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My Ticket to Ride:

How I Ran Away to England to Meet the Beatles and Got Rock and Roll Banned in Cleveland
(A True Story from 1964)
By Janice Mitchell

Reviewed by Dan Hanson
September 2021

I didn't expect to really like this book. Of course I like the Beatles music but Beatlemania was a little before my time and I never understood the screaming throng of young girls at concerts. But I soon found myself engrossed in a fascinating story.

In 1964 as Beatlemania swept the US and world a Cleveland Heights teen from a troubled family falls "in love" with the Beatles. She buys every record, magazine and tchotcke she can. She dreams of meeting them and moving to London to be with them. Probably the same dream as thousands of young girls at the time, right?

But this girl went beyond the dreaming stage. Her passion and drive lead her to several adventures including being alone in a room with the Rolling Stones and being kissed by one of them (not the one you might expect!). She saved her money and camped out at Public Hall to get front row center seats for the Beatles concert at Public Hall. That just furthers her drive to be part of their world.

My Ticket to Ride Beatlemania book cover

She and a friend actually cash in their meager funds, get passports and travel to London to "Meet the Beatles" just like the record said. Without telling their family or anyone else. It's a fascinating account of their adventures and exposure to a very different climate from their Cleveland Heights homes.

It was suspenseful as the teen girls hitchhiked in England, met and hung out with older guys in bands and took chances that would be much more dangerous in our modern world.

The story grows as Cleveland Heights police and the local radio station start tracking down the missing girls while the girls keep pursuing meeting the Beatles in London and Liverpool. Even the Beatles get involved!

It's a fun read and locals will recognize many of the Cleveland and Cleveland Heights landmarks from the story. It also gives an insider's look at the carefree mod days of early Beatlemania in London as teens flocked to clubs, dressed in the latest fashions.

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