and rushing the band.

Sydney, Australia. June 14, 1964.
Frank Burke/The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Beatlemania Fan Mobs Car
The Beatles, immediately after returning from their American tour, are mobbed in their car.

February 23, 1964. London, England.
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Beatles Fan Fights Police
A young girl makes it through the first level of the police barricade, but is stopped before she can rush the stage.

New York City, New York. August 23, 1966.
Hyman Rothman/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Beatles Signing Autographs
The Beatles sign autographs for girls who have caught them on the streets of London.

London, England. 1968.
Daily Express/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Beatlemania Crying Fan
A young girl waiting outside of The Beatles' hotel burst into tears after spotting her favorite band in the flesh.

New York City, New York. August 14, 1965.
Hal Mathewson/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

George Harrison In Theater
Paul McCartney shakes his fist in a fit of mock jealousy while George Harrison lets two girls swarm him in a theater.

Doncaster, England. December 10, 1963.
Mark and Colleen Hayward/Getty Images

Beatlemania Fans Climb Buckingham
Fans climb over the gates of Buckingham Palace just to catch a glimpse of The Beatles, who are inside meeting the queen.

London, England. October 26, 1965.
Imagno/Getty Images

Beatles Fan Touching Mccartney
A fan reaches out to touch Paul McCartney's hair. McCartney, who is just trying to go watch a football match, looks to be losing his patience.

London, England. May 18, 1968.
Ron Case/Keystone/Getty Images

Paul Mccartney During Beatlemania
American fans reach out to try to grab Paul McCartney as he heads down the stairs to get to a concert.

Location unspecified. August 1964.
William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images

John Lennon At Window
John Lennon, at work filming the movie Help!, presses his body against a window, much to the delight of the fans gazing up from outside.

Salzburg, Austria. 1965.
Imagno/Getty Images

Beatlemania Fire Escape Stalkers
Fans climb down the fire escape to sneak into The Beatles' hotel room.

San Francisco, California. 1964.
Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Crying Over Linda Mccartney
Fans openly weep as they hear that Paul McCartney is going to marry Linda Eastman — and, tragically, not them.

London, England. March 12, 1969.
Michael Brennan/Getty Images

Beatlemania Pieta Pose
At the premier of A Hard Day's Night, an officer catches a girl who fainted upon catching a glimpse of the band.

Liverpool, England. July 10, 1964.
Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Beatles Fan Hospitalized
A young girl is so overcome by the excitement of seeing The Beatles perform that she has to be taken out on an ambulance.

August 18, 1965. Toronto, Canada.
Barry Philp/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Paul Mccartney With Fan
A fan grabs hold of Paul McCartney's arm as he makes his way into a television studio.

London, England. July 11, 1964.
John Hoppy Hopkins/Redferns/Getty Images

Beatles Fan Dragged Away
Police officers try to carry a young girl who has fainted during The Beatles' show.

Vancouver, Canada. August 22, 1964.
Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Paul Mccartney Mobbed On Street
Paul McCartney is mobbed by fans on his way to his hotel.

Paris, France. June 1965.
REPORTERS ASSOCIES/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Beatles Surrounded By Fans
The Beatles spend a bit of time enjoying their celebrity, letting women chase them on the beach.

Miami, Florida. February 1964.
Daily Express/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Ringo Starr Attacked By Fans
Two of the girls catch Ringo Starr.

Miami, Florida. February 1964.
Daily Express/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Fans Break Through Police
A line of policemen struggle to keep the young girls behind them from trampling them as The Beatles make their way into Buckingham Palace.

London, England. October 26, 1965.
Ted West/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

George Harrison Gets Attacked
A fan breaks into a TV studio and latches onto George Harrison. One police officer is stuck with the job of trying to pry her off.

London, England. February 23, 1964.
Alisdair MacDonald/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Beatlemania Fans Grab Lennon
A crowd of fans swarm on John Lennon, who is filming the movie Help!.

London, England. May 15, 1964.
Stan Meagher/Express/Getty Images

Beatlemania Epidemic Hits Streets
The scene at the premiere of A Hard Day's Night.

When The Beatles made their appearance, their adoring fans stampeded, knocking down and stomping a crowd of people.

Liverpool, England. July 10, 1964.
Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Police Carrying Beatles Fan
Police carry a girl to safety. She was crushed in the stampede of fans.

Liverpool, England. July 10, 1964.
WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Police Clear Fans
The Beatles play on while, behind them, police desperately try to corral fans who'd charged onto the field at Candlestick Park.

San Francisco, California. August 30, 1966.
Bettmann/Getty Images

For many young music lovers in the 1960s, The Beatles weren't just a band. They were a reason to live.

Beatlemania was a craze unlike any the world has ever seen. When The Beatles came to town, their fans, many of them young girls, would work themselves into a state so frenzied that some people thought of it as an actual disease. Psychologists even published studies struggling to make sense of why these Beatles fans went so crazy for these four young men.

Concertgoers would sometimes scream so loudly that the band couldn't even hear themselves play. And after word got out that George Harrison liked jelly beans, fans started hurling them on stage in hopes of getting his attention. Others would just throw their underwear on stage, with one concert hall claiming that they once found "40 pairs of abandoned knickers" that girls had left behind after seeing the band play.

For girls like these, John, Paul, George, and Ringo weren't just four boys in a band — they were the men that they were destined to marry. One ran at George Harrison with a pair of scissors to cut off a lock of his hair. Some broke into the band's hotels, either trying to catch a glimpse of their heroes in the flesh or rummaging through their underwear drawers for a keepsake. And, when Paul McCartney got married, some girls openly wept, devastated by the realization that he wouldn't be theirs.

Through it all, police had to struggle to keep these kinds of fans from going too wild. During Beatlemania, fans would break through barricades to storm the stage or to try to jump on top of their cars, often toppling grown men to the ground. When the band visited the queen, some fans even climbed over the walls of Buckingham Palace just to see the band.

The Beatles were a band unlike any the world had ever seen and Beatlemania was a fandom unlike any it had seen. The photos above tell the story better than any words can — that, somehow, people knew that they were witnessing a group that would go down in history, and they'd do anything just to touch their fame.

After this look at Beatlemania, check out these photos of the early Beatles before they made it big. Then, have a look at the rock and roll groupies that changed music history.

Mark Oliver
Mark Oliver is a writer, teacher, and father whose work has appeared on The Onion's StarWipe, Yahoo, and Cracked, and can be found on his website.