Ah, Look at All the Dear Beatle People!

Just when you’re convinced that not another word could possibly be penned about The Beatles, along comes a book that not only (brilliantly) covers fab, new territory but does so with meticulous research and artistic attention to detail. Sara Schmidt’s new volume, Dear Beatle People: The Story of The Beatles North American Fan Clubs is such a book. And it’s destined to become a collector’s item.

A gorgeous hardback volume with over 100 new photos (many in color) featuring a one-of-a-kind cover by esteemed Beatles artist Eric Cash, Dear Beatle People captures the essence of the 1960s fan club experience. On each page, fan photos, concert tickets, club charters, and rare keepsakes are artfully arranged in museum-quality display under the auspices of layout designer Amy McGrath Hughes. And the content – researched and written by Schmidt and edited by Janet Davis of Octopus’ Garden – is fascinating. There is much to discover in the pages of this exquisitely presented volume.

For example, what North American City boasted the first Beatles Fan Club? Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and New York all claim the distinction. (The answer is New Orleans, but the who, what, where, and whys are intriguing!) Which North American cities boasted “sanctioned” fan clubs? Which cities had “independent” organizations? And what, pray tell, was the difference between the two? Schmidt can tell you.

Some sprawling metropolitan towns – such as New York City and Dallas, Texas – had competing organizations. But at times, these “warring groups” would grudgingly relent their independence, band together, and employ strength-in-numbers to impress local governments into bringing John, Paul, George, and Ringo to their locale.

Stories such as these fill Dear Beatle People. You’ll discover what typical fan club meetings entailed, what revenue-raising projects and service projects the loyal fan clubs undertook, and what connection these North American clubs had with the NEMS organization in Liverpool and London. You’ll find out which Beatles wives had their own fan clubs and how fan clubs who strayed from the “NEMS norm” were admonished. Over the last six years, Schmidt has interviewed hundreds of former fan club officers and members, carefully gathering their reminiscences, photos, and memorabilia. She has collected data, compared stories, and made certain that historical accuracy aligned with precious but blurred memories.

The tales Schmidt uncovered along the way are priceless. What was San Diego’s “Mt. Beatle,” and why was it summarily abandoned after one harrowing day in the sun? How did the Dallas Beatles Fan Clubs cleverly ensure that they would get to “meet The Beatles” twice in one tour visit? And what did Marti Edwards, the Chicagoland Beatle People President, say to John Lennon when she handed him her club’s commemorative plaque? Schmidt’s six years of painstaking research, compilation, and composition of this volume are evident; the stories she includes are interesting, concise, and illustrated with never-before-seen photographs.

When asked which fan story she most enjoyed discovering during the research for Dear Beatle People, Schmidt responded, “I heard so many interesting stories for this book! My ‘favorite’ one changes every time I read the manuscript. Today my favorite story is about the president of the North Texas Beatles Fan Club president, Elaine. Because of her work for the largest Beatles fan club in North America at the time, she was able to meet the Beatles in Houston in 1965 – right after fans attacked the boys’ airplane on the tarmac, holding them ‘hostage’ for almost an hour.  Despite the inconvenience, Paul was flirty with the cute 15-year-old as she presented them with button-down cowboy shirts.  And the episode has a very funny ending from John. Don’t miss this one!”

Schmidt is no ingenue to work of this sort. In 2016, she published the respected Happiness is Seeing The Beatles: Beatlemania in St. Louis. And for the last 14 years, she has also compiled and managed the exemplary website which shares true stories of ordinary people who encountered The Beatles via chance meetings. Schmidt’s experience in vetting such accounts and sorting fabrication from fact is her long suit. And in Dear Beatles People, she incorporates authentic stories of fans from small towns to megapolises, presenting each event in historical detail that brings people and circumstances to life.

Find copies of the book at or via Amazon. For more information on Schmidt, go to: on Facebook or @Starshyne9 on Twitter.

To hear Sara Schmidt, Eric Cash, Janet Davis, and Amy McGrath Hughes share stories about Dear Beatle People on the “She Said She Said” podcast, go to:

-Jude Southerland Kessler

Photo courtesy of Sara Schmidt

PS — While we’re on the topic of Rock History, you might enjoy our YouTube series of daily one-minute nuggets of memorable moments…

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Jude Southerland Kessler is the leading expert on the life of John Lennon and the author of The John Lennon Series, a projected 9-volume expanded biography taking readers chronologically through John’s life. The first five volumes are out in print, plus a new audiobook version of "She Loves You" (Vol. 3). With a personal Lennon library of over 300 books, Kessler undertook seven trips to Liverpool, England to interview John Lennon’s childhood friends, early band members, art college mates, and business associates before embarking on writing the series, which is told in a narrative format and heavily documented. You can learn more about Jude's work at

2 comments on “Ah, Look at All the Dear Beatle People!

  1. The attention to The Beatles’ fandom disregards the attention ‘the audience’ of The Beatles deserves, which is a broader topic with more (popular) culture relevance than mere fandom. The thing with the memories of fans that are decades old, that there is not a lot of scientific proof we can trust them to be true. But surely those memories reflect how people remember their experiences and events from sixty years ago today. From that perspective this book is as relevant as ‘The Beatles 1963’ by Dafydd Rees. Both are good books, aiming at an ageing fanbase. So I surrender, now we need to have a well designed and illustrated book about the one and only official Beatles fanclub started by The Beatles / Nems themselves. Good job Sara Schmidt, hope your book sells.

    • Thank you Rob for the well wishes. I think you might misunderstand what is included in my North American Fan Club book a little bit, so I wanted to clear it up. While I did interview hundreds of former fan club officers and members, most of my research did not rely on just those memories from 50-60 years ago. Memories are not often accurate and not a relilable resource for a book. Instead I took fan club newsletters, newspaper articles, pen pal letters, etc from the time period to write about the experiences of the fans. I believe that items written at the time are much more accurate and are closer to telling the complete story.

      When you speak about the “one and only official Beatles fanclub started by The Beatles/NEMS” are you referring to the U.K. Fan Club? My ultimate dream is to write three books about the Beatles’ fan clubs. One about North America, one about the U.K., and one about the rest of the world. I started with the North American one because I was unable to speak to Freda Kelly and I would never dream of writing a book about the U.K. Fan Club without her blessing. I have done some research on the U.K. club and hope to do more soon. It was so different from the U.S. based one (although both were sanctioned by NEMS) and it deserves its own book.

      Thank you for you thoughts.
      Sara Schmidt

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