Following up on their groundbreaking 1964 sold-out concert at the Bowl, The Beatles returned for two performances the following year, August 29th and 30th. Tickets were $3, $4, $5, $6 and $7. Naturally, both shows sold out and with a capacity of just over 17,600, the band grossed $156,000 (almost $1.2 million in today’s dollars. This was The Beatles’ third and final concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Back then, kids learned about and bought tickets through what today we call “traditional media.” AM radio station KRLA presented the concerts and promoters placed full-page ads in the Los Angeles Times, with a coupon that fans had to mail in on a specific date to order tickets.
And mail in they did. Fan and Beatles at the Bowl concertgoer Sharon Weisz remembers, “My parents didn’t subscribe to the Times so I had to go out and buy a copy, get my mother to write a check and take it to the mailbox. It couldn’t be mailed before a certain date so I had to wait for that. I asked for $7 tickets but got $5 and they sent back a refund check to cover the difference.”
The band appeared at 9:22 PM and, according to Los Angeles Times Entertainment Editor Charles Champlin, “Exactly at 9:55 the Beatles dashed off stage and a flying wedge of 10 policemen with nightsticks drawn escorted them to their armored car and cleared a path through screaming fans as it pulled away.”
The set list was the same 12 songs both nights, a 33-minute combination of original material and covers:
Twist And Shout
She’s A Woman
I Feel Fine
Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Ticket To Ride
Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby
Can’t Buy Me Love
Baby’s In Black
I Wanna Be Your Man
A Hard Day’s Night
But those fortunate enough to be there didn’t hear much musical nuance. The sound was so drowned out by screaming that it took until 1977 for some of the material to make it out on the LP The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. The release was delayed by primitive recording technology – three-track, half-inch tape recording, the inability of the band to hear its own performance and multiple recording glitches – plus of course all that screaming.
The two August 1965 performances were recorded by Capitol Records. Five songs from this date – Twist And Shout, She’s A Woman, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Can’t Buy Me Love and A Hard Day’s Night – were included on the 1977 album The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl. Dizzy Miss Lizzy was a composite edit of the 29 and 30 August performances. In the album’s liner notes, George Martin, describes “the eternal shriek of 17,000 healthy young lungs [that] made even a jet plane inaudible.” (Los Angeles Times reviewer Champlin called it “an absolute avalanche of shrill sound [that] penetrated everybody’s deepest molecules.”) Martin and an engineer were finally able to transfer the three-tracks to 16-track tape and get to work. It turned out that the August 29, 1965 show was virtually unusable, so the live album consists of performances from 1964 and August 30, 1965.
The performance of Baby’s In Black was also included on the 1996 single Real Love, preceded by John Lennon’s spoken introduction from the 29 August performance. The Hollywood Bowl recordings were also used to bulk up the sound of the film The Beatles At Shea Stadium, and were incorporated into the soundtrack on 5 January 1966. After the concert The Beatles held a pool-side party for around a dozen reporters who had accompanied them on the North America tour. The final stop took place the following night at San Francisco’s Cow Palace.