If you know my mom, Yvonne Nicks, even slightly, you will know she is a life long Beatles fan. Recently, Yvonne was asked to recall her memories of attending The Beatles concert at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum in Indianapolis on September 3, 1964. Yvonne Nicks’ essay titled “Beatles or Bust!” is part of a local display commemorating the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. The Beatles played two shows that day at the fairgrounds as part of their first US tour, it was their 10th stop on the 24 city tour. Tickets ranged from $3 to $5, but looking back 50 years later for many, it was a priceless opportunity to see the Fab Four as they changed the course of Rock n’ Roll forever. Here is an excerpt from “Beatles or Bust! ” by Yvonne Nicks:
From left to right: Lynn Nicks, Karen Klise, Yvonne Nicks, and Bev Heston
Picture taken September 3rd, 1964 before traveling to see The Beatles at Indiana State Fair
“By the summer of 1964, Karen Klise 12, Beverly Heston 12, Lynn Nicks 13 and Yvonne Nicks 12 were already mesmerized by everything that included Beatlemania. They bought the English band’s music and they watched the Beatles’ ascent to America on television, amongst adoring fans in February of 1964. The Beatles, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were going to make a live appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York. “I remember sitting 3 feet away from Beverly’s television so I wouldn’t miss a thing!” recalls Yvonne Nicks. The handsome mop-top Beatles sang their two hits on the Billboard charts, I Want to Hold your Hand and She Loves You, and the studio audience was in a frenzy. They were a big hit! The girls had never seen anything like it before.
One day, Karen Klise called Yvonne Nicks to tell her of a wonderful surprise! Karen’s mother, Autumn Klise, had four tickets to see the Beatles at the Indiana State Fair set for September 1964. Karen’s mother was willing to take the girls there but also invited Yvonne’s mother, Charlotte Nicks to ride along. Needless to say, the girls could hardly wait and it seemed to be a long summer. The girls read a lot of fan magazines and found out what kind of cigarettes the band liked and asked their mothers to purchase the cigarettes for them. The idea being that they thought that they would be sitting close enough to the stage to just toss them up to their favorite Beatle. Also, in preparation for the big day, the girls made a sign to put in the back window of the car that said “Beatles or Bust”. They also saved cans and put them on a string to tie to the car’s muffler.”
To read more of Yvonne Nicks’ essay “Beatles or Bust!” and other local Beatles collections and stories, please visit the Center for History located at 808 W. Washington, South Bend, Indiana. The exhibit can be viewed now until July 27, 2014.
On a personal note, it’s very hard to imagine my Grandmother (or any other mother, for that matter) driving 3 hours with tin cans dragging behind the car’s bumper. It was indeed, “Beatles or Bust!”