How the Beatles used jokes to go viral

How the Beatles Went Viral talks about how the group went from unknowns to the biggest pop stars in the USA in just six weeks. Their humor was a key part of it. For example, an early gig in front of the Royal Family...

Famously, Lennon introduced the band's finale that evening, "Twist and Shout," with the quip, "Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry." It was a display of cheekiness that heretofore one simply didn't exhibit before the Royal Family.. And yet, by narrowing the distance between the monarchy and the working-class foursome onstage, Lennon brought down the house-and in the process managed to make the band all the more beloved in an England where notions of one's proper place were evolving rapidly. Even the Queen Mother came away a fan, calling the Beatles "so young, fresh and vital"...

At 1:20 p.m. on Feb. 7, the Beatles arrived stateside on Pan Am flight 101, greeted by the high-pitched squeals of approximately 4,000 teenagers, plus more than 200 reporters and photographers and 100 police officers. The crowd was larger and louder than that which Sullivan had chanced upon three months earlier at London Airport. At the famous press conference conducted inside the airport, defying the low expectations journalists had of rock'n'rollers in that era, the Beatles' charisma and wit wowed the skeptical crowd. If anything, it was the reporters who appeared to be the dullards, asking banal questions-"What do you think of Beethoven?"-which the Beatles fielded with their patented cheekiness-"Great," Ringo Starr replied. "Especially his poems."

Nothing like a good zinger to get folks on your side.


1 Comment(s)

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2/18/14, 11:13 AM