Most Popular First Concerts
Add another bullet point to The Beatles’ already prodigious legacy: The legendary British band may be responsible for many people’s love of live events.
In a poll of nearly 1,000 people, Vivid Seats found that The Beatles were the most popular answer to the question, “What was the first concert you ever attended?”
Five percent of women and 2 percent of men polled said that their first concert ever was a Beatles performance. The group toured extensively throughout Europe in the early 1960s before taking their act to the U.S. Spawning the “British Invasion,” The Beatles launched three different American tours from 1964-66.
“The Beatles in Milwaukee, Wisc. around 1964,” said one woman surveyed. “I was in the 12th row and went by myself. I was only 14 and my dad drove me and picked me up.”
Another woman saw the Beatles in Toronto the same year after winning tickets through a giveaway in conjunction with a then-popular snack food.
“1964. Maple Leaf Gardens. Ten years old. Blue seats,” she said. “Won them [the tickets] from Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies.”
After The Beatles, the most popular “first-time” performers comprised an eclectic group.
KISS, The Beach Boys and Led Zeppelin were the next three most common first concerts among respondents. Tied for fifth were The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and Rush.
Among women, Elvis and Elton John were popular first concert experiences, as were New Kids on the Block, a group that enjoyed immense popularity in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
One respondent recalled her introduction to live music by the pioneering boy band.
“New Kids On the Block!” she said. “Begged my mom for tickets when I was in third grade. Was surprised Christmas morning!”
Popular male choices also included Metallica and Rush.
When it comes to first concerts, women prefer pop and country; men more likely to attend a rock show
Other trends emerged from the survey, including the insight that women were more likely than men to have attended a pop show for their first concert. In fact, women were more than twice as likely (25 percent) to have gone to a pop performance for their maiden concert experience than their male counterparts (12 percent).
Men were far more likely to have been introduced to live music at a rock show.
Sixty-seven percent of men answered that their first concert was either a rock or hard rock performance, compared to just 47 percent of women.
Women (12 percent) were twice as likely than men (6 percent) to claim a country music concert as their first ever. By a narrow margin, more men (3 percent) attended a rap or hip hop concert for their first show than women (1 percent).
No matter the genre, memories forever
While the performers and music genres varied greatly among respondents, a universal commonality emerged: One’s first concert experience can have a lifelong impact.
Even if some respondents couldn’t remember an exact year, nearly everyone could pinpoint the performer and venue. Most seemed to look back at the memory fondly.
Some, however, were more memorable than others.
One man remarked on attending a Frank Sinatra show for his first concert. Ole Blue Eyes apparently did not care for refreshments that the venue was offering.
“He picked up a glass of water, took a sip, spit it out, and said, ‘What’s this crap?’” the man said.
Another responded with Buddy Holly’s 1959 concert in Green Bay, Wis. on Feb. 1, 1959.
Holly died in a traffic plane crash just three days later.
For others, their first concert wasn’t merely memorable, but life-changing.
“Steppenwolf in Dayton, Ohio when I was 14,” said one woman. “Life then changed for this little farm town girl.”
See below for full results:
Most popular first concerts by band
Most popular first concerts by gender, genre