How I met The Beatles

MUSICA (of course) . . . and this excerpt from Girlfriends Forever.

I still have my concert program from that night.  It’s 12 x 12 inches, fourteen pages,  filled with lovely close-up shots of the boys.  But none of them showed John in his underwear!  You would have to hang out with me to get that one! 🙂

Page two inside the program, an ad for Yardley starring Jean Shrimpton … “Self-Realization = His Capitulation.”  If only.  Remember the theme music for Yardley ~ Donovan singing, “Wear your love like heaven . . .”?

  Another ad in the program ~ they’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.  Glass bottles and electric guitars for the Pepsi Generation. We had it all.

Beatle Boots.  The whole inside of the catalog, including all the photos, was in black and white.  Very cool.

Flash!  As if we might miss out on this.  Hello?  Cars filled with kids lined up at the drive-in for hours to get into this movie!  We already knew the words to all the songs when we got there!

You could send in your dollar — I wonder how many millions they made from this!

They included a band identifier, the players at the concert ~ In case you were in the audience and you hadn’t read Tiger Beat, Teen World, Teen Screen, or Star World for every fragment of Beatle information and didn’t already have your favorite.  In case you had no idea they came from Liverpool.  (and you lived in a forest, were raised by wolves)

Here’s the back of the program . . .

♫  Oh dear what can I do, baby’s in black and I’m feelin’ blue, tell me Oh what can I do. ♪   You can go to Autograph World and see some of the collectibles.

Hmmmm, so many men, so little time. I can attest to the fact that magazine kissing was never quite as good as pillow kissing.

“I got arms that long to hold you, and keep you by my side…”  OK that’s enough . . .  With love from me to you . . .

69 Responses to How I met The Beatles

  1. Carrie says:

    The BEST story! And the way you describe it paints the picture perfectly. Imagine (no using this word- LOVE the song ) being eyeball to eyeball with John, yeowsa! This story takes the lovely cake, yeah, yeah, yeah 🙂

  2. Carrie says:

    Meant to say no conicidence using that word- IMAGINE. Best song!

  3. Miss Marion says:

    Great Beatles story!!!
    “Very Scary, naked skinny English Man it jockey shorts!”….Love this!!!

  4. salve says:

    OMG! what an amazing story and that picture with signatures must be Priceless! Oh the things we do when we were young – we think it’s the most important thing in the whole wide world – LOL! Having grown daughters – I’ve lived part of my youth in them – that too Priceless! love love love!

  5. Joan Lesmeister says:

    And I thought seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan was absolutely amazing! Little did I know what you were up to! Thinking back, I was a few years older than you, so I was quietly enjoying the hoopla because I was married, & a mother, & very mature. Only danced with the refrigerator when alone! Great story! Wonderfully written! I had been wondering if you & some of your family are redheads…now I know the rest of the story! xoxo

  6. Karen P - Wisconsin says:

    I just do LOVE this story so much. Never tire of reading about it in your Girlfriends book but this addition today is priceless. What cracks me up is the page with the lips for kissing! Really cute! So sweet and innocent, isn’t it? That wouldn’t happen today, I don’t think! You must have been over-the-moon to see them up close and personal….in their undies! LOL! Oh my! And your friend, Karen (nice name, by the way! :-)….I will always think of her when I see your little girls painted with red hair! I had a friend like that growing up and she’s still a treasure to me! xoxo…Karen P.

  7. Martha says:

    Just came across this story today – LOVE IT!!! Memories from our younger days -priceless!
    Martha from CT

  8. sandy says:

    ahhhh my heart skips a beat and my breath stops! nothing like a virtual Beatles expedition,,,thank you for wonderful memories! isn’t it wonderful the way something so fantastic just captures your heart and stays that way forever. thanks a million!!

  9. Paul was on the Colbert Report recently:

    I was just 13. Had not heard of the until they showed up on the Ed Sullivan Show. My favorite was John. I saw them in Indianapolis and Chicago, but not up close. Still have a roll of Beatles wallpaper and of course every newspaper clipping and magazine!

