Readers reminisce about 1965 Atlanta Beatles show

It was 50 years ago today that the Beatles came to town to play.

The stadium was brand-new, the weather was hot, and the Liverpool lads were the biggest act on the planet.

The giddy teenagers in that audience are now nearing retirement age. But many of them have stories to tell. We asked our readers to share some of their reminiscences about that August night in 1965. Read more about the performance here and read about the Atlanta Fulton County Stadium here .

Combined ShapeCaption
Beth Erwin shared her ticket stub from the 1965 Beatles show in Atlanta.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Beth Erwin shared her ticket stub from the 1965 Beatles show in Atlanta.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Combined ShapeCaption
Beth Erwin shared her ticket stub from the 1965 Beatles show in Atlanta.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

"In 1965 my uncle worked for Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr., and he got me tickets in the sixth row behind home plate at the Atlanta Stadium. He gave me four tickets and I was persuaded to give two of them to the daughter of one of my Daddy's clients. I then had one ticket to offer a friend. It was a difficult decision for a 13 year old, and I eventually chose my friend Patricia. The whole time you heard the music, but everyone just screamed, caught up in the moment. I managed to stop long enough to write down the songs they were singing to report back to my friends." -- Beth Erwin

"It was my great fortune to have four best friends growing up in the small Southwest Georgia town of Cairo. It didn't matter how many of us were together or what the combination was between us, we always loved each other and had the greatest times together. We loved The Beatles since the first time we heard them. We would go around our school singing their songs, complete with back-up harmonies, much to the delight of the other students and teachers. Our shop teacher would even let us get up on the work table and while I played trash can drums, the others would use brooms like guitars to mimic The Beatles and sing their songs.

Combined ShapeCaption
Beth Erwin shared a handwritten setlist from the 1965 Beatles show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Beth Erwin shared a handwritten setlist from the 1965 Beatles show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Combined ShapeCaption
Beth Erwin shared a handwritten setlist from the 1965 Beatles show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

My parents received the Atlanta Journal daily and on one particular morning in December 1964, I saw an advertisement in the Journal for The Beatles concert to be held in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium on August 18! I immediately called the guys and that was that! We were going to see The Beatles!! We each told our parents that we were going to The Beatles concert. We gave our parents three choices: They could give us their blessing and come along as chaperones; they could support us and send us unchaperoned; or they could try to stop us from going, in which case, we were going to sneak out and find a way of going without their blessings. Either way, we were going to see The Beatles!

To our total amazement, on August 18, 1965 they put us on a Trailways bus in Cairo, unchaperoned, and sent the five of us on our merry way to Atlanta. We had made reservations at the late, great Henry Grady Hotel, located where the Peachtree Plaza now stands.

We all dressed alike in matching turtleneck shirts, denim coats, blue jeans and Beatle boots. Once on the street we realized everyone was in town to see The Beatles -- especially the girls. Lots of girls! We walked Peachtree Street to find a place to eat and watched the parade heralding the Milwaukee Braves on their move to Atlanta. It would be another year before the Braves actually began playing baseball in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.

Everywhere we went, girls asked if we were a band. We, of course, lied through our teeth and said we indeed were a rock and roll band. We told them we had finished touring California and were about to tour England, now that The Beatles had opened the door to the UK.

Combined ShapeCaption
Beth Erwin shared a photo of a piece of Beatles memorabilia from 1965.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Beth Erwin shared a photo of a piece of Beatles memorabilia from 1965.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Combined ShapeCaption
Beth Erwin shared a photo of a piece of Beatles memorabilia from 1965.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

We caught a shuttle bus to the stadium and found our seats - waaaaaaaaay up in the nosebleed section, but it didn't matter -- we were going to see The Beatles! Way down on the field was the stage and what at the time seemed like a huge PA system. It consisted of two large speakers that were shaped like the bell of a trumpet. Compared to the gargantuan speaker systems used for concerts now, to say this PA system was inadequate would be a huge understatement. And none of the amps or drums were miked -- only the vocals came through the PA. It didn't matter -- Our heroes were only yards away performing the songs we loved. We couldn't really hear that well anyway due to the screaming girls that filled the stadium, including the rows behind us and in front of us.

