The screams had started even before Paul McCartney looked into the audience of “The Ed Sullivan Show” and began singing “All My Loving” before 73 million people.
In an instant, that opening lyric of “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you” became the dream of millions of American teenage girls.
On Feb. 9, 1964, America changed as Beatlemania took hold, aiming straight at the hearts of a teenage population of screaming girls who peppered the Beatles’ pictures with kisses and jealous boys who grew their hair and picked up guitars.
As the band matured from the four, cute suit-wearing guys playing sweet music with a strong beat, they became cultural icons to their Baby Boomer audience.
Some Inland residents shared their brushes with Beatlemania:
John and Kathi McIntyre, Riverside
John McIntyre remembers the girl who wanted to touch his eyes.
As he left the Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 23, 1964, the teen stopped him with the strange request. His eyes had just seen The Beatles in concert — and she had been unable to get in.
Then 15, the Riverside resident declined, and the girl relented.
McIntyre, his older sister and a couple of her friends went to that show, paying the then-outrageous sum of $7 per ticket.
His future wife, Kathi McIntyre, then 14, was at the same show with a group of friends.
“We saw them, that was it. We didn’t hear them, that’s for sure,” Kathi McIntyre said.
A few years later, John and Kathi met and discovered they had both been there that night, one of the many things they had in common.
John McIntrye remembers that people would gather at Gillette’s Records in Riverside’s Brockton Arcade and play Beatles music in the listening room.
Every week, a regular conversation topic would be whether you had heard the newest Beatles song.
“I haven’t really seen anything like it since,” he said.
Bob Murphy, Riverside
The first time Bob Murphy saw The Beatles was on CBS News at the end of 1963 — a report on Beatlemania in England.
In the Inland region, AM stations such as KFXM and K-MEN out of San Bernardino started playing Beatles songs on the radio.
But after Ed Sullivan, they were huge.
Murphy said that as a 14-year-old, he and many of the other guys at school were jealous of the four cute men with British accents.
“Suddenly, everybody wanted to be in a band. There was an explosion of a lot of garage bands in Riverside,” Murphy said.
The Beatles’ songs filled the air at dances; that “oooh” moment of head-shaking in “She Loves You” made the crowd go crazy, Murphy remembered.
Beatle wigs were popular at school, even though they weren’t allowed and boys who wore them were sent home.
By the time the film “A Hard Day’s Night” came out in August 1964, Beatlemania was in full swing.
Murphy went to the now-defunct Arlington Theater to see the black-and-white movie, complete with a special blue ticket with the cutouts of the band members’ heads. He also was handed a black and white publicity photo.
“All the girls screamed through the entire film,” he said. “I had to go to the drive-in to see ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ to understand it.”
Shauna Shaw, Perris
Every week, Shauna Shaw and her family huddled around the TV in their Pomona home to watch “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
It was the music, the simple tunes like “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the boyish look and longer hair — clean cut and a little brazen at the same time — and the British accents that made the group so appealing.
“I used to spend all of my allowance on 45s,” she said.
McCartney was her favorite. She still has the four miniature Beatles dolls that her mother bought, displayed in the same china cabinet all this time.
Her love of the Fab Four has endured.
“I still like them, and I’m 59,” Shaw said.