  10. Nora Egan says:

    How FAB was this!? I was holding my breath all the while I was reading your story! Ahhh. Closest I got was being the “official” Beatles Correspondent from my high school, thanks to a radio station that had correspondents at each high school in the area; the station would read our “reports” on air. Don’t know about the others, but all my info was lifted from Life magazine, and you mentioned them, Tiger Beat and Teen World. AND I got to swim in the pool they came up in in “Help” in Nassau two years after they filmed. Yes, I filled a bottle with pool water! Wouldn’t you? Oh, what a time to be a teen.

    • sbranch says:

      I think we would have screamed if we met the official “Beatles Correspondent!” Oh yes, would have had to have some of that pool water!

  11. Marge says:

    My sister and I were dedicated Beatles fans. Unfortunately, we lived in a part of Texas where few, if any, celebreties held concerts in those days, so we never saw the Beatles or any other British band live. One thing that came about from the British invasion was the realization that the reason our mother “talked
    funny” and different from our friends’mothers was because she was British!!! She was from Scotland but it was fairly close (in our ears) to Scouse. Not that we didn’t know Mommy was Scots but it didn’t mean as much until then when it became “cool” to be half-Brit AND discover that Lizzie and I (and our other two sisters) had dual citizenship!

  12. Sandee Mellum says:

    I said it before, but must say it again. You, Susan Branch, are a woman of MANY talents. Your story-telling skills are over the top!! Reading this just now has made my day!! Wonderful, magical memories of such an amazing time. I was 12, just beginning my teenage journey when the lads appeared on Ed Sullivan that Sunday night. Sooo fun to recall it all again after all these years. Love, love, love ya Susan!
    What a treasure you are for us all!

  13. Christy says:

    I saw them in concert in 1964 at The Coliseum in Seattle when I was 13 – and I say “saw” them because there was no way you could hear them with the constant screaming every time they shook their moppy hair! Do you remember that people used to throw jelly beans at the stage? In my Beatles Scrapbook (that somehow I have misplaced but continue to believe will turn up!) I had a jelly bean that I was just sure bounced off John! I LOVE this post from you – the one you wrote about bomb shelters in the 50’s was another favorite because my dad dug one in our backyard – keep the memories coming!

  14. Mary Ann says:

    Oh it was so much more fun and romantic than being a teen today. Kissing the photos of Beatles lips instead of watching the VMAs with the very sad not a teen anymore Miley Cyrus. Thanks for sharing this story again!

  15. susan stillwell says:

    How lucky to have come up so close and personal. That was my dream! I loved George. The closest I came was seeing them 2 times at the Cow Palace and then their final concert at Candelstick Park. These shows were in San Franciso. One silly little story….the first show on the Ed Sullivan Show, I was so excited. I stood if front of the t.v. taking pictures with the family’s little Brownie camera. I had to wait many days for the store to develop these photo’s. I could hardly wait. They finally called and my mom took me to pick them up. Oh no, how terrible!!
    The pictures were just pictures of a blank t.v. screen. So much for technology back in the 60’s. My brothers laughed so hard at me as I cried my eyes out!

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhhh, meanies! I had to run from living room to family room with a pile of little kids chasing me. They wanted to be with the “teenager” — but then they made too much noise and the teenager wanted to be ALONE!

  16. Kathy says:

    Loved your story about meeting the Beatles you lucky duck! I saw them live in concert at Shea Stadium in New York in August 1965. I was 15 and thrilled to see them even though we couldn’t hear them singing because of the thousands of hysterically screaming teenage girls (including me and my girlfriends). I will always remember that day as the highlight of my teenage years! Thanks for reminding me 🙂 !

