|Rubber Soul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Anyone in my generation who was not affected by the Beatles must have been living on a desert island or something of that nature. The past 50 years have been so acutely touched by the influence of Beatlemania and the drastic culture quake that shook up the world with its coming. In the future historians may even label our time as the Beatles Era.
Who could miss all of the attention the media has been giving the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Beatles to America? We'd just gotten past the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy--the date that anyone with an awareness of what was going on at that time has indelibly etched in their memory. Since the arrival of the Beatles came so soon after the assassination of JFK, the two events seem to be somehow tied to one another. We moved from sorrow and disbelief to elation and anticipation of things to come.
Most in my age group probably saw the Beatles when they debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show. Some of you may have been somewhat cynical about those mop topped boys from the UK. I know I was. My younger sister was totally caught up in the fervor of the fad. I made fun of her for getting so excited about it all, yet I watched with a curiosity. It was hard not to like the Beatles and the music really was kind of catchy.
After their films A Hard Day's Night and Help! came out I started counting myself as a fan. My sister still was the one who owned their albums, but I was now listening to them as much as she was. I was bitten by the bug of the whole British Invasion and began to keep track of which groups were doing what songs. So much good and intriguing music was pervading the airwaves and starting to end up in our record collections.
I was still in junior high school and living in Northern Indiana. I began to listen faithfully to Chicagoland AM radio station WLS and was buying 45 rpm records of the hits that appealed to me. Not the Beatles though. This group still belonged to my sister. I listened to them, but my sister owned the records, fan mags, and other memorabilia. She even went with one of her friends to a Beatles concert in Chicago. She said later that she couldn't hear the music for all the screaming in the audience.
Then something happened to turn things topsy turvy. As Christmas approached in 1965 there were reports that the Beatles next album would be a radical change from anything that had come before. I was there by my radio on the day they began debuting songs from the album. The reports had been right. This was now a new sound--a deeper, more complex Beatles. The song "Michelle" received repeated airplay. The new album Rubber Soul was my top request on my Christmas list for that year and my mother got it for me.
I was now the boss of the Beatles in our household. My sister grew out of her infatuation with the boys. The pictures came down off her walls and she became interested in other music. From that album on, every Beatle album thereafter became a revered part of my ever growing collection of vinyl LP's. So many fond memories are connected with the hours I spent listening to that music.
Today the music of the Beatles still sounds good to me and holds a special place in my heart. My tastes have expanded far beyond the Beatles and I have a much more diverse range of musical interest. The Beatles impacted so many others in the same way as they did me. The nature of music and entertainment still remains influenced by their music. The adjective "Beatlesque" has often been used to describe certain musical styles that are reminiscent of what the lads from Liverpool did in their time.
Like them or not, the Beatles impacted history in a notable way. And they certainly influenced me and the way I listen to music.
Were you around when the Beatles arrived on the cultural scene? What did you think of the Beatles? Do you like their music now? How much do you think the Beatles and their music will be remembered a hundred years from now?