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Nicolette Rohr

Nicolette Rohr is a PhD candidate in History at UC Riverside. Her dissertation project explores popular music fandom among American women during the 1960s. She holds an MA in Public History and co-curated an exhibition of photographer Garry Winogrand’s Women are Beautiful at the California Museum of Photography in 2013. In 2015, she was a Gladys Kriebel Delmas Visiting Scholar at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives in Cleveland, OH.

“She Loves You YEAH YEAH YEAH: The ‘60s Soundscape of Beatlemania"
Images of women as fans in the 1960s and, most prominently, screaming Beatlemaniacs, are integral to commemorations of the decade and well known in the era’s visual record. The voices of these women, however, have been largely glossed over in histories of the 1960s as well as histories of popular music. As historical subjects, the voices of Beatlemania are heard mainly in screams, and while those screams were significant, alone they do not tell the rich story of connection, meaning, and liberation of which they were a part. This presentation will shed light on experiences of Beatlemania and discuss the importance of the behaviors, attachments, and meanings associated with fandom among women in the 1960s, paying particular note to the “screamscape” of Beatlemania in the context of the transformative decade and its movements for social and cultural change. When enacted in public—at concerts and in the gatherings of fans on street corners, outside hotel rooms, and waiting at airports—popular music fandom was a broad and important cultural current and a space women claimed to demonstrate emotionally and often sexually charged responses to music and to challenge gendered customs of behavior, dress, and display. The screaming of fandom was a site of release, joy, and rebellion. Together and individually, these screams made up an important part of the soundscape of the 1960s, giving voice to young people, music fans, and women, and representing an early iteration of cultural rebellion and challenges to the confines of gender in a decade that would come to be defined by both. In listening to these screams and voices, I seek to locate the importance of popular music in women’s lives during Beatlemania and the significance of their fandom in American culture more broadly, placing both as integral to the history of the 1960s.

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