  17. Judy from Maine says:

    How exciting your adventure with the Beatles. The closest I came was knowing a police officer in NY City that was part of the detail to meet them at the airport and escort them to Manhatten for their Ed Sullivan performance. He actually showed me a cigarette stub that belonged to one of the Beatles. At the time I was so impressed…now I think ugh.

  18. Isabel Bevan says:

    I live in England, across the water (River Mersey) from Liverpool – home of The Beatles! It was wonderful here in the 60’s. Although I was a little too young to be allowed to go to The Cavern (I have been since!), trips to Liverpool were exciting. Your story brought back so many memories of the Swinging Sixities! We ran through the streets of Liverpool chasing their cars on their return from the States, we watched as they stood on the balcony of the town hall. I saw them in concert in Liverpool in 1964. Happy days! Paul visits Wirral where I live as he still has family here; I saw him once! I was “chaufeusse” to his brother, Mike, for a day when my company was making a promotional video – aww, how exciting! Thank you, Susan for bringing the memories back! And thank you too for your wonderful book “A Fine Romance” which I pre-ordered!

  19. tracy says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful article! It made me feel so good…really needed that today 🙂

  20. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for all the great Beatles stories! I was 11 in 1963….totally over the moon and swept away by the Beatles ever since. Just saw the movie “Good Ol’Freda” (available on DVD) – wonderful and inspiring documentary film featuring the Beatles secretary, Freda Kelly. A must see for all Beatles fans! It’s amazing to see what it was like in the early days, and what was done with all that fan mail…..different times before the internet! Also you learn more about their families, which is fascinating. Here’s a link to the official website and trailer.

  21. Collette says:

    Loved reading about your “wild” adventure with the Beatles! For a moment I was back in the sixties reliving the time when everything British was cool! A frosted tube of Yardley lip-slicker, my hair just like the ad with fat yarn ties in school colors, and the chokers! And of course the music! Thanks for reminding us of such fun times.

  22. Roseann Copeland says:

    What a wonderful story I loved reading this!
    Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

  23. gail says:

    I loved the Beatles and screamed when they were on TV. Also, thanks for the info on Jean shrimpton. I loved her growing up.

  24. Melanie says:

    Hi, Susan,
    Such a great adventure and story!! I was neck-deep in all the Beatle frenzy back then too! Collected everything I could find about them. I never had the opportunity you had but my best friend did see them at Shea stadium. She couldn’t hear anything because of all the screaming but she loved it! Thanks for the story and bringing back the memories.

  25. Nora Egan says:

    Another note, Susan — this year, June 26, my friend and I are going to see Paul McCartney in concert. It’s taken 50 years to see him. My mother wouldn’t let me go to the Indiana State Fair in September 1964 when they did two shows (can you imagine) at a cost of about $3 to $5 for a ticket. It was only an hour-and-a-half away, geeze, Mom. Anyway, when we heard he was going to be touring in our area, I told some friends and even asked my (much younger) boss to call in any favors he had out there because at my age, either Paul or I might die before we get to breathe the same air! I simply had to have tickets! One of my dear friends offered us seats! Sections 109, row V, seats 1 & 2. We’re 14 all over again and can’t wait to cheer along with the Other Girlfriends when Paul comes on stage. “It was 50 years ago today / Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play . . . . “

  26. Sue Graham says:

    Would love to have a memory of seeing them 50 years ago, but I wasn’t allowed. Oh well. But, DH and I saw Ringo and His All Starr Band last week at Wolf Trap, in VA. It was a wonderful performance and I was thrilled to finally see a Beatle live! And here’s something Beatle lovers might like – a book of quilts inspired by Beatles songs will be available in Aug. Look it up on Amazon- “Inspired by The Beatles: An Art Quilt Challenge” by Donna DeSoto. There are 150 quilts and my quilt will be in it, too. 🙂 The quilts will be touring the U.S. for a couple of years. I’ve seen some and they’re wonderful!! Makes you sing all the songs! 🙂

  27. Donna DeSoto says:

    Susan, I just discovered your story tonight and enjoyed it so much! I have been a huge fan of yours and it is really cool to know now that we share this passion for the Beatles! Where are you located? I’ll be able to tell you if the Beatles quilt exhibit will travel near you! Otherwise, I really do hope you check out this book when it comes out in a few weeks. So many people worked very hard on it, but it was truly so much fun!

  28. I am so jealous! I was convinced that if Paul ever met me he would fall in love instantly. So much for fantasy.

  29. Josie Brady says:

    Reading these comments certainly took me back. I was 23 with 5 children aged 5, 4 and 2 year old triplets when the Beatle madness struck. I have loved their music ever since. I do have a sort of connection with the Beatles, as my husband of the past 16 years was working as a pubiclity photographer when the Beatles toured Australia. One of his clients was Festival Records, and he travelled with the Beatles on their tour. Of the 4 of them he liked Paul the most.

    I’m 75 now, and it shocked me just now to realise that John would have been approaching his 74th birthday, had he been still alive. In my memory they will always be young men.

  30. Nancy A says:

    I was 7 when my family went to Miami Beach, FL. It was the year the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. Our hotel was right next door to the Deauville where they were going to be on Ed Sullivan. We had tickets to the show. Since we already had the tickets my parents wanted to eat dinner before the show…so when we came out from dinner it was absolute chaos! We couldn’t get near the ballroom! They had given out way too many tickets!! The next day my mother, brother & I were walking down the street and these girls came running past us, just about knocked me over… a convertible went by with Paul, George & Patty and went to their hotel. Our hotel also overlooked their pool.So I did get to see them…. went back this past summer to reminisce , our son now lives in Miami!

  31. Cathy McQuillan says:

    Oh, Susan! You met them! So many wonderful memories… Ed Sullivan Show, listening to the radio, memorizing lyrics, seeing their movies, collecting magazines, photos, and news clippings (that I still have), seeing them at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1965 when I was 16 years old-paying $5.50 for my ticket, continuing to follow their lives and careers…. and now still going to many of Paul’s concerts and Ringo’s too! Actually, the Beatles even influenced my career in education. I was a student at the University of Illinois and in my junior year (1970) they offered a semester in England to study at a British teachers’ college. Well, of course I signed up -maybe I’d meet the Beatles! Sadly, I never met them, even though I went to Liverpool. But, that experience influenced the kind of teacher and adult I became. Beatles Forever!

  32. Linda Felkel says:

    Like Josie wrote, it also took me back to my teenager years in South Africa! I was so much in love with them. Especially George!

    I was lucky to get at a magazine “Fabulous” from England packed with news and photos about beat groups performing the Mersey Beat and Liverpool sound. Of course there were news about the Beatles in almost every edition. Also regular news about Mary Quant, Carnaby Street Fashion and Twiggy!

  33. REGENA BURROW says:


  34. Pat Harmon says:

    LOVE these memories of my love, the Beatles. I did get to see them in Indy at the state fair. I was in college and had every album, played them all the time. Someone put a sign on my dorm door, Queen Beatle Fan. The teenage boppers were definitely screaming too loudly. I was there to listen to THEM! So I sat through the concert with my fingers in my ears which filtered out most of the screaming. Nirvana! When I need a pickup, besides looking at something Susan, I also sing with the Boys. I have enjoyed learning what a great showman and performer Ringo still is. Recently read a wonderful article on him in a Rolling Stone mag. It is going into my keepsake box. Rock on!

  35. You go girl! Great memory that you have shared with the rest of us. Your memory of this is like a permanent golden ticket!

    Cheers, Ben

    • sbranch says:

      You can find the longer more complete version of this story in my new book Fairy Tale Girl . . . in case you’re interested, Ben! More golden ticket!

  36. Laura S. says:

    Very cool story! I never got to meet them but I certainly remember going to the theater to see Help! And the girls all going wild and those sturdy fold up theater seats all getting broken from the jumping. I’ve never seen the likes since. Magical days!