After returning from our trip, we all felt so guilty about lying that we were a rock and roll band that we decided to learn to play instruments and form a band. I was already in the school band learning to play drums. Two of the guys began to take guitar lessons and we were on our way. Once we had a few songs under our belts, we played for birthday parties and even played for our high school's Friday morning assemblies.

Two of my friends were not destined to stay with the band but three of us went on to play many gigs in high school and at local teen centers. Eventually the band broke up so we could go to different colleges. Although our band was no more, our love of music and performing stayed with us. Two of us continued to play in various bands throughout our lives on the weekends. One of those two, the bass player, is the leader of a popular band that plays the Atlanta area now - R&B, Inc.  I made a career of teaching music as a band director in public school. The third member of the band went on to hit it big in the rock and roll industry. He wound up singing the hit "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" and later became a singer with the popular '80s band Starship.

Had it not been for The Beatles concert, our lives might have taken a totally different direction, especially for the three of us who made performing music a major part of who we are.

We had planned a reunion on the 18th of this year, the 50th anniversary of the concert, and were going to stay at the Peachtree Plaza, but Starship got a gig the day before so we cancelled. Still the love of the music, the love between close friends and the memories of that special event remains near and dear to us. -- Tommy Verran

Combined ShapeCaption
Maureen Sellers shared a setlist, album and concert tickets from the show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Maureen Sellers shared a setlist, album and concert tickets from the show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Combined ShapeCaption
Maureen Sellers shared a setlist, album and concert tickets from the show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

"It was the ultimate excitement that the Beatles were coming to Atlanta.  Of course, it never would have happened if the new Atlanta Stadium had not been built.  I had been there one time before to see the Atlanta Crackers with my dad who loved baseball and taught me too, as well.  My friend at Sylvan Hills High School, Barbara, was a true dyed in the wool Beatles fan -- she even went to Jacksonville to see them a second time.  My boyfriend and I thought we could afford the tickets which were $5.50 each.  We took the #16 Noble on the Atlanta Transit System close to the stadium and walked the rest of the way. Barbara and several of her friends had tickets close to us.  I wanted to write down the songs the Beatles performed but only had the bus schedule and an eyebrow pencil. I am a retired high school Latin teacher and few of my students over the years have not been impressed by my having these tickets.  I tell my son, Rob, that he is to put them in a safe deposit box so he can give them to my granddaughter, AnnElise.

I remember the high pitched screaming of the crowd (mostly female) when the Beatles ran out on the field and with each song, the screaming began again.  However, there were actually times when the screaming almost stopped and the crowd sat down for a few minutes.  I remember reading in the paper that the Beatles mentioned that Atlanta was the first stop where they could hear themselves perform for some of the concert. Over my lifetime spent in Atlanta, I have seen many outstanding concerts both rock and classical, at the stadium, at the Omni, at the Phillips, the Dome, Symphony Hall, Chastain, and Piedmont, (but) none produced in me and my friends the excitement of the Beatles concert 50 years ago! -- Maureen Sellers

Combined ShapeCaption
Marcia Proctor and her friends at the show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Marcia Proctor and her friends at the show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Combined ShapeCaption
Marcia Proctor and her friends at the show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

"The Beatles had not come to Atlanta during either of their 1964 U.S. tours. The closest they had come was Jacksonville. I was so envious of my friend Libby who got to go.

In early 1965, rumors started going around that they would be here in 1965. And, to the excitement of my friends and I, it was announced they’d be playing in the new Atlanta Stadium that August. My dad helped me get the order off for 10 tickets at $5.50 each. He wrote the check, and I typed out the SASE. My friends and I eagerly counted the days. We thought August 18 would never come!

