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Martinsville High School Alumni
Class of 1971 Reply  |   Post Message  |   Message List
50 years ago today: the Beatles on Ed Sullivan - 1
02/09/14     David Young  (1973)      BYoung1441@aol.com
As a nation, we had just gone through the three most depressing months in our modern history with the assassination of JFK. We were so ready to sing, and laugh, and dance, and experience something new and exciting. As John Fogerty wrote:

"The grief had passed, the old men laughed, and all the girls screamed"

I remember seeing a promo ad on Channel 7 from Roanoke that afternoon, saying "Tune in to the Ed Sullivan Show tonight for the American debut of the Beatles!," showing that famous black and white group photo,the same one that graced the "I Want to Hold Your Hand" single. (Quick trivia: What was the "B" side?)

I thought it was some German trapeze act or something, not picking up on the fact that it was a musical act. We always watched Ed Sullivan religiously every Sunday night (as well as Bonanza), so this Sunday was no different. I remember sitting on a round footstool in our den when the Beatles were announced and hit the stage.

I was transfixed. Nothing I had ever seen or heard before could compare with what was coming over the TV screen.

I remember thinking that my dad had HIS music (big band jazz) and my mom HER music (Ray Charles and early R&B), styles that I came to love later. But this was MY music. It spoke to me.

Dad and I had been riding in the car a week earlier when a song by Al Hirt, "Sugarlips," came over the radio. I had remarked that the tune was kind of catchy, and my dad said he would buy me the 45 the next time the two of us were in a record store.

That trip to the record store came about two days after the Beatles debut. Much to my father's chagrin, I no longer wanted the Al Hirt record. There was only one record in the world that mattered to me.

The following Sunday, my mom got the bright idea of taking a picture of dad and me before going to church. Dad, being a preacher, was dressed in his usual collar and black shirt, and I was in my knit pants and Hush Puppy shoes, and we were sitting together on the coach. The only thing different was the fact that I insisted on holding up my most prized possession, a picture sleeve copy of "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Then came the avalanche of Beatles records, a plastic Beatles guitar (dang, I wish I still had that), Beatles cards, a Beatle wig, Beatles notebooks....if they had manufactured a Beatles left nostril inhaler, I would have probably bought it!

Never saw them live, but I have had the pleasure of seeing Paul twice, and George and Ringo one time each.

It was just a magical time to be alive.

What are YOUR memories of those days?