  37. Nancy Newsom says:

    I saw the Beatles when they came to Dallas in 1964, and I was one of thousands of screaming teenage girls in the crowd! What an experience! Someone was selling their tickets and my mom got them for me as a surprise. What a mom!

  38. Glenda Edmunds says:

    What a magical time!! Thanks for sharing it with us! You were certainly on a mission, and sometimes it doesn’t hurt to be a bit bold 😉 I was only 7 in 1963, but I do remember the absolute stir that they created when they came to the states! We lived in So. Cal. at the time.

  39. Jodi Hendon says:

    Several years ago, I went to a one-woman play titled “Beatlemaniac,” and it was sweet and funny and brought back so many memories. I was 12 when they were on Sullivan, and the author/actor was about the same age as I am.

    She and three of her friends wrote stories (on notebook paper, of course) about meeting them, falling in love, marrying, etc. As she said, the idea that four grown men would fall in love with 12-13 year olds didn’t seem strange back then. (And they thought being married meant kissing a lot.) One of them solved the problem of parental interference by killing hers off in one of the stories!

    On stage, in the background, she had four young girls who helped act out the scenarios. One lipsynched “Remember Me?” by Rita Pavone.

    The author said she was going to marry Paul, and after the play, I told her that NO, I WAS going to marry him. Only now, we realized that we’re too old for him, when back then, we were too young.

    I made my own Beatles scrapbook, and when my son did a report on John Lennon, he was able to use some of the articles I’d saved as reference. My mother hated them, naturally, and I only had two of their albums when I graduated high school. Now, I have most of the LPs, and my son bought me their two compilation CDs, Beatles 1 and 2, several years ago.

    Because I got Revolver for Christmas and bought Abbey Road around Christmas, playing them reminds me of those long-ago Christmases. I tease my son that he thinks “Bang Bang, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is a Christmas song.

  40. Catherine Palmer says:

    I won tickets to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium.
    When and where can I tell my story online?
    Catherine Palmer
    [email protected]

  41. Allis says:

    Great story! I can’t help but notice that Paul McCartney’s autograph in 1964 was completely different. Google for images of his autograph and you will see. It’s odd.

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe it changed over time, or perhaps others signed for him, but his old stuff (like that card from 1964) still has the open P, the “C” in the Mc is bigger than the next “C” in Cartney … his Y drags off long and down at the end … this jacket is one example . . . 🎸😃

  42. Kathy Mahon says:

    Oh Susan! This story so reminds me of the time myself and my crazy girlfriend met Donovan 52 years ago in 1971! I of course was his biggest fan and we saw him the night before at St Joes College in Phila Pa. I had his concert book from a previous concert and there was an add for Holiday Inns and it said “Donovan Slept Here”! My friend and I started calling all of the Holiday Inns in the Phila area putting on an English accent. The last one on the list the operator connected us to his room. He answered on the third ring. We spoke for over an hour. Me gushing how much I loved him! They were leaving the next day for Boston and he invited us to meet him the next morning for tea in the hotel coffee shop. We went the next day and he was in the hotel lobby on the phone. He waved to us and when he finished his call we went into the coffee shop. I sat right next to him at the counter. I thought I was going to die! He finished before us and invited us to his room to meet the band and his wife Linda. We finished quickly and went to the room. He was restringing his guitar from the night before and wrapped all the strings and put them into the little LaBella envelopes and gave them to me along with a signed 8 x 10 glossy photogragh of him. Fast forward to 2002 I met him again in Phila at the Tin Angel. Showed him the guitar strings and he resigned the photo. We met again a year later at The Stone Pony in NJ. I will never ever forget these special moments and keep them close in my heart. Also my mom took my sister and I to see the Beatles in Atlantic City NJ in 1964. Wow!

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it amazing how you remember every detail? Love your story. Loved Donovan of course, but never met him! He sounds like a pure sweetheart!

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