I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I watched the 50th Anniversary Beatle special on Sunday, February 9th. As I write this, the numbers have probably just been tallied as to how many of us did watch. The local radio stations in this area, as well as many across the country, I’m certain, dedicated this week to them. Although yes, I grew up with these guys, I am a bit on the young side. My parents would have had to accompany me to any of the early appearances, and that would have happened like we need an asteroid striking the earth. During my time, as well as into the eighties and nineties, parents were screaming up the stairs –
“Turn that music down!”
Today, however, everyone has a headset.
Last week and this, there have been many, many articles written about this particular era, and these four musicians who brought us something they didn’t even know they possessed. Because of which, I’m still not certain I want inclusion in the hoopla. But, since I have my own stories, I am almost obligated to share.
To add to the above, I kicked and complained about watching other musicians like Maroon Five, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and John Legend perform any of the time-honored classics belonging to the Fab Four. I have always had this thing (can’t explain it) with shows of this sort, and other artists doing someone else’s songs. Yes, I know it’s honorary, but the guitar licks, timing, voices – everything is off for me – which, in turn, spoils the tune. I must say, however, Keith Urban and John Mayer did not disappoint. I do believe Keith Urban has magic fingers. So, there I sat on my sofa with hubby watching, and singing along, yet again. What makes me say this? Because, once more I had not been able to attend, just as when they first arrived. But, in singing along I still shared a memory, just as many in the theatre, young and old alike.
I listened as some of the women who made it to the Ed Sullivan Show were interviewed. They talked about how they couldn’t believe they were actually in the building. Others talked about their families sitting around the television, taking in that first performance. I’d like to add, the Fab Four invasion took all of America – not just the white neighborhoods – they took all of Brooklyn, all of Queens as well as the little town in the southern corner of the country. Yes, as a black person, I too began an unrequited love affair – became swept up in Beatlemania, if you will. All the time, however, too young and immature to realize time doesn’t wait around for a person. Yet, I too wanted to grow up and marry Paul McCartney. I too screamed like a lunatic every time John and Paul opened their mouths. I too, fell in love with John’s swaggered bounce as he played. In fact, on December 9, 1980, when I pulled in to the parking lot at work, an attorney I worked with asked –
“Gee, Ronnie, I was certain you’d have your car draped in black this morning.”
For a very long time, probably as recent as ten years ago, I could still touch that excitement that would come over me when these guys came onto a stage. So, here is my personal Beatle story that, yes, adds me to that historical timeline.
The harmonizing quartet had a show happening at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York. Oh, I would have given my right arm, leg, eye, you name it, in order to join my screaming cohorts. But, as usual, mother knew best; she knew that each time I came close, and we’re talking as near as a television screen, I’d get that dreaded nose bleed. I think she put it something like this –
“Yeah, missy. I’m gonna let you go to Shea Stadium where you’ll have to be carried off like one of those other girls.”
What happened? She swung a dining room chair in front of the television.
“You’ll sit right here, and watch. This is as close as you need to be.”
As always, ten minutes in to the concert I had to have medical attention from mother for that daggone – you guessed it – nose bleed. It worked right on time, almost like sticking your finger in an electrical socket, knowing you’d get that immediate jolt. I laugh, but I completely get the young girls screaming while listening to Justin Beiber or Bruno Mars. Let me also add, my obsession didn’t happen by following the masses. The Beatles swept us away one at a time; plucked each one of us up like picking ripe peaches from a tree. Okay, right here – I need to stop myself. For someone who didn’t want to write about John, Paul, George, and Ringo, I can’t seem to bring this piece to an end. What else can I say – mother’s lock up your daughters? No, I’d like to end by acknowledging a great group of musicians, and to honor a time in history that can never be replicated. Lastly, I think I can speak for all of my generation when I say “Thank you” for making such an impact on our lives (my life), and for opening the door to all the British musicians that followed. We were left with such great memories.
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