Mexican Beatlemania

Last night, roughly 200,000 people jammed the Zocalo, the central square of Mexico City, to attend a free show by Paul McCartney held on Mother’s Day. To see more pictures of the event, go here.

One thing that any visitor to Mexico City will notice right away is that the people here are crazy about the Beatles, or “Los Bitles” as they say. Beatles music is hawked on the metro through pirated CD’s, musicians play their songs on buses, in restaurants and on the subway. And no major neighborhood or market is complete without a small Beatles shop, selling t-shirts, clocks, bobble-heads, calendars, and all other sorts of Beatles related paraphernalia. El Chopo, the famous outdoor counter-culture music market, also has their obligatory Beatles puesto.

I spend a good deal of time scouring the city for used records, and there is almost always somebody fawning over a copy of Abbey Road, looking for the White Album or asking the vendor if they can get a pristine copy of their favorite “bitles” lp.

While the popularity of the Beatles the world over is not really news, the way that their music is a fundamental part of the culture of this city is absolutely fascinating to me.

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