My parents drove us, and also attended the concert. They loved the Beatles, unlike the parents of some of my friends. Those parents thought the Beatles signaled the end of civilization, and wouldn’t allow my friends to attend the show.

As we got out of Daddy’s Thunderbird, I looked up at the sign and the stadium. I snapped a photo of the scene. I think it may be the only photo showing the outside of the stadium and the matrix sign.

My cousin Jan and my friend Beth and I swore we were not going to scream nor cry. Mother took three photographs of us. In the first we were looking over toward the visitors dugout, as the Beatles were being announced by local WQXI DJ Paul Drew. In the second, we were screaming, and, in the third, we were crying. We settled down though because we wanted to enjoy the show.

Combined ShapeCaption
Marcia Proctor shares a photo of a sign outside of the show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Marcia Proctor shares a photo of a sign outside of the show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Combined ShapeCaption
Marcia Proctor shares a photo of a sign outside of the show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

The Beatles stage was way out at second base, so the police would have time to grab any fence jumping fans before they reached the Fabs.

I was afraid I would forget what songs they performed, so I scribbled down the playlist. (I did miss one song on my list, though.)

I had wanted to buy an “I Love Paul” button, but they were sold out, so I bought my “I Still Love The Beatles” button. (The Beatles had been predicted to be a flash-in-the-pan, so for someone to still love them in 1965 was astounding!)

As we were leaving the stadium, my dad spotted the truck into which the Beatles’ instruments had been loaded departing the scene, too. He followed the truck to the airport. It drove down what is now Delta Boulevard, off Virginia Avenue, and went up onto the tarmac. We stopped at the fence and watched their instruments loaded onto the plane, and then the plane taxied away.

Combined ShapeCaption
Marcia Proctor shares a photo of an ad promoting the Beatles show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Marcia Proctor shares a photo of an ad promoting the Beatles show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Combined ShapeCaption
Marcia Proctor shares a photo of an ad promoting the Beatles show.

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

One of the most significant times of my life! I was featured in a 1996 article in the AJC about the "Fab Fans". I was and am and always will be a Beatlemaniac!" -- Marcia Proctor

"I don't have my ticket stub (or my button or my Flip Your Wig game) because my OCD Mother threw it all out long ago.  I was there though.  My Dad took me because he knew how much it meant to me, bless him.  I never heard much of the music because of all the screaming.  At the end of the concert, a limo pulled up to the middle of the field.  The Beatles got in and waved white handkerchiefs on the way out.  That was when I broke down and cried my eyes out!" -- Anne Russell

"I was there. It was a night to remember always.

I had just finished my first year of college at West Georgia College. The Beatles were the biggest group ever. Night and day, all you heard on the radio were Beatles songs. I bought every album as soon as they were available. I seem to remember that Paul Drew of WGST and then WQXI was the fifth Beatle. Not sure if I am remembering that correctly.

When it was announced that the Beatles were coming to Atlanta there was a mad rush to try to buy tickets. I was in luck because a friend of mine was a Playboy Bunny in Atlanta at that time and was able to get tickets behind home plate. We had great seats.

We got to the concert early. I don't remember the other bands that were playing. Who cared? We just wanted to see and hear the Beatles.

I lost track of time that night. I don't remember how long we had to wait for the other acts to finish. After awhile, Paul Drew came out and introduced the Beatles.  I seem to remember that the stage was somewhere around the pitchers mound. As Paul Drew was talking a limo came from the outfield and pulled up to the stage. Out stepped the Beatles. People were going crazy.  They started with "Twist and Shout." I could hear the intro and then such an uproar went up that I could not hear another thing, only screaming teenagers.

The Beatles played for about 30 minutes. Then they got back in the limo and left. I only knew the concert was over because they left, the screaming finally receded and slowly we made our way out of the stadium towards our cars and went home.

I am now in my 70s. I often think back to that night, the sights, the sounds, the people. I was there." -- Jim Warren