Category Archives: British Invasion

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: The Beatles Last Live Performance at Candlestick Park

Candlestick ParkAfter a tumultuous and crazy summer, The Beatles wrapped up what would be their third and final tour of the U.S. on August 29, 1966. So many events happened in the summer of 1966, some major ones that were unrelated to music, that the final tour stop at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park seemed anticlimactic.

No one knew that this would be the last time that The Beatles would perform in front of a paying audience. The band wasn’t even selling out their venues. I would think this would be a minor point of discussion because tens of thousands were still seeing them every show. It’s just that instead of selling out 50,000 seats, they would sell 44,000. Still very impressive and the only band around capable of doing that at the time. The Rolling Stones stadium days wouldn’t happen until a few years in the future.

But the years of constantly being in the spotlight and the media circus that occurred at every show began to take both a physical and mental toll. And that would be under normal conditions. The Beatle bubble was anything but normal.

So a Beatlemania that was a furious wave of attention and wanderlust, ended up finishing as a sort of disinterested whimper. If you’ve seen any clips from that era, such as at Budukan, you saw a band that seemed preoccupied, bored, and slow. They were anything but ‘tight’ as a band—which is what their reputation had been based on.

Some of it wasn’t their fault. Stadium sound was still terrible even though they had been playing them for a couple of years. They also had evolved individually so that all of them did not have the same goals.

I never had a chance to see The Beatles play live. I was still young and couldn’t swing that deal. But I sure would have been ecstatic to fill up one of those empty seats, no matter what the mood of the band was at that time.

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It Was 50 Years Ago Today: “Rubber Soul!!!”

When I was a wee lad, my family liked to go on “vacations.” It was an annual thing, like what a lot of people did by automobile. Since we didn’t have video games and I wasn’t into drawing, I was curious about the papers with the squiggly lines. Probably, to shut me up, someone took the time to explain what everything meant. Well, I learned pretty quickly how to read a map before I learned how to read.

My older brother, who would go out of town for no reason in particular, would take me along because I was so good at map reading. At the end of December 1965 and the beginning of 1966, while I was still on Christmas break, my brother tapped me to go out east to Massachusetts with him. It wasn’t a bad deal. I got to eat at all the restaurants and see the mountains with snow on them. (I would do this so often, that I knew where all of the McDonald’s were between Detroit and Boston! Mmmmm!)

And once again to occupy myself, I usually got to spin the dial on the radio. That is, unless it was top of the hour. Then my brother wanted to hear news and weather. It was a pretty good deal. Of course, when he got tired of my mixture of British Invasion, Motown soul, and anything else I could find, he sometimes would lock in on some country station. Ugh!

During that Christmas break, we both heard a lot of “Monday, Monday” by The Mamas and The Papas, but also an unbelievable amount of “Michelle” by The Beatles. I remember hearing that song driving around mountains and through small Canadian towns in the early hours before dawn, because the fastest way to Massachusetts was shooting across Ontario on the 401.

Right now, it was fifty years ago today that “Rubber Soul,” the album that “Michelle” was released as a single from, ruled the top of the charts for six weeks. I had no knowledge of the album. That was beyond my scope at the time. But I knew I loved The Beatles, and it was great having them be the occasional soundtrack for one Christmas vacation so long ago!