Saturday, February 08, 2014

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today

The Fab Four from this time period
The Beatles from 1964 - credit below
Just like this year, my birthday was on a cold Saturday in February. I turned eleven, and remember nothing of that day, and little about that time.

I would have been in the sixth grade and probably relieved to have finally gotten to age 11, the age you are supposed to be when entering the sixth grade, not half way through the school year. I was always the youngest in my class, but my height - and girth - more than made up for the lacking in chronological age.

But there is one event that makes that day, that weekend, unforgettable. It had to do with the arrival in the USA of, as the New York Times put it, “…four rock n’ roll performers hailed by teen-agers…” 

Their single, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” was number one on the best-seller record list and their first album, “Meet the Beatles” was number three. The news was all over the local radio and TV. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knew about this, soon to be called, “British invasion.” And all anyone was talking about was The Beatles being on The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday night. 

My old man, the often-stoic FBI agent was also talking about The Beatles and made it clear he was an enthusiastic fan. Humming their music and allowing us to play our Beatle records over and over again on my sister’s new record player, it was a strange mixture of the generations. I remember thinking it odd at the time, but his fondness for the “four lads from Liverpool” lasted until his last day.

“Young” people today who were not alive then, or too young to have witnessed the phenomena first hand, simply can’t relate to this event. It was simply monumental.

I don’t remember if I had an official birthday party that year; perhaps we celebrated with my Nana and Uncle Ubie on Sunday – our official day to visit my grandmother in Sunnyside Queens who lived with my mother’s older brother Hubert. But I clearly remember the evening of February 9, 1964 and gathering around the black and white TV to watch the spectacle.

NOTE: Revised 2/9/14 when I realized I was 11 in 1964, not 10. Arithmetic was never my strong suite.
Photo Credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons. This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c11094.

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