Taking stock of the global Beatlemania epidemic, 50 years on
Author Chris Wright
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first foray into the American screaming-and-fainting-teenage-girl market. A few months after they released their debut U.S. album, Introducing … the Beatles, the mop-topped Liverpudlians held the top five slots in the Billboard chart simultaneously, and went on to record a whopping 20 No.1 U.S. hits. But America, as the following by-the-numbers examples amply demonstrate, is by no means the only country to have been bitten by the Beatle bug.
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The amount paid by Alberta dentist Michael Zuk at a U.K. auction in 2011 for John Lennon’s decaying molar. Zuk explained that he hoped to retrieve enough DNA from the tooth to one day create a clone of the former Beatle.
Year a statue of John Lennon was unveiled in Havana’s aptly named John Lennon Park (despite the Beatles being banned in Cuba for decades). The bespectacled bronze figure can still be seen sitting cross-legged on a park bench, a long way from Penny Lane.
The year Paul McCartney and then-Beatle Pete Best were deported from Germany for allegedly setting fire to, depending on which report you believe, a prophylactic device, a tapestry or rags in a movie theater, a hotel room or their van.
Total number of Beatles songs banned by the BBC in 1967. One of them, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” was given the heave-ho after censors realized its lyrics didn’t, in fact, refer to a well-heeled woman flying in a commercial aircraft.
Height (in feet) of the Imagine Peace Tower, near Reykjavík, which shoots a columnof light into the sky between the anniver-saries of John Lennon’s birth (Oct. 9) and of his death (Dec. 8), and on other significant dates, to convey “wis-dom, healing and joy.”
The total number of Beatles artifacts owned by Buenos Aires fan Rodolfo Vazquez in 2011, earning him a nod in that year’s Guinness Book of World Records. The collection, which continues to swell in numbers, includes life-sized models of the Fab Four.