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!