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The Beatles: The Early Years 1964-1966

Updated on April 4, 2012
Three years before The Beatles hit the music scene.
Three years before The Beatles hit the music scene. | Source
Playing baseball and lovin' the Beatles
Playing baseball and lovin' the Beatles | Source

The 60s! A time of turmoil to be sure; one cannot think of the Sixties without thinking of assassinations of beloved world figures and riots in the streets, not only in the United States but worldwide. Fifty years later I can still recall in my mind with vivid detail the picture of Robert Kennedy dying on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and the burning cauldron of hate and frustration that was Detroit. I remember the words of bigotry spewed from the mouths of people I respected and I can taste the confusion as the simple and naïve life of the Fifties disappeared before our very eyes.

A time of turmoil to be sure and yet a time of excitement and wonder as the established order was turned on its head and shaken, rattled and rolled. What we once knew was disappearing; technology was advancing with a determination not unlike that of a Sherman Tank rolling over the war torn landscape. Television brought realities to our living rooms, realities that at first could not be comprehended and then were oh so hard to accept.

Our beliefs were challenged almost daily; our support system not quite as supportive as we had once believed. Parents could only shake their heads in frustration at the antics of their children; races were forced to at least attempt to understand the motivations and core values of each other.

Through it all there was at least one constant that hovered in the periphery of our consciousness as the Decade of the Sixties unfolded and marched on. The Beatles exploded (is there a better word to describe their entrance) onto the music scene in 1963 and invaded my home country in 1964; from that moment of their introduction until the end of the decade their music served as a musical diary of our times. No matter the nature of the upheaval around us, Beatles’ music was always there, speaking for us and giving lyrics and notes to our thoughts.

This writer is not one to idolize. I have seen far too many who stood on pedestals fall off because of their human frailties. However, it would be absurd to mark the Lads from Liverpool off as just another musical group. Their progression and growth as a musical group paralleled in many ways our growth as a society and they are so interwoven in the fabric of those years that they deserve their own special place in history.

I have always preferred the earlier music of The Beatles before drugs and their own social consciousness changed their music. Perhaps it is because the last few years of their music reminds me still today of sadder days, days I would prefer not to think about. Whatever the reason I loved the early Beatles when their music was lighthearted and fun and you could walk around singing their songs and smiling your ass off. For that reason I will today highlight some of my favorite Beatles’ songs from 1964-1966, a span when we as a people still found magic in the 60s rather than disillusion and confusion.

SHE LOVES YOU

True, this song was written in 1963 but it did not experience huge sales until 1964 after “I Want To Hold Your Hand” signaled stardom for The Beatles in the United States. It spent fourteen weeks on the Top Forty, two as Number One and was one of five songs by the Fab Four that controlled the Top Forty for the entire year of 1964.

On February 1, 1964, when this song entered the Top Forty for the first time, I was a freshman in high school in Tacoma, Washington. I remember hearing it on the radio (KJR in Seattle controlled the airwaves then) and running home for my Mom to hear it. To my surprise she loved the Beatles’ harmony in this song, a harmony that was to win over many a parent in those early days. She and I would sing it often after that, she taking one part of the harmony and I another. I always smile when I think of the happiness that she experienced when she and her son would sing together on a rainy afternoon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0YifXhm-Zc

I FEEL FINE

Released as a single in the United States on December 5, 1964, it stayed in the Top Forty for eleven weeks.

In December of 1964 I was feeling my oats. I had finished my first season of high school baseball and been told I would be on the varsity the following season as a sophomore. I was flying high because of that information and then I met Paula and the words “I Feel Fine” took on a whole new meaning for me.

Paula was raven-haired and showing breasts and for a nerd like me that was enough to fuel fantasies, but the fact that she talked to me at a dance that month had me thinking of going steady and future marriage. Oh, the foolishness of youth! It turned out Paula was hoping that by befriending me she would get to meet my friend John, who she really wanted to meet in a much more intimate way. By January of 1965 Paula and John were a hot item and I was in search of a song with that was the polar opposite of “I Feel Fine.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3j6S8N8bTE

I’M A LOSER

Yes, I found the polar opposite I had been looking for with this song which was originally going to be released as a single instead of “I Feel Fine.”

I was able to see The Beatles live the Summer of ’65 but by then I wasn’t feeling quite so dejected. I suspect I had already set my sights on another fair maiden by the time I saw them in Seattle performing this song. Still, it was and is a fine song and I find myself singing it from time to time and smiling at the memories associated with it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KynpC1e9I9E

I’VE JUST SEEN A FACE

Recorded on June14,1965 and all I can tell you about this song is it just made me feel good. It is lively with a quick tempo and speaks of that special moment when you see someone and you are awe-struck by the vision and you decide right there and then that you absolutely MUST meet her or your life will forever be empty and meaningless.

