Feb. 9 marks 50 years since John, Paul, George and Ringo seized America by playing on the Ed Sullivan Show. Half a century – really?
A mere 77 days after America endured the horrible nightmare of JFK’s assassination, four moptops from England brightened our mood with their youthful exuberance, wit, charm, and fresh sound.
I was a slow convert. My older brother Dave played electric guitar, and I had become musically aware at a young age through exposure to his music. For awhile it had been folk music, then surf guitar via artists like Duane Eddy and the Ventures.
Watching the Beatles’ American debut on our black and white Magnavox console TV, I distinctly remember disliking Paul and George shaking their heads while warbling “Ooo!” I said so the next day at school to a 4th-grade classmate who raved about how dreamy they were.
“They’re not as good as the Ventures,” I said.
“The Ventures?! They’re just a bunch of gross old men!” the girl said in disgust.
But I came around. That week, KJR and KOL Radio in Seattle played Beatles songs endlessly, and the quality of those tunes beat some sense into me. By the time the Beatles played the Sullivan show again the following Sunday, I was a convert.
“Meet the Beatles,” the Capitol Records LP that topped the charts, eventually became the first album I ever bought with my own money. But for my birthday in March 1964, I asked for and received an LP from another British-invasion band: “Glad All Over” by the Dave Clark Five.
Apparently, my questionable taste in music had yet to become fully refined.