Has it really been fifty years? Fifty years when I was fourteen and heard about this group from England who was taking our land by storm? The new British invasion?
My family watched the Ed Sullivan show every Sunday night. That’s where all the new entertainers and musicians would either make their mark or flounder. Ed Sullivan seemed to have the knack to pick winners. That night four young men, some teen-agers, would perform in front of a live audience of screaming girls and the rest is history.
I waited all day that day for night to come so I could see this group. My parents thought it was all silliness, but they sat right there with me and watched as I went berserk when the Beatles finally came on the show. I literally screamed myself and my family were laughing at me, but I didn’t care. I Want to Hold Your Hand. How simple were the lyrics, but to a teen’s heart it was total rapture. If only lyrics today were so innocent.
Soon the soda shoppe was carrying teen magazines with the Beatles plastered all over the front of every one. Then they started their American tour and I just knew I had to get tickets. In those days, you sent away for them and I bought two tickets, one for me and one for my best friend. They cost three dollars each. The cheap seats. The seats next to the last row in the big coliseum at the state fair where they were coming in August. I didn’t care. I was going to see the Beatles.
All summer I waited in anticipation of the big day. Finally it came and my brother, Andy, drove my mother, my best friend, Carol, and me to the state fair. We did all the state fair things but when it was almost time for the show Carol and I got into the mob that was waiting outside the coliseum. Girls were screaming. Someone would say, “Is that one of them?” looking in the doors. Of course, it wasn’t but it just made the crowd more unruly. Girls vomited. Ugh. Carol and I were squashed int the mob and could not move left nor right.
Finally, they opened the doors and everyone flooded in and ran to their seat. Mother and Andy would wait for us outside. Little did I know at the time, but Andy got a ticket from a scalper outside and got a seat way down in front. When I learned about that afterward, I was so jealous.
Anyway, Carol and I climbed Mount Everest to our seats waaaaay up in the high altitude seats. Wooden chairs. Every single seat taken. The opening act came on. I don’t remember who it was. There was so much screaming, you couldn’t hear it anyway.
Then, then, then the BEATLES!!!!!!!!!!!! Four tiny figures came on stage and we knew it was the Beatles because the roar was so great the roof of the coliseum almost came off. At least that is what mother told us when we came out after the show. She knew exactly when the Beatles came on stage because the screams were so loud.
The girl next to Carol and me jumped up onto her wooden chair and proceeded to jump up and down until the chair broke. Carol was not amused. In fact, I think she was wondering what she was doing there. Flashbulbs flashed continuously. The screaming never ceased. The Beatles played and every time another song started the cacophony rose higher. It was totally the most fun I have ever had. Ever. And I have had a lot of fun times. If it hadn’t been for the screaming I would have heard the Beatles singing.
When the show was over, Carol and I, sweaty and exhausted from the constant screaming and jumping up and down, came out with big smiles on our faces. We had seen the Beatles. Live.
It was a moment in my life I will never forget. I got many of the Beatles’ albums and listened to them until the words were worn off. Years later, my son took the covers to school for a history class. History. Yep, I lived through some pretty neat history.
Which Beatle did you like best? I loved Paul. I think he was the oldest. When the Beatles played on Ed Sullivan that night, they scrolled their ages on the screen and I believe it said something to the effect ” Sorry, girls, he’s married” when Paul appeared. (It was John who was the oldest and married.) Next I liked George and then Ringo. I never really liked John and I am going to say something almost sacrilegious, but I simply hate the song “Imagine.” Hate it.
The year I was a senior, David went off to boot camp and one day my mother, sister, Joanne, and I were shopping and they actually had loud speakers playing outside the stores and the song, “Michelle” was playing. That was one of my favorites. So romantic and I was into romance. Still am.
The Beatles were a big part of my teen life, but as all things go, you grow up, move on and other things become more important, but last week on Laura Ingraham’s radio show she was asking people what their favorite Beatle song was and playing them all and it brought back such a feeling of nostalgia. The Beatle’s songs wove themselves in and out of my younger years and I don’t think any other group has ever been so popular. I heard that at one time on the top billboard songs the top five places were taken by Beatle’s songs. No other group or person has ever done that before or since.
I still have my Beatle’s ticket stub. I still have all the albums I managed to buy. And I still have a place in my heart for the group that sent teen-age hearts aflutter fifty years ago today.
Later the group split. Paul continued to write and sing. So did George. One of my favorite’s by George was, “I’ve Got My Mind Set On You,” in the eighties. John was killed by a mad man and left his wife Yoko Ono. Ringo had a popular song or two and I think he may have been the most grounded of them all. You never heard anything bad about him.
Thanks for the memories, John, Paul, George and Ringo. We loved you, yeah, yeah, yeah. Bye.