This historical marker, set in place on September 16, 1984, commemorates the twentieth anniversary of the only Beatles concert in New Orleans. The Beatles played City Park Stadium on September 16, 1964. In an appropriate nod to the beginning of the band’s historic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, the marker reads, “It was twenty years ago today John Lennon brought the band to play.” The beginning lyrics of the Sgt. Pepper album are, “It was twenty years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.”
The New Orleans concert was an average performance for the band during their touring days. The deafening sounds of screaming teenage girls all but drowned out the sound of their music. The 12,000-person crowd erupted in the fervor typical of the fandom that became known as Beatlemania. Florence Hughes, who covered the band’s visit for the Baton Rouge State-Times newspaper, report that “the girls broke into hysterics when Ringo began singing “Boys,” and the football field was swarming with fans.” Sarah Whelan, who attended the concert as a first-grader with her family, recalled, “people just tore the place apart . . . The screams were constant. Girls were crying, they were collapsing. And they rushed the field.” New Orleans was the band’s twenty-second stop on The Beatles’ North American tour, in which they visited twenty-five cities and played thirty-one concerts.
The Beatles’ opening acts were Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Jackie DeShannon, Bill Black Combo, and the Exciters. Clarence “Frogman” Henry, born on March 19, 1937, in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, is known as an R&B singer as well as a piano and trombone player. Jackie DeShannon, born on August 21, 1941, is a singer-songwriter and one of the first female musicians of this type to emerge during the rock n’ roll era. William Patton “Bill” Black, Jr. (1926-1965) is considered instrumental in the formation of rock n’ roll. The Exciters were an African-American pop group popular during the sixties.