The Police ‘Had a Great Time’ Protecting the Beatles From ‘Exuberant’ Fans

The Beatles were known for their “exuberant” fans — even sparking the term “Beatlemania.” (There was even a time when Ringo Starr’s then-girlfriend was scratched by a crazed fan.) Here’s what these artists said about their dangerous experiences with crowds, with Paul McCartney joking about police involvement. 

The Beatles sparked ‘Beatlemania’ with their ‘exuberant’ fan base

The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, pictured on their arrival in London following a tour
John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr of The Beatles, pictured on their arrival in London | Fox Photos/Getty Images

The Beatles is the band behind “Strawberry Field Forever,” “In My Life,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and other hits. Together, McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr made history with their impact on pop culture. 

They were also one of the first rock groups from the UK to make it big in America — and across the globe. At the height of their popularity, the Beatles were the cause of mass hysteria among fans, with some screaming, vomiting, and even fainting at the sight of the Fab Four. The phenomenon was named “Beatlemania,” which was later discussed by band members. 

The Beatles ‘enjoyed’ their ‘exuberant fans’

The Beatles were aware of their cultural impact — and their fans’ enthusiasm. This could sometimes cause health concerns for the band members, with the Beatles needing police escorts while abroad. 

During their 1964 “Meet the Beatles” segment, the interviewer asked if there was a time the Beatles felt they were “in danger” due to “exuberant fans.”

“Well they get exuberant, you know, but we’re uhh — We enjoy it,” McCartney replied (via Beatles Interviews). “We don’t come to any harm, ‘cuz the policemen are equally as exuberant. The police have a great time.”

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The Beatles (and people close to them) were sometimes physically injured by fans

In her 2005 memoir John, John Lennon’s ex-wife, Cynthia, detailed dangerous moments for the “Beatles Girls.” That includes one physical assault by a fan on Ringo Starr’s partner, Mo Starkey. 

“When Ringo started dating Maureen, she had to pretend she wasn’t seeing him,” Lennon wrote. “One night she was waiting for him in the car outside a gig when a girl came up, put her hand through the window, and scratched her face.” 

“She managed to lock the doors and wind up the window before the girl could do anything worse, but it shook her,” she added. This incident even led the then-pregnant Cynthia Lennon to stop visiting the band at gigs. 

It was an obsessed fan that murdered John Lennon years after the Beatles stopped performing as a group. The “Give Peace a Chance” singer was shot in New York City in 1980 by Mark David Chapman.

​​“Years later, when John was killed by a ‘fan,’ the memory of his kindness to them stayed with me,” Cynthia Lennon noted in the same memoir. “I sometimes wondered whether, if he hadn’t been so patient and fearless, he might still be alive.”