Although The Beatles’ popularity had been growing steadily and to increasingly frantic heights throughout 1963, their appearance at the London Palladium on Sunday 13 October catapulted into the attentions of the mainstream media, who coined the term ‘Beatlemania’ to describe the scenes of screaming fans.
Sunday Night At The London Palladium was a variety entertainment programme that regularly drew huge British TV audiences of up to 15 million people. Competition to appear was fierce, and The Beatles were taking no chances, having spent the previous evening rehearsing.
On the night they appeared briefly at the beginning of the show, before compère Bruce Forsythe told the audience, “If you want to see them again they’ll be back in 42 minutes.”
And indeed they were. The Beatles topped the bill that night, closing the hour-long show. They began with From Me To You, followed by I’ll Get You, which was introduced by Paul McCartney with some jovial interjections from John Lennon.
Then came the finale. Paul McCartney attempted to announce it, but was drowned out by the screams from the frenzied audience. Lennon told them to “shut up”, a gesture which was applauded by the older members in the audience. McCartney then asked them all to clap and stamp their feet, and they began Twist And Shout.
The Beatles’ appearance featured on the ITN news, complete with footage from the group’s dressing room. The following day, meanwhile, newspaper reporters wrote breathless front-page stories about the screaming fans.
The group’s status as a new phenomenon was confirmed, with Beatlemania dominating the airwaves and press for years to come.