I'm not sure anyone who came of age after Beatlemania can really understand it. Sure, there have been popular performers, but not a whole nation (and world) going completely nuts over a band. When the Beatles' plane landed in America, radio stations covered it live. And my 7th grade Home Ec teacher let us listen to this IN CLASS. It was as important as a spaceshot (which in those days we also dropped everything to hear).
I had a British pen pal J who sent me fan magazines, so I had heard of the Beatles before they hit in the U.S. In fact, J claimed to have met them and sent me an autograph book with their signatures. It did look like their handwriting, but to this day I'm not sure it's real.
In any case, I was hooked on the music and especially Paul, "the cute one." I watched all their TV appearances, and devoured teen magazines like "16" and "Datebook" which often included G-rated accounts of lucky girls who managed to meet the lads (something like, "I opened an unmarked door in the hotel, and there was Paul! He smiled, touched my hair and said, 'Hello, Luv'"). I saw "Help" in the movie theater 4 times (favorite scene: Paul saying "Up up up!"), and even sent away for a square cut from an airport motel sheet that Paul supposedly slept on.
At ages 11-13, I was too young to be allowed to attend those early concerts at Carnegie Hall and Shea Stadium. Radio station WMCA knew their audience and provided the next best thing: a live broadcast from the final Shea Stadium concert in 1965. For legal reasons, they couldn't play the concert itself so they'd do commentary to a background of screaming girls and throw on a record of the same song when the music actually began. Afterward, they played "I'll Be Back" which comforted me to think they would be back and someday I'd hear them. Who knew that someday would be 44 years later?
Paul was not my first love (there was that boyfriend in pre-kindergarten), but he was my first celebrity crush. As time went on, I never stopped liking the Beatles' music but gradually I grew up and Paul and I both went on to other things. When Linda died and when the Heather Mills (gold-digger!) marriage broke up, there was the fleeting thought of "He's available!" but one must be realistic. Then again, he does like New York Jews (Linda, his current girlfriend Nancy Shevell - and I believe Jane Asher was Jewish, as was the woman Jane caught him in bed with, Francie Schwartz) but probably not really nerdy New York Jews. Besides, he apparently indulges in substances I don't approve of (ick, all those things), and lives on a farm (ick, animals). I don't like older men. And what would one do with a Beatle all day? Listen to him sing? It's over! (sob)
Still, watching him move at Citi and on YouTube videos, my junior high crush instantly returned, and we were 12 and 22 again instead of 57 and 67.