Beatles author and historian Dave Schwensen spoke to a group of University of Indianapolis students on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Schwensen has written two books on specific concerts that The Beatles performed in the United States. His presentation briefly highlighted some of the most interesting aspects of those concerts.
Schwensen showed how The Beatles, despite being more than 50 years old, have influenced the culture in ways still apparent today, particularly the way concerts are treated in society.
“They [The Beatles] are still influencing the music today,” Schwensen said. “You can hear it in today’s music. It is the kind of thing that is passed down through the generations. Even some of the songs like ‘Yellow Submarine’ and ‘Blackbird’ have different meanings for the older fans. Those are kids’ songs now. Grandparents or parents were singing that to their kids.”
One example Schwensen pointed to is the stark change in security at concerts today as opposed to in the 1960s. He showed a video of fans swarming across the field of a stadium, leaping over barricades and police officers to have a shot at seeing The Beatles up close. Students in attendance roared with laughter at the behavior of some of the fans in the videos that Schwensen showed.
Girls, who now would be women in their 60s, cried, screamed and fainted at the glimpse of the four lads from Liverpool. Schwensen said it was this pandemonium at their concerts that caused the group to stop touring after their 1966 tour of America.
Junior business administration major Omar Posadas said that the presentation changed his outlook about how concerts work.
“I thought it [the event] was interesting,” Posadas said. “People know that it [seeing The Beatles live] was an excellent experience for the fans, but I feel like some people don’t take into account what the artists had to go through. You have to put yourself in The Beatles’ shoes. It had to be overwhelming.”
Schwensen’s message included what set The Beatles apart from everyone else and what aided their continuing, unparalleled success in the music industry.
“It’s all in the music. It’s not corporate rock,” Schwensen said. “It’s not formula. It involves all different kinds of styles. It just lives on.”