Monday, April 07, 2008
A Time in My Life
Not everyone reading this will appreciate the Beatles. I was 9 years old going on 16 when they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Beatlemania was here and I had a major case of it. And so did every other kid I knew. The girls went nuts and the guys started trying to look like them and act like them.
Before John, Paul, George and Ringo’s 1964 national television appearance most of the boys had crew cuts. After that show we all started growing our hair out. Most everybody I knew had a Beatle haircut. And many of us tried to learn how to play the guitar. Bands began to pop up in garages all over the United States. The bands consisted of three guitars and a drummer. The name of the band was always proudly displayed on the base drum. Just like the Beatles.
The Beatles, the biggest selling musical group in history, were the first of what would be called the British Invasion. Groups like Herman’s Hermits, The Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, The Monkees, The Who, The Yardbirds and many others followed them. Rock and roll music was here to stay. And I lived it. And I loved it.
I could not think about going to New York City without going to the Dakota building where John Lennon was murdered almost 28 years ago right inside the gate shown behind us in the picture. And the walk over to Central Park to the Strawberry Fields memorial was a walk I had to take. As I stood there I remembered some wonderful times in what seems like another life ago.
I remembered when I was in junior high school coming home on the school bus from an away basketball game when someone told me that Susan Byrd wanted to hold my hand. You can bet your booty I held her hand too. I could not get the words to that famous Beatles song, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” out of my head for months. And I still smile when I hear it.
I remembered all the birthday parties I attended at the Reynolds Woman’s Club building when everybody brought a 45 RPM record as a gift to the person having the birthday. The girls would line up on one side of the room – the guys on the other. The 45 RPM records would be put on one by one and the guys would walk across the room and ask a girl to dance. And the next song we would ask another girl to dance.
And the Beatles started it all.
I remembered slow dancing to songs like “Hey Jude” and “Let it Be” when I was in high school. And I remembered when I went to college all the gals and guys at the band parties at the Lambda Chi house going crazy when the band started playing their “Beatles” set.
For the record, I am fully aware the Beatles got weird. Maybe they were always weird. And I certainly did not and do not agree with their social and religious views and much of the other stuff they would eventually represent. But in spite of all their human weaknesses, I simply loved (and still love) their music.
But it was more than the music. As I have said before, I am convinced I was born at exactly the right time in the right place to experience life at its very best. The experience of seeing where John Lennon was murdered and the Strawberry Fields Memorial caused a lump in my throat but brought back a ton of wonderful memories for me.
And a time in my life I will never forget.