Go ahead and sing this song and try to be in a bad mood. Go ahead, I dare you! Even today I will sing this to Bev and it is hard to tell which one of us is grinning the biggest grin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbKGsEK_T9g

DRIVE MY CAR

This song was actually recorded on my birthday, October 13, 1965. Maybe that explains why I like it so! Whatever the reason, I loved trying to hit the high notes on “beep beep and beep beep, yea,” and my buddies and I (me?) would drive around singing this at the top of our lungs.

Sure it was a song about a bitchy girl but it was still fun to sing. I had finally grown to my full stature, I was well-established on the baseball varsity and college wasn’t far away. What was there to be in the dumps about?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7dkn1ZnIPk

GOOD DAY SUNSHINE

June 8, 1966 and the world was my oyster just waiting for me to shuck it when this song came out. College was three months away, high school was in my rearview mirror and I was livin’ large and lovin’ life. It was practically impossible to go anywhere that summer without hearing this song playing on hundreds of radios simultaneously. It was the summer anthem of 1966 and a perfect end to the fun period of The Beatles.

Even though this song was part of the package called “Revolver,” it still signaled the end of the feel good days. Right around the corner was a landmark rock album called “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and music seemed to take a detour into another dimension.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL7YxIxHepI

AND THEN A NEW REALITY CAME UPON US

Looking back that seemed to be the turning point, not only in music but in our own perspective of the world around us. Life became more complicated after that summer. Vietnam took center stage except for the times when Civil Rights muscled in to wreak havoc with our conscience. College opened my eyes to a world that had, to that point, seemed an abstract theory rather than a reality that had to be dealt with.

We all dealt with that reality whether we were prepared to or not; we really had limited choices, just as one has limited choices when facing a stampeding buffalo. You can choose to run and hide; you can choose to be gored; or you can choose to figure out how to ride that big bastard and hope for the best. Most of us just climbed aboard that hairy monster and held on for dear life.

For a few years, however, all we had to do was listen to The Beatles and enjoy the hell out of life.

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Beatles-Some-Of-My-Favorite-Songs

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/A-Pleasant-Journey-Back-In-Time

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/My-Love-Affair-With-Baseball

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mona, I have not read that book, but I will because of your recommendation. Thank you my friend and Happy Weekend to you.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Writing about your experience with each Beatles song tells a story of every young man and woman who grew up with the Beatles. Now more than ever I feel the Beatles connected a generation world wide in a way that would have been more clearly understood if we had the internet as well. But things happen for a reason, and the freshness and harshness of those days were meant to be kept as they were and unfolded through mass media, TV and radio, and books. I wonder if you read The Drifters by James Michener at that time. It also spoke of our generation and the emotions affiliated with the times and the music that helped to make sense of everything.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Aurelio! Greatly appreciated and thank you for the pimp on Facebook.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      You're bringing back the memories with this selections of songs. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ishwaryaa, thank you! It was an exciting time to live and the music of The Beatles was so prevalent during those times that they because part of the permanent background for the events. I am glad you enjoyed my trip down Memory Lane!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      An enjoyable read on another Beatles hub! Through this engaging hub, I like hearing about what had happened in the 1950s and 1960s. You recorded your youth memories so well.

      Thanks for SHARING. Interesting. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure Sha!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      You've created many smiles for me today as I caught up on emails and Hub activity!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, you are very welcome! Thank you for reading and commenting. There was no doubt in my mind that you would love the Beatles. Great minds think alike. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I too, loved (and still do) The Beatles. I was in first grade when my crush began! Although today, John Lennon is my favorite, back then it was Ringo Starr. As a 1st grader, I was drawn towards the underdog or those less "pretty" and wanted to pour my friendship forth to make them feel better. Ringo, was my "underdog" at the time!

      Music has a way of reminding us where we were at given moments in time. I think The Beatles were the beginning of the lifelong journey and the memories associated with each step!

      Thanx for this, Billy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paul, I loved "Hard Day's Night." Of course I saw "Help" and "Yellow Submarine" but the first one was my favorite by far. It was just....fun! Thank you Sir for dropping by.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Great Hub Billy! I too was a big Beatles fan and especially liked their early music. Do you remember seeing any of their movies like "Hard Day's Night/"

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Karen, great to hear from you! I don't know why you aren't showing up but I noticed a couple weeks ago that several people I follow were not showing up on notices...it's a weird Hub thing that I can't explain. Now I think I've gotten your alerts...oh well, beyond my comprehension my friend. Have a wonderful Easter weekend and thank you for checking in.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      I'm a believer! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Oh, Yeah, Billy! Give me beatles on any hard days night! I love that you credit them with - well - everything! I guess i'm just gonna have to make 'special' billybuc' profile checkups. I don't understand why i'd get emails about everyone's hubs that are published-but not yours. I used to get yours..

