The Beatles played Shea Stadium in New York City on August 15, 1965. They were the first rock group to play an outdoor sports stadium, and the show attracted 55,600 fans - the most attended show of the time. The promoter of the show, Sid Bernstein, said that the concert grossed $304,000, the largest gross from any event in show business up to that point. “It was the biggest crowd we ever played to anywhere in the world,” John Lennon said of the Shea show. “I heard a jet taking off, and I thought one of our amplifiers had blown up. We couldn’t hear ourselves sing.” The noise was so deafening that at the end of the show, during “I’m Down,” Lennon began playing a keyboard with his elbows while the whole group laughed hysterically. A documentary about the show, The Beatles at Shea Stadium, was produced by Ed Sullivan and was broadcast on ABC-TV the following year. The Beatles played a second show at Shea on August 23, 1966. It was one of their final live performances.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s newly revamped Beatles exhibit includes the jacket that Paul McCartney wore at the first Shea show and a poster (pictured above) advertising the 1966 Shea show. It also includes a suit that George Harrison wore on the group’s 1966 U.S. tour.
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