Several weeks ago I was rather reluctant to attend a live concert by American English – a successful Beatles cover band who got their start in the 1980’s. Generally I enjoy Beatles songs, but I gravitate more toward Elvis Presley and his breakout tunes. As actress Uma Thurman observed in the movie Pulp Fiction, we can enjoy both Elvis and The Beatles, but we remain a true and genuine fan of only one.
So I probably wasn’t the most enthusiastic concert-goer that evening, but I went since I appreciate live music and also wanted to spend time with dear friends and family. The venue was the Beverly Arts Center on the far southwest side of Chicago. I should immediately have known something was up since the parking lot was filled to overflow and we had to find side-street parking.
American English has a large following and the crowds that night proved it since they had a sold-out show. We took our seats in the Beverly Arts theatre, featuring red, gold, purple and blue brushed velvet chairs. The new Director came on stage to introduce the band and the crowd was already pumped to hear them.
Once the group started singing, I instantly realized how significant The Beatles are to me. The band’s energy and high regard for the music and lyrics was obvious. Their music took me back to earlier days and I started reminiscing about The Beatles’ significance and how they played a part in my life.
I was few months old when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Therefore, I missed out on the hype. Never attended one of their concerts – too young. But don’t we all have our own memories of Beatlemania?
When I was about six years old I wondered who the “long-haired hippie freaks” were. My teen-age cousins were Beatles afficionados and could rattle off the band members’ names like lightening. They owned every record of the Fab Four and they looked so cool dancing to the music. Don’t many of us covet our older cousins who carry a driver’s license and know all the words to the popular songs on the radio? [Sigh]
In fact, at one cousin’s 13th birthday party an argument resulted over which one of the girls Paul McCartney loved best. Harrumph! That party didn’t end well.
George Harrison was always my favorite. Here Comes the Sun is such a beautiful and uplifting song. Years ago I found and purchased a George Harrison doll in a thrift store for 50 cents.
As my sister said “You always find that one fantastic item at the resale shop.” He sits in my closet patiently waiting for me to make a decision about him. But George is too precious to sell. He’ll have to stay in his box for a while where he’s safe and sound.
In 1980 I was getting ready for high school and heard the news on my clock radio about John Lennon. My first thought was “why would anyone want to shoot a songwriter?” Of course, it made no sense. The outpouring of grief was everywhere. In 2014 during a visit to Central Park in New York, we found the Strawberry Fields monument. There is a tribute, etched into stone, where fans placed daisy petals in the shape of a Peace sign. It’s natural to feel the common tranquility with other visitors, commemorating the expressive stanzas of an eloquent songwriter.
Undoubtedly, The Beatles’ lyrics bring hope: “Here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right.” We are looking forward to sunny spring days ahead. Their music makes us happy when we hear them on the radio or out with friends listening to American English sing a bevy of songs. The crowd goes wild. The classic long-haired hippie freaks still reign, bringing peace and love to listeners everywhere.