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Beatles fan to tell story of famed '64 sign brought back for McCartney concerts

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As a 13-year-old New York City schoolgirl in 1964, Irene Feldman Katz, who will be a guest at the upcoming 2014 Fest for Beatles Fans in New York it was announced Dec. 17, fell in love with the Beatles. Her favorite was Paul McCartney. When she discovered the group was coming to New York for their first American visit, Irene just had to see them.

So knowing that her parents would never allow her to spend all day on the Manhattan streets screaming for an English rock ‘n’ roll group, she told her parents she was going to stay at a girlfriend’s house studying Friday night and all day Saturday.

But on Saturday morning, the girls headed for the Plaza Hotel and stood screaming at the Beatles’ rooms in hopes that the Fab Four would notice them. Inspired by the expression “The King is dead, long live the King,” Irene made a distinctive sign that read, “Elvis is dead. Long live The Beatles.”

The sign drew the attention of TV news crews covering the event, making it the lead item that night on the New York City evening news. Of course, when her parents saw their daughter on TV, she was caught, but that didn’t stop her from sneaking out the next day to scream outside the Beatles hotel again. And the following Wednesday, on Feb. 12, Irene saw the Beatles perform at the group’s debut New York concert at Carnegie Hall, which was

Irene grew up but never stopped being a Beatles fan. In 2002, she attended a Paul McCartney concert when she suddenly spotted a familiar face on the video screen right behind Paul as he sang “All My Loving.” It was the young Irene Katz with her sign. The footage was used for one of the key video montages that plays during his concerts worldwide. Today, at 63, Katz, now a grandmother, is on stage behind Paul at every concert he plays around the world.

She'll tell her story at the upcoming 2014 Fest For Beatles Fans at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City Feb. 7 to 9.

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