The Beatles left their mark Down Under

It's the 50th anniversary of the Beatles trip to Australia when the Liverpudlians left their mark and changed the society.

It was fifty years ago today, the Beatles taught Australia to play.

It was in June 1964 when the Liverpudlians first landed Down Under, with an impact that rippled through the youth culture.

Rock historian Glenn A Baker says the visit caused a shift in Australian society.

"After the Beatles were here, the very nature of society swung around to direct itself to everything the teenagers were doing: what their music was, what their fashion was, I don't think that kind of existed much before the Beatles arrived," he said.

The Fab Four stayed for thirteen days spreading mass hysteria across the country, stopping first in Adelaide where more than 300,000 people turned out to greet them.

The band played 20 shows in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Baker, who wrote the book about the Australian tour, Beatles Down Under, watched it all play out at home on his on TV in his "red jammies".

"It was singularly the most exciting thing that ever happened in Australia," he said.

"And it was the biggest outpouring of devotion anywhere in the world at any time over the Beatles' span."

The change in society was palpable. It wasn't just teenagers who were affected. The entire music scene also shifted with more four and five piece, black leather-clad, rhythm and blues bands being snapped up by record companies.

"You went from having revue type bands in town halls that had three girls in petticoats and a couple of sax players and three lead singers ... to suddenly they were signing the Easybeats and Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs," Baker said.

Before the dawn of the internet, Australia was somewhat cut off from what was happening in the rest of the world and this visit provided a moment of connection.

"Here we were, far flung to the bottom of the world, and it was kind of like the skewer that lanced the boil of stifling conservatism, suddenly we felt like we belonged," Baker said.

"At the time, things came to us sometimes through news reels, weeks later."

For the first show in Adelaide, drummer Ringo Starr was sick, so the band roped in a stand-in, Jimmie Nicol. By the time the second show kicked-off in Melbourne, Starr was back behind the drum kit having recovered from tonsillitis.

"In Melbourne they all sort of hugged and kissed and gave him (Nicol) 500 pounds and a gold watch, and we never heard from him again," Baker said.

The Beatles are still unarguably the most influential band of all time, directing pop music towards the sound we hear today.

Baker has compiled a CD, Then & Now , Australia Salutes The Beatles, with Australian artists covering their songs: from the Seekers singing Yesterday to John Farnham performing Help.

Their influence has even spawned a Flaming Lips tribute album. The American band recently revealed they will be releasing the Beatles' album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, entitled With a Little Help From My Fwends.

The Lips have drafted in other performers to work with them on the project, including Miley Cyrus who sings with them on Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.

However, Beatles' fans have been a little worried about stalwart Paul McCartney who has had to pull out of concerts due to a virus.

He cancelled gigs in Japan and South Korea in May, prompting fans on Twitter to send him messages of concern:

"Oh, Paul ... are you better? Take care of yourself, please :( " one tweeted.

And another understanding fan tweeted: "Don't be a hero, Paul. Take the time you need to get better. xox"

A recent statement on the musician's website revealed he has also postponed the start of his US tour.

"I'm sorry but it's going to be a few more weeks before we get rocking in America again," the 71-year-old said in a statement on his website late on Monday.

"I'm feeling great but taking my docs' advice to take it easy for just a few more days. Look forward to seeing you all soon."

As McCartney recuperates, Australia is still basking in the Beatles' glow, fifty years later.

As Baker puts it: "The residue of the Beatles was felt long after they'd been here."

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