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The Beatles and Life Yesterday & Today
I cannot imagine my life without The Beatles. Sounds silly, I know, but for me and millions of others who were around 8-15 yrs old in 1964, it isn't. The Beatles were never simply a rock band. They were a religion. I worshipped them. They got me started playing the guitar, they launched me into a world of creativity that continues today. The creativity moved around into different fields, yet, it all started with impact of The Beatles.
Impact. How so? That Sunday night in 1964 is like yesterday. I had gone to bed. My mom woke me up (why, I have no clue) and told me about a new "circus act" called The Beatles. I was irritated about being woke up, yet, I slowly made it to our 19" black and white TV just as Ed Sullivan was saying, "and here they are, The Beatles". At first, their impact on me was insidious like some sort of alien disease. I slowly sat down, totally mesmerized, not hearing how my brother made fun of their hair and my dad called the music, "simply racket". The music was nothing I had ever heard before, not like that. No way. They were polished yet sooo mod, sooo cool. Their hair simply blew me away: it was long. It was on their foreheads, it was over their ears. They sound was unique. Their suits were cool as were their boots.
Like an alien taking over my thoughts, my being, so did The Beatles from that single two minute exposure. Talk about science fiction. Talk about the power of youth, about the power of music. I identified with John for his quick wit and rebellious personality. His nasal voice was one I could eventually mimic as his was in my vocal range. John was a rocker, his songs always had something to say or an edge to them. The girls loved Paul, they still do. The cute Beatle, yet Paul greatly improved John's vocals with harmony.
As I got older, got married, had kids, my first boy was name Lennon. My dad refused to call him by that name because he associated with Lenin, the communist leader. Eventually, he got over it. As my boys grew up in the 80s, they were saturated with only Beatle music until they grew sick of it. As soon as we got in the car, I had a trapped audience for The Beatles, despite moans and groans and rolling eyes from its occupants.
However, choosing the name Lennon had its benefits. It was an immediate ice breaker for him in school and work. One of the first things discussed remains his name when meeting strangers. Anyone from doctors, teachers and so on, identify with that name and opens up a very positive discussion for him. I have heard is so many times. My son really loves being named Lennon. It is like a small piece of stardom is on him for a few minutes.
Both boys, now adults, know The Beatles from A to Z, whether they want to or not. Now, my daughter, age 10, follows the same. Her first song vocal at age 3 was Yellow Submarine, her faves now are from the 1964-66 period. When she mentions them in her list of fave bands (after Jonas brothers, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Sheryl Crow) to her friends, the reaction is: Who are the Beatles? Like my other kids, she is a trapped audience in the car, however, unlike the boys, she loves to sing their songs, harmonizing with me. Her favorites range from Paperback writer, Revolution to You Can't Do That and She Loves You. When she reads that Joe of the Jonas Brothers idolizes Paul, she knows The Beatles are legends. When she saw a video of Paul from in 1965, she REALLY liked him. She was sad to learn he is now 65, and could be a Grandfather to her!
So, I have done my part to pass on the legendary Beatles to several generations by exposing them to their music. It really does come down to love. Love of The Beatles as a unit, not so much individually, but as a whole.