The Beatles in Atlanta: A landmark moment

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium is gone now, replaced by Turner Field in 1996, and demolished by implosion in 1997.

It was not a brilliant stadium, more suited for chariot races than baseball, according to one city planner.

But it was the site of milestones unequaled before or since.

It was where the Braves, in 1995, won their only World Series championship (so far) during their Atlanta incarnation.

In 1974, it witnessed Hank Aaron hammering his 715th home run.

And, 50 years ago, it played host to the Beatles in their only Atlanta performance.

That summer day in 1965 was a rare one, a confluence of historic forces that created a mythic folk memory.

In 1965, with a new “multipurpose” facility in hand and two big-league franchises on the way, Atlanta was ready to take its place on the national stage. Who better to christen this giant-sized wheel of fortune, called (at the time) Atlanta Stadium, than the biggest act in the world?

The booking was a blessing for the stadium authority. It meant one less “dark night,” as Atlanta waited for the Braves, who wouldn’t arrive until 1966.

And, though the Liverpool lads left their dressing room in the visitors clubhouse a mess, strewn with cake, flowers, stuffed animals and other presents from their fans, Dick Cecil, head of Braves Productions at the time, said they were a well-mannered crew.

And lonely. Before the concert, an assistant knocked on the door to Cecil’s office and asked if Paul McCartney could use the phone. McCartney spent the next hour on a call to London.

“I don’t know who paid for that call,” Cecil said.