The Beatles

I think the average English baby boomer should have the same place of pride for the Beatles as a California girl such as myself has for the Beach Boys.  I was first introduced to the Beatles on the radio right at the beginning of the British invasion in the early 60s. I got a transistor radio for Christmas and never went anywhere without it, I even slept with it under my pillow! Their songs were mixed in with surf bands like the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and Motown groups, like the Supremes.  My brother brought home their newest album  and I was hooked.  I really liked that music, but not even close to what my cousin Marcie felt.  She loved them and we played their music, sang their songs and read all the teen magazine articles we could find.


My Aunt Lucy somehow got tickets to their concert in August of 1965 at Balboa Stadium.  She had one extra ticket that wasn’t close to her seat so my brother was the chosen one that got to go.  I was so mad about it,  I was only 12 and  so it’s not really a surprise that even in 1965 my mother was cautious with her daughter.  After all, my brother was almost 16!  I was pea green with jealousy of him, but oddly enough not of my cousin.  I was so happy for her that she got to live the dream.   I remember that she screamed herself hoarse and I thought that was the coolest thing in the world!

Of course, when you’re that age, popular music is really important to you.  I loved the music from the UK,  Petula Clark, Herman’s Hermit’s, Chad and Jeremy, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Peter and Gordon, etc.  I could sing them all, but to me, like everyone else I knew, the Beatles were at the top of the list.  We sat glued to the TV when they were on the Ed Sullivan show.

Then there were the films. The Beatles came along and did the very popular and fun “Hard Days Night” and “Help”, we wouldn’t miss any of them.  As I got older, my love for them grew.  I remember in high school my best friend Nancy and I would save up and be at the store when it opened on the day a new album was released.  If it was a school day we ditched school. My favorite album was Rubber Soul.  I had them all though and listened to them over and over.  The only one I saved was Rubber Soul and my oldest daughter is the lucky one that got it.

We listened to every song and got caught up in the tabloid stories.  We were going to stop listening when Paul got married, cried about it when “Paul is dead” was announced and listened to “number 9” over and over.   I remember in the early days of their popularity my mother and I had an argument,  she said there is no way they will ever be as popular as Elvis!  She wouldn’t have discouraged me if she knew that they are responsible for the only “A” I ever got on an English paper in high school.  I was inspired and Nancy and I lived and breathed our research for that report.  We knew our subject and delivered it with conviction!

So maybe I’m feeling a little nostalgic today and hearing any of their songs takes me back to a day in my life, just like that.  That’s the great thing about music though.  My entire life I’ve wanted to go to the UK and their lyrics fed that.  Yeah baby!




3 thoughts on “The Beatles

  1. Wonderful nostalgic post Linda. I remember dancing to all their records in our sitting room in Coombe Hill (did we ever show you the house where I grew up?). I can even remember thinking to myself, ‘This is something truly different. Its never happened before. Young people making music for young people. Remember, remember, drink it in and tell your children; try to describe all the nuances, feelings, emotions evocative of this time because this really is something very special and unique.’ I don’t think I could put it into words at the time, but I felt the revolution that was the 60’s and wanted to savour it until I could retell it. At the same time we adored The Surf Sound, and wished with aching breaking hearts to go to America and live the dream. When we listened to Sunday afternoon’s charts show (one of only 2 pop programmes a week on the radio at that time until the pirate radio ships started to broadcast 24 hour a day) all the songs were American songs like you mentioned, or what we called The Mersey sound. (The Beatles, Gerry etc are all from Liverpool, so it became the Mersey sound, after the River Mersey, I don’t know if you know that). Then there was the Manchester boys like Herman,and The Hollies who took them on! Loved them all, especially The Hollies. Do you remember them? I saw them on stage with my brother, but not in the 60’s. I think it was the 90’s. Still good. Long live the memories of John Lennon and George Harrison, in my opinion, the two most talented of the quartet. Yeah yeah yeah yeah!
    Also, Richard and I managed to see The Rolling Stones at Guildford at the time they brought out (This Will Be) The Last Time. The screaming girls were red with tears and effort! Amazing days indeed.


  2. Oh Lin, if only we’d known of each other in those days. We probably wouldn’t have been able to afford a plane ticket, but we could have shared our favorite groups in letters or maybe exchanged albums! I really love that you can hear a song and be transported back to a time, it’s so vivid for me.
    Wow, The Rolling Stones in Guildford?
    I’ll be there soon and maybe we can go down the pub and listen to some music together! I definitely need to see your childhood home.
    I did know the Mersey is a river, “Ferry Cross the Mersey”! I would love to see it. Marcie and I played with the idea of doing a rock and roll trip and going to places like “Strawberry Fields”, “Penny Lane”, Abbey Road”, “Ferry Cross the Mersey”, etc.


    • I have family still living in Birkenhead, which is just across the Mersey from Liverpool. The ferry goes between the two cities. They are my Dad’s brothers and sisters, all now in their 90’s! But I have loads of cousins I haven’t met in years. Maybe we could visit ???? but it’s several hours journeying as it’s right up North of the country, bordering Wales. Also I have Rubber Soul, A Hard Day’s Night, and Help! albums. We are going to have a Merseyfest big style when you get here, I may even get my old record player out (you know, the one my Dad got me for my 14th Birthday) and see if it still works. If not, I have a turntable so no problem. I used to have all The Beatles singles too, but when I got married I left them at home for my brother, because he loved them so much.But that was at a great personal cost to me because when his marriage broke up, his then wife allowed her children to use them as frisbees! I never knew until years later when I asked him for them back.


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