Our cover this month, “John Lennon 1965 (Hotel)” (17.1 in. by 14.2 in.) by Elizabeth Peyton, sold for $594,843 at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale in London on June 25, 2013. The year 1965 was big for the Beatles, and August of that year was particularly noteworthy, as it saw the start of their second American tour, kicked off by an event that marked the height of worldwide “Beatlemania”: the Aug. 15, 1965 concert in Shea Stadium
The most famous concert of its era and one of the most noteworthy of all time, the Shea Stadium show set then-records for attendance and revenue with over 55,000 in attendance and a total gate of roughly $304,000. Interestingly, concertgoers claimed that the deafening crowd noise, combined with the distance of the band from the crowd, made the actual music itself nigh inaudible. At one point, noting the ridiculousness of the situation, John Lennon began to bang away at the keyboard with his elbow during a song while the rest of the band laughed hysterically. In spite of the poor acoustics, this concert represented a watershed moment for popular music and remains an important hallmark of the era.