Amid the worldwide phenomenon known as Beatlemania, Beatles wallpaper came to the U.S. and Canada via Wall Paper Manufacturers Ltd of Manchester. They produced the rolls and shipped them across the Atlantic to awaiting bare-walled fans with adhesive glue in hand! The wallpaper was not manufactured in either North American country but distributed throughout the states and provinces through paint, department, and other stores.
On February 21, 1964, just two days before the Beatles made a third appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (pre-taped), 24,000 rolls of Beatles wallpaper landed at North American airports and headed for waiting retail shelves.
These wallpaper rolls from England were labeled ‘Beat770’ and had a ‘sizing strip’ attached. You would remove this strip – about 1″-2″ wide with perforated color bars and writing – when installing. The wallpaper pattern was four-color photos with surrounding facsimile signatures that repeated every 21″.
Later some rolls were manufactured in Canada. These were 20.5″ (52.07cm) wide and labeled ‘Made in Canada 33300’ with no sizing strip.
Early sales trended towards the wallpaper quickly becoming a must-have item for teenage girls across the country, who would plaster their walls with images of their favorite bands.
Beatles Wallpaper had a modest store run but fell short of expected sales goals. Retailers started realizing that the buying fans would purchase one roll, cut it in strips, and disseminate it among their friends as wall hangings or decorations for their record players and other items. The market for someone to purchase enough to decorate an entire room was less lucrative than they thought.
Beatles’ Popularity Slipping
Because of this, articles were showing up in newspapers as early as April 1964, announcing that, in their opinion, the Beatles’ popularity was ‘slipping’ because shops had to reduce the price of the wallpaper to move their inventory because it wasn’t “going as well as expected.”
Get Terry’s fantastic book:
NEMS and the Business of Selling Beatles Merchandise in the U.S. 1964-1966 (2ND EDITION)
The book covers the approximately 150 licensed items that dotted store shelves and helped fuel the band-crazed fan during the time right after the band landed in America and performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. Toys, games, dolls, jewelry, clothing, wigs, and more!