Rock-Expo Aurora Illinois at the iconic Roundhouse on Saturday Sept 16th is proud to present noted Beatles historian and author Dr John Lyons as a dealer and guest promoting his exceptional book Joy and Fear The Beatles, Chicago and the 1960s. Author and educator, Dr. John F. Lyons, was born in London, England, and works as a Professor of History at Joliet Junior College. He has appeared on many radio programs and podcasts discussing the Beatles and is a regular speaker at public libraries and historical societies. He will be offering signed copies of his book for $15.00 as well as displaying some of his Chicago related Beatle memorabilia and is excited for engaging with other Beatles fans. Bio below

by | Aug 25, 2023 | Chicago Rock n Roll History, Music history, Rock N Roll History, Rock-Expo event alert, The Beatles

Joy and Fear: The Beatles, Chicago and the 1960s 

By John F. Lyons 

Permuted Press 

ISBN: 9781682619339 

2021      $19.99 

A Professor of History at Joliet Junior College, John Lyons has delved into the history of The Beatles in the 1960’s with their specific connections to Chicago. Citing that the group’s history has deeper roots in Chicago than any other place in the country, Lyons explores and details that history at length. 

As partially described in the press release on the book, “At the center of this book is a cast of characters engulfed by the whirlwind of Beatlemania, including the unyielding figure of Mayor Richard J. Daley who deemed the Beatles a threat to the well-being of his city; the Chicago Tribune editor who first warned the nation about the Beatle menace; George Harrison’s sister, Louise, who became a regular presence on Chicago radio; the socialist revolutionary who staged all of the Beatles’ concerts in the city and used much of the profits from the shows to fund left-wing causes; the African-American girl who braved an intimidating environment to see the Beatles in concert; a fan club founder who disbelievingly found herself occupying a room opposite her heroes when they stayed at her father’s hotel; and the University of Chicago medical student who spent his summer vacation playing in a group that opened for the Beatles’ on their last tour.” But it goes far beyond that. 

He takes a look at the effects Chicago soul and blues had on their music. How they admired the music coming from Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley to Chess Records to their favorite musicians Sam Cooke, Major Lance and the Impressions. 

Of course, the first records by The Beatles were released on Vee Jay Records with the 1963 single “Please Please Me” (VJ 498) and their first album Introducing The Beatles

He cites the contribution and impact WLS had on the success of The Beatles in the United States with their 50,000 watt clear channel power that would reach both coasts, and crediting Dick Biondi as the first to play their record on the radio in the U.S. 

Lyons explores how guitar sales exploded after The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan and how Chicago-based guitar manufacturers Kay and Harmony had to expand production capabilities. He looks at the impact The Beatles had on inspiring local bands including the New Colony Six, Shadows of Knight and Daughters of Eve; as well as the emergence of teen clubs such as the Cellar. 

               The fact that The Beatles played Chicago three times, and they played to the most people ever with their appearance at Comiskey Park in 1965. 

               Lyons also looks at the darker side of Chicago’s vision of The Beatles. The fear of the band because of their impact on social and cultural change and their “hedonistic social behavior,” with the Chicago Tribune calling them, “Human Sheep Dogs.” He writes about Mayor Daley’s fear of the group coming to Chicago and inciting riots and impacting traffic at O’Hare Airport. And details the city’s formal responses to their appearances.