Next week, on February 9th, most of the world will overlook an anniversary, as perhaps they should. (After all, every day is the anniversary of something… and sooner or later we have to stop living in the past, right?)
But I feel the urge to mark this particular occasion here… probably just because I’m OLD, and frankly, I LIKE living in the past!
Here’s the anniversary: It was 45 years ago this month – February 9th, 1964, to be exact – that The Ed Sullivan Show gave America its first glimpse of a four-man musical combo which called itself “The Beatles”.
I was watching.
And if you’re currently 50-or-60 something, you probably were, too. I read recently that The Beatles initial performance on Ed Sullivan’s show is still the highest-rated non-sporting event in TV history. (I know its true, because I read it on The Internet!!!)
That event may not have started the cultural revolution we now refer to as “The Sixties”, but it was certainly a major catalyst. Just eleven weeks earlier, Kennedy had been assassinated, and the nation was still in shock. We needed something to change the conversation. And we got it.
The Lads from Liverpool burst onto the American scene like nothing we had ever witnessed before. And suddenly, the world began to change. (Bear in mind that my perspective might be a little off. I had just turned 10 years old, so my world was getting ready to change, with or without The Beatles.)
For three consecutive weeks, The Beatles headlined Sullivan’s Sunday night variety show -- always accompanied by a theatre full of wildly screaming young girls -- and quickly became THE topic of conversation in America. Period.
Everybody was singing along, because the lyrics were easy to remember: “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” Even I could remember those words.
“I want to hold you hand!”
“She was just seventeen, if you know what I mean!”
“Shake it up, baby. Twist and Shout!”
“All my lovin’ I will send to you.”
And of course, “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah!!!!”
Their music was actually quite good, with intricate harmonies and memorable, inventive melodies delivered in an exciting, upbeat tempo. But most of us didn’t realize it at the time. We mostly never got beyond their “gimmick”: the mop-tops.
Perhaps, somewhere in the world, maybe even in our own nation, males had worn their hair “long” before The Beatles showed up. But I had never seen ‘em. This was new and exciting. And a little weird at first -- a curiosity -- until everybody started doing it.
Within a year of that first appearance, my barber shop had a third offering on the price placard above his chair: “Haircut. Crewcut. Beatle Haircut.”
Then, for those of us who couldn’t quite get there (at the time) with the long hair, there were Beatle Wigs. I owned one. It looked very authentic when I wore it to my fourth grade classes.
Not only did The Beatles cause me to purchase the first record I ever even thought about owning, but I also invested in their “Beatles trading cards”.
As big of a Beatle’s fan as I became, I still couldn’t bring myself to completely abandon Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, which was being televised on a different network directly opposite Sullivan. Somehow, to this day, forty-five years later, I still recall that Disney featured a three-part movie, “Scarecrow of Romney Marsh”, up against Sullivan. And it worked, because I remember turning the dial back and forth between the two channels so I could watch the movie without missing any of The Beatles.
A few years later, of course, John, Paul, George and Richard Starkey (Ringo’s real name) abandoned the mop-tops for regular-old scruffy-looking long hair, just like a couple million other hippies. In my young, innocent mind, I actually always gave The Beatles the credit (or blame) for the entire Sixties thing. Their music got druggy and psychedelic, they started hanging out with gurus and yogis and maharashis (and Yoko Ono), and, to be perfectly honest, they kinda just lost me.
They got away from me somewhere between Sgt. Pepper and Yellow Submarine. Abbey Road, for instance, was just way over my head. And White Album or Magical Mystery Tour… Cripes! They completely lost me.
But for a few Sunday nights in February, 1964, they captivated us, changed our conversation, and changed our world. And if you were there, you remember it, too.
Okay, enough living in the past. Back to the present. Reality.
And the reality is this: We’re well into the new year, and I’m a big, fat, giant hippo-pig-whale!!!
So, as I mentioned last week, I’m kicking off another $100 per person, winners-take-all Weight Loss Challenge. We’ve got about a dozen entries so far, but I’m hoping for more (so I can make more money when I win it all!!!)
If you think you might qualify to enter this contest…. Then let me break the suspense for you: You DO!!!
We start this coming Monday, February 9th, with a group weigh-in… which, by the way, is the 45 year anniversary of The Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. (Unlike the 1964 event, there will NOT be a theatre full of wildly screaming young fans for our weigh-in.) Email me if you want more details: RodShealy@aol.com
I want to win your money!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!!!