On This Day (January 16)…The Beatles at L’Olympia

The Beatles performed on this day in 1964 at L’Olympia in Paris.

It was the first night of a massive, eighteen-day engagement in which they played two or even three shows a day. They shared the bill over this period with multiple other notable acts, including French singer Sylvie Vartan and American singer Trini Lopez (source).

Sylvie Vartan with the Beatles. Retrieved from here.

On this night, while their first show in the afternoon reportedly went well, with a sold-out crowd. It was the evening show which has gone down in history as being a bit of a mess. The night crew were the older, well-dressed Parisian crowd, who gave the band a more restrained welcome. The trouble also included the electrical system of the venue, which was quite old and not up to the challenge of supporting the Beatles’ equipment. They lost power three times as a result (source), further dampening the mood. Some sites also report that journalists standing backstage began rioting due to the small space and the competition for good lines of sight (source).

The night was, altogether, disappointing as a result of these things. The group’s moods were lifted, however, when they received news later that night that their song “I Want To Hold Your Hand” had become a Number 1 hit in the United States (source).

It appears that at least portions of these performances were recorded, and show up on YouTube.

I speak in greater detail on L’Olympia, the venue at which they performed, here.

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