Those were the first words America heard the Beatles sing live. 50 years ago, right now. (notice how I waited til the exact time of the show to publish!!) We saw The Beatles and our lives were never the same.
Beatlemania had already hit the U.S. We knew some of their songs. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was already a number 1 hit single. But this was different. This was our chance to see and hear them live. To quote Ringo at The Concert for George, “What a band. What a night.”
If you’re in the age bracket of around 57 and up, you most likely have vivid memories of this night. More than 1/3 of the U.S. was tuned in. 73 million viewers. Those are huge numbers in the television world. All in black and white.
They opened with three songs. “All My Loving”, “Til There Was You”, and “She Loves You”. The crowd was whipped into a frenzy. They came back later with “I Saw Her Standing There”, and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
I was asked what was it about The Beatles that made us love them so much. The answer is there are so many things.
First was the country was still in shock. President Kennedy had been assassinated just three months earlier. LBJ was no Kennedy. We were looking for something to bring us out of our depression. The Beatles were in the right place at the right time.
Then there was the music. There was rock and roll before The Beatles. Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Elvis. But this was different. It was very different. It resonated with us immediately.
Next was the look. In 1964, their hair was considered radical. That was what long hair on guys looked like then. Bangs in front, and barely touching the ears.
Maybe most importantly, our parents didn’t like them. It wasn’t big band or showtunes. It wasn’t their generation, it was ours. They didn’t understand what and why it was happening. That was fine with us.
You add all those components together and what you get are guys who want to be like The Beatles and girls who want to be with them.
It’s now 50 years later. The Beatles are still beloved. A lot of it is the music. A lot of it is the memories. We’re still probably glad that our parents didn’t like them. We’ve passed on our love of them to the next generation, our children, and in a lot of cases, our grandchildren. Paul McCartney does concerts and his audience ranges from ages 8 to 80.
We see Ringo and Paul and we are taken back to our youth. It also reminds us of John and George and how much we missed them. There are very few things in life that we love for a period of fifty years. But four guys from England are still in our minds and more importantly our hearts.
Btw…at the top of this post you can see a little tab labeled Beatles. You can find all the pieces from this series plus a few others by clicking there.