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In Lecture #13 about A Hard Day's Night, Vanessa Ament and Gary Rydstrom mention that many people were not initially fans of The Beatles but were in fact afraid of them. This might have something to do with postwar conditions in London and England generally after World War II. London had been bombed, and many people in London and England were still suffering from the effects of war. They were probably very cautious about radical change because they had recently experienced radical and violent change. And economic recovery was a lot slower in England than it was in the United States. Postwar life was hard for the British.

During the 1950s, many teenagers in London and England started dressing in the Edwardian fashion and became known as Teddy Boys. Some joined gangs and were responsible for some violence in London. (from Wikipedia: "Some Teds [Teddy Boys] formed gangs and gained notoriety following violent clashes with rival gangs which were often exaggerated by the popular press. The most notable were the 1958 Notting Hill race riots, in which Teddy Boys were present in large numbers and were implicated in attacks on the West Indian community. The violent lifestyle was sensationalised in the pulp novel Teddy Boy by Ernest Ryman, first published in the UK in 1958.") I think many were afraid that The Beatles were representative of the Teddy Boys and might advocate radical change and even violence.

Does anyone have more information to add about this?

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The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein got rid of their leather jackets and put them in matching grayish/brown suits, even with the costumey round collars, so although their hair was attention-getting and radical the rest of them was at least recognizable. By the time they appeared on Ed Sullivan they were wearing traditional suits and ties, which they also wore in A Hard Day's Night. The Rolling Stones, on the other hand, were anarchy.  

This 1972 Rolling Stone article on the Teddy Boys, mentions how they hated the Beatles, who they claimed ruined the original 1950's versions of rockabilly and rock songs.

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I do remember that Brian Epstein had to clean up The Beatles to make them more marketable. They were playing in some pretty tough places in Hamburg, Germany, and elsewhere before they made it big. Hamburg was and is a major port city.

Thanks for the article from Rolling Stone. Even The Beatles had their detractors!

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