Living in the Past: I remember when I first heard the Beatles. I was driving with my college buddy out to school and their song “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” came on the radio. He told me “they are the hottest new band from England” and so I was curious. In my haste to “get with it” I mistakenly thought they spelled their name as “Beetles” like little bugs. And my first impression of the song was they sounded a little bit like bugs singing. Whoa!
A short time later, I learned they were coming to New York to appear on Ed Sullivan. So along with millions of other young Americans I cleared my Sunday evening of all other activities and waited impatiently for introductions to give way to them. Finally, the camera moved over and there they were in glorious black and white singing “All My Lovin,” Paul singing lead vocal, John and George adding harmonies. Although their hair was longer than any I’d seen, the boys were clean cut and quite good looking. The four boys created a scream fest for the young mostly female audience. A part of me wanted to scream as well. They were good.
I remember studying the cover of their album “Introducing the Beatles.” The sound was definitely different, tender love songs expressing “Till There Was You” offset with boisterous, almost yelling songs like “She Loves You-Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!”
For a time they were the spokesmen for a young energetic generation ready to enter a new promised land. They had a quick wit and musical imaginations that set aside all previous bounds for rock and roll. Every song had a different sound and the challenge was to understand the lyrics because, after all, they were singing about what we felt
Having the Beatles in my life as I moved into college life was the perfect confluence of new sounds meeting expanded boundaries. I had escaped the limits of high school and was now gliding along on the “magical mystery tour” Beatles Bus.
I am pleased the Beatles came to prominence when I was young. What is great about their music is that the youth of every generation can find something they like in it. I would like to salute their musical contributions and influence with the following tribute: