It is kind of profound really. I did my best to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles playing on American TV for the first time. I can tell you that I remember right where I was on that night, playing with some elementary school friends who were the children of my parents best friends.
We all huddled around the black and white 19″ TV in their living room and stared and smiled. We boys were too manly to scream. My parents and their friends shook their heads in disbelief that these mop-haired musicians were so popular. They were sure that it would pass, this would be a novelty. Like the icons of the 50’s – they would burn out and something else would replace them also. But we found out later they were not replaceable. They were indelible and made a lasting impression on my life, and so many others of my generation.
Those impressions lasted. I have passed the torch in a way, and showed my children the simplicity of their music, the pure construction of the early years, the experimentation era and the ironic struggles to Get Back as they quickly disintegrated as the fab 4. It was the music, it is the music that has held up. I hear it in the songs and artist my children happily introduce me to. There are so many good ones actually. It takes a true musician to construct pop music that will last beyond the next pre-fabricated musical trends.
I clearly remember every album as they arrived. What I was doing and where I was. Long playing vinyl records that had 2 sides and in many cases didn’t last past 30 odd minutes in total. But there it was in the record bins. When I was younger I even purchased the “mono” versions instead of the stereo versions because it was an affordable $1-2 less than the stereo.
Looking back now I even bought my first (not last) copy of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in mono. I sat and listened to it that summer, over and over and sponged up the sounds that were so fresh and different that I had to keep playing them again. And the album came with the “words”- so even more than the music, you could enjoy the meaning as well as the tune. The album came with lavish cover art and cut-outs that made the physical album itself an experience.
I will always see The Beatles as the musicians who helped move my world from black and white to color. Helped me explore the music beyond the 20 songs constantly played on the AM radio. Helped me to consider the possibilities for popular music today and I can still them in the new artists music. Like so many other musicians at the time and since, they have paved the way for the music and the experience for my children and theirs in the future. Thanks to those iconic guys.