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kashmir, my pleasure and thank you so much for the meaningful comment. I couldn't do this without the support of hubbers like you.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi billybuc, thanks for the nostalgic trip back to the days of the fab four and your youth.I have enjoyed the journey back in time by way of your well written hub and remember the music has if it was only yesterday and now know your favorite Beatles songs and why. For me the Beatles will always be the best group ever and their music will be popular for many more years I'm sure .

      Vote up and more !!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Always, I had a love/hate affair with Elvis and I'm not sure why. I could appreciate him and his contributions to the industry but I didn't always like him. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed this hub; it was fun to write and I, too, have gained a greater appreciation for John as the years have passed.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a great hub. I loved the Beatles, but Elvis stole my heart. I really do think that i appreciate the Beatles more today, esp. Lennon. Thank you for taking us back in time...Loved it...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, sometimes the history teacher in me comes out without me even realizing it. Probably always will. Thank you my dear for stopping by; I owe you a visit...soon.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I agree that their music was much more meaningful to me before the drug usage started. People still enjoy their songs and probably will continue to do so in the future. Interesting hub and great history lesson.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Gail! Hey, did the book get there yet? Anyway, thank you so much and I'll be visiting you shortly.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Wow Billy,

      You really nailed it with this one! This was a perfect description of the 60's- both the good and the bad of it and the wonderful feel good music of the Beatles. Those songs were so easy to sing along with.

      Voted up across the board except for funny.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, thank you! I was actually quite happy with that first paragraph and that doesn't often happen for me. To have you recognize that too makes me quite happy. As always, peace and happiness to you my dear...Bill

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      You are one hell of a writer, that opening paragraph is so good! I've always loved the Beatles, how lucky you are to have seen them play live.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, Xavier, thank you! Enjoy that walk down Memory Lane!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, I greatly appreciate your words. Thank you Sir!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marshall, thank you! I may be wrong but I doubt we will see another group of musicians have this kind of impact in our lifetime. They were the perfect match at the perfect time.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 5 years ago from Isle of Man

      A nice walk down memory lane! Thank you Bill.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I was introduced to the Beatles when I was in teens, I still love their songs. While reading this hub, I had some nostalgic feelings.

      Good work my friend.

    • MarshFish profile image

      Marshall Fish 5 years ago

      Bill,

      I liked your Beatles Hub very much. On a much smaller scale, it reminded me of a book from the 1970's titled "Growing Up With The Beatles". The author, from Kansas City, related events in his young life (high school, college) to the career of The Beatles.

      So, well done!

      Marshall

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Old Albion, I cannot argue with your statement about the Stones. I saw a video of them recently when they first started and they were dressed in polo shirts and slacks and it was hilarious; it may be the only time they dressed like "normal" people, and they were so reserved when they played. About a month later they changed completely, like someone plugged them into a light socket. Thank you for your great comment and memory.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jools thank you! If I had 100 hubs to devote to the Beatles I still would not run out of things to say! I appreciate you dropping by once again!

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Billy. Yes without doubt The Beatles were and still are perhaps the greatest of groups. I saw them several times in those days and it was 'fab' However for the raw pulsating feel of rock n roll/rhythm n blues. The best were The Rolling Stones for me. I know they had a slightly different following but one of their live gigs used to send shivers down the spine.

      Graham.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      'I Feel Fine' is one of my favourites, love the slightly distorted guitar fade in at the beginning, unheard of in those days! Nice hub - love your nostalgic hubs Bill. Voted up etc, etc.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lorne, that is way too funny! Hooray for you and the great memories. Thank you for stopping by and may you have many more great memories of a great time.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Debbie, you were not alone in screaming. I was right there next to you! thank you for your continued support. Your words mean a great deal to me. Peace to you this fine day!

    • Lorne Hemmerling profile image

      Lorne Hemmerling 5 years ago from Oshawa

      I remember going to the hotel in Toronto where they were staying. We somehow got upstairs into Brian Epstein's room. We took an ashtray. Later, the band left in a paddy wagon. My friend jumped on the back, then jumped off, said he saw Paul sitting there. Great times!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Katrine, you are so right! Their music is timeless and seems to be enjoyed by the youth of today as much as we did when I was young. Thank you as always and have a peaceful day!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow what a great hub..I love it.. and I love the Beatles .. I lived through that whole time. I remember when John Kennedy was shot in Dallas.. such a sad day for us all.But the Beatles were such a joy to us. I was one of the crazy teenagers screaming my head off. LOl

      Voted way up

      Blessing

      debbie

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      KatrineDalMonte 5 years ago

      Bill, they will always be listened to, no matter what decade/century we live in. They are just one of those few groups ever so popular with any age audience. Thanks for this hub, have a great day :-)