Thursday, March 26, 2015

Long, Long Ago

The Beatles wave to fans after arriving at Kennedy Airport. (UPI Photo, Photographer Unknown)
I reckon I was asleep at the wheel last year in February.

Perhaps I just wasn't in much of a reminiscing mood.

Perhaps (I have noticed this a lot lately) it's just the standard "it seems that time all runs together when one gets to a certain age." I dunno.


I was fooling around on the computer, wondering just what to post for Thursday and, as is my wont, I put on a little music in the background. Just to keep the aural circuits amused.

Quite often I turn to the lads from Liverpool for my entertainment.

I remember those days fairly well.

Dad was convinced that it was the end of civilization.

Some of my friends insisted that The Rolling Stones were, ahem, "better." I did not agree. Oh dear no, my disagreement was vociferous as times.

I guess we were rather passionate back in those days.

Well one fine day, Mom brought home the Beatles first single to hit American shores...

"03 iwantoholdyourhand" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia CC

The Olde Vermonter and I were ecstatic, The Musician was only three (or so) at the time and immersed in his own toddler world. I don't recall him expressing an opinion.

Dad grumbled about his "hard warned pay" being "blown" upon such fripperies as those "long haired ba$tards" from England. (As he put it in his colorful way. Dad was a man of strong opinions, God rest his soul.)

At any rate we listened to that record over and over.

Now that bit of vinyl, which came out in January of 1964 (I think) preceded another Earth-shattering event which took place on the 9th of February, 1964.

Now in those days we gathered as a family in the living room to watch a certain TV program on one of those big, black-and-white console TV sets.

The Ed Sullivan Show.

As it was a family ritual, Dad couldn't really turn the set off on the 9th of February, as much as he probably would have liked to.

For The Beatles were to be on the show.

I recall the excitement, my brother and I couldn't wait. Dad even kept his grumbling to a dull background mumble.

We didn't notice.

Those were "interesting" times.

The year before saw the assassination of President Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis had been the year before that. Lord knows we needed something to lighten the mood (so to speak).

So while I was remembering all that, and trying to formulate it into a post perhaps worth perusing, I stumbled across something that still has (what's left of) my hair standing on end.

A recording of that night on The Ed Sullivan Show. Talk about entering the Wayback Machine! Right here. (Emphasis mine, heh.)

Watching that recording was weird in a way. John Lennon was the oldest member of the band, he was only 23 at the time the show was recorded. George Harrison, the youngest, would hit 21 later that same month.

Now John and George are gone. Paul McCartney (Sir James Paul McCartney to us commoners) and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey Jr. as his mum named him) are all that remain.

Damn, that was 51 years ago.

Perhaps you need to be of a certain age to remember those days but it was pretty exciting. We listened to The Beatles for most of my childhood really.

From grade school up through high school, until their last album in 1970, it was all Beatles all the time, musically. (Okay, there were others. Hendrix, Cream, The Byrds etc, etc. But the main focus was the lads from Liverpool.)

Still listen to the lads, a lot some weeks.

Those were pretty good times.

Pretty good indeed.


  1. I remember the times and music well. The early Beatles's music takes me back to a simpler and innocent time.

    1. Same here Dust, watching that video really took me back.

  2. As you might imagine, the music scene was just a bit different in my neck of the woods. It's my understanding that the Beatles didn't really become famous until they did a crossover cover of Act Naturally. ;)

    1. Oh yeah, little Dickey Starkey looks like he's got a bit of a hangover!

    2. 'Tis an excellent tune.

      FWIW, we used to watch The Buck Owens Show.

    3. Ringo often looked hung over. There are scenes in both their movies where it's rumored that Ringo was either hung over or still drunk.

      I've had days like that...

    4. "I've had days like that..."

      Just had a flashback to throwing up at morning quarters (morning formation). "Musta been something I ate Senior Chief."

    5. Back then no one was scandalized when young enlisted sailors behaved like, well, young enlisted sailors.

    6. Times have not changed for the better.

  3. I was a little slow on the uptake.
    But then my life was a little insulated then.
    About the only exposure I had to music was whatever the crew in the radio shack made available on the ship's entertainment system.
    That was only while we were in port.
    Underway, the only entertainment was the evening flick on the mess decks.
    To those of us with a midwatch sleep had priority.

    1. Yeah that's right, you were in the Navy at that time.

      For those on the midwatch, sleep was always a priority. I worked the USAF version of that for years. Easier to do on land as you might imagine.

  4. I'm right there with you, Sarge. We didn't have a TV in 1964, but I saw those lads on a neighbor's set - didn't even realize who they were, at first. I was about to turn 9, and recognized the song quickly enough. And yep, I've built a "British invasion" channel on Pandora. :)

  5. Loved the music, the Times in many ways, not so much. When they showed up on the Sullivan Show, my mom said, "Oh, that's dreadful!" And changed the channel. "Dreadful" was as bad as it could get to my mom.

    1. I think we (my brothers and I) overruled her and changed back...that or they were on Sullivan other times.

    2. The times were going to Hell in a hand basket, that's for sure. Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam. Some of us began to think it was our destiny to graduate from high school and go straight there (after training, of course). Fortunately, that didn't happen.

      But yeah, the '60s weren't that great for a lot of people.

      Me? I had a pretty good time.

    3. They were on the show a few times.

      Three times that February (twice live, once on tape) then again in September of '65.

      They also did some promotional clips for the exclusive use of the show which aired in '66 and '67.

      (Overrule your Mom? No way!)

    4. My Mom and yours were pretty similar. She strongly disfavored them. While she was passing, I asked her about any regrets, She said she regretted being wrong about the Beatle's music. I'd say that was a good life then.

    5. With me it was always Dad who didn't care for them (or any other band of that ilk).

      Mom has always been young at heart. Still is at 84.

  6. I started first grade in 64, so the Beatles were not that important to me until later. I missed them on the Ed Sullivan Show, but remember watching Dolly Pardon on the Porter Wagoner Show. Okay, so I'm a little musically challenged.

    1. Nothing wrong with Miss Dolly! (Or Porter Wagoner for that matter.)

  7. Amsterdam, 1966, my buddy and I were on pass and got tossed out of a big joint called Mercurais (spelling optional). The Beatles were headliners. We didn't know who they were. We were tossed because my buddy was checking women to see if they were wearing bras. Dumb ass G.I.s

  8. One of my earliest memories was watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. All I really remember was the band had 4 members, and the drummer was on a raised platform. But not bad for someone born 21 AUG 1961.

    1. Not bad for a two-year old.

      I mean seriously, my earliest memories are from around that age but mostly they're vague, hazy things. Which I sometimes think spring from my parents' stories of me at that age. Do I remember the event itself? Or my parents' stories of those events?

      The raised platform, wasn't that de rigueur for drummers?


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.