Author News and Book Reports
Candy Leonard traces the emotions of Beatlemania to a culture of Beatleness fifty years later
With a brief introduction, first-generation Beatles fan and sociologist Candy Leonard took the microphone at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and explained her motivation to write Beatleness (Arcade Publishing; August, 2014), adding one more title to the thousands that have already been written about John, Paul, George, and Ringo, pointing out the scarcity of sociological studies of the Beatles phenomenon, especially from the female fan's perspective. Reading from her book, Leonard then detailed the worldwide phenomenon known as Beatlemania, marked by the Beatles' historic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show two months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and how it affected children and parents alike around the world. Next, reading from a chapter titled No Girls Allowed, Leonard examined the gender norms of the day, in which there were no girl bands and very little known about the women who played in male-dominated bands before reading a chapter called 'A Fan Ritual,' offering perspective on female fans screaming at Beatles concerts. Leonard wrapped her appearance with a reading from Beatleness of a chapter called 'Say the Word and Be Like Me,' recalling how the Beatles' invasion of America ushered in a swift change in cultural authority, inspiring protest songs like 'Eve of Destruction' sung by Barry McGuire, for instance, which came out about two months before the Beatles' groundbreaking Rubber Soul album, one of the five greatest albums of all time, according to Rolling Stone magazine.