Monday, February 10, 2014

(It Was) 50 Years Ago Today

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show (1964)

The Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time 50 years ago last night. I’ve seen the footage many, many times since then, but can’t honesty say I remember watching the show that night, though I know we saw it and distinctly remember watching the Beatles every other time they appeared on Ed Sullivan. Nevertheless, I do vividly remember my 5th-grade classmates’ reactions the next day. We all immediately became Beatles fans—so much so that, a few weeks later, the Easter bunny brought me my first Beatles album, Meet the Beatles. Thus began a lifelong love of the Beatles and rock-n-roll. I was ten years old.

My first Beatles album, which I, of course,
still own

Back of the album, where you can see "Easter '64"
handwritten in lefthand corner

The Grammys and CBS celebrated the Beatles' historic 50-year anniversary by hosting a tribute concert, “The Night That Changed America,” which aired on TV last night, but really happened at the L.A. convention center a couple of weeks ago. Tim tried to use his contacts to get us tickets, but to no avail. And now we know why: the audience was packed with celebrities, including former Beatles Paul and Ringo and their wives, plus the families of John and George.

I’m not a big fan of other people covering Beatles songs, but last night’s televised concert was great with most of the performers staying very true to the Beatles’ own arrangements. I was especially moved by Katy Perry’s version of “Yesterday” and loved Joe Walsh on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The highlight, though, was when Paul, singing the preamble to the Sgt. Pepper’s album, introduced “Billy Shears” and here came Ringo to sing “With a Little Help From My Friends” (yay!). I wish we could have seen it live. But TV was almost as good . . . just as it was 50 years ago.

Ringo remembers coming to America

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