Why The Beatles’ Shows Reportedly Always Smelled Like Urine

The Beatles had a unique effect on their most devoted fans, many of whom were young girls. An audience member of a Beatles show could hardly hear John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr over all the screaming. But, apparently, the band’s super fans did more than just scream. There are a few accounts from people who suggest it wasn’t unusual for people to pee their pants at a Fab Four show, due to excitement.  

The Beatles playing a show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Beatles | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

What I associate most with The Beatles is the smell of girls’ urine’

HuffPost reported that “Multiple people have claimed Beatles shows were known for their urine.” One of them was John B. Lynn, the son of the owner of a venue The Beatles played at. He told The Washington Post that the concert hall smelled like the pee of over-excited girls after the show. 

In 2010, Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof told Q Magazine that he was stunned at the number of young girls “p*ssing themselves” at a Beatles show he attended in the 1960s. 

“The Beatles was a case of watching females in excelsis,” he said. “It’s the old cliché, but you couldn’t hear them for all the screaming. I remember looking down at the cinema floor and seeing these rivulets of piss in the aisles. The girls were literally p*ssing themselves with excitement. So what I associate most with The Beatles is the smell of girls’ urine.”

The Beatles couldn’t hear themselves play over their screaming fans

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When Starr appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2015, he described what it was like playing to an audience who never stopped screaming.

“We couldn’t hear us,” he said. “So, you know, it seemed to be you came to see The Beatles and then Paul counted and then you just screamed until we bowed and left. But it was great. The atmosphere was great.”

While the band found the atmosphere to be electric, they realized they were “becoming really mediocre musicians.” All Starr managed to do during many of those shows was “just keep time.” He had to watch “John’s a**” to stay on beat.

So the band began focusing on improving their talents. 

“We made a conscious decision — we were becoming loose musicians — and so we decided, ‘We need to go in a studio and see what we’ve really got.’ And that’s what started that,” he said. “And we got some great stuff.”

Even the Fab Four didn’t know why they had the effect they did on their fans 

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The way people reacted to The Beatles was something new. There had been beloved stars before the band came about, but the mass hysteria that followed Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr around was unprecedented. Even the boys didn’t know why they inspired such passion from their fans. 

“I suppose millions of words have been written on the effect we have on fans,” Harrison wrote in his column for the Daily Express in 1964 (assisted by Daily Express writer Derek Taylor), as recorded in the book George Harrison on George Harrison. “Psychiatrists get into the act everywhere we go. And sociologists. And psychologists. The facts, as we always say, are that we don’t know why we make audiences react the way that they do. They just do it.”