Valley woman remembers role in Beatlemania


by Jason Volentine

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonvolentine

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 6:55 PM

The Beatles arrived in the United States for the first time 50 years ago, and one Valley woman remembers their arrival well.

Joann Flood was caught up in Beatlemania the moment the band’s plane touched down at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. The music caught her and her friends, she said, and everybody grew to love the band.

"I remember like it was yesterday, watching them come off their Pan-Am plane," she said.

Photographers surrounded the Beatles as they held a press conference, she said.

"They were very snarky, and they were sarcastic, but funny and cute and comical," Flood added.

One day, Flood decided to join her best friend Vicky and her cousin in standing outside the Beatles’ New York hotel, along with thousands of screaming fans. They brought a sign with photos of the Fab Four, saying "BEATLES PLEASE STAY HERE 4-EVER." A photographer from the New York Times wandered by them.

"I said, ‘Are we going to be in the newspaper?'" Flood said. "He said, 'Yeah, I’m sure you will. Just look this week.'"

Flood never saw the picture until Vicky called out of the blue, four decades later, telling her to pick up a copy of Vogue magazine. She flipped the page and found a photo of herself and the sign.

"I just about flipped out," she said. "I’m like, That’s our sign. My cousin, that’s me, that’s Vicky."

The photo has become an icon of Beatlemania. Penelope Rowlands, a bystander in the photo, used it for the cover of her book, "The Beatles Are Here." The book remembers 50 years of the Beatles with stories from Flood and her friend Vicky, as well as writers, musicians and other fans.