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It Was Forty Years Ago Today…

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… that the Beatles performed in Shea Statium [2].

My earliest distinct memory is of the assassination of JFK. I was five. My next clear memory is of an event that occurred three months later: the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show [3].

On that February evening, I was sitting on my grandmother’s ample lap watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo on a small black & white t.v. My grandmother and her sister shook their heads in disbelief at the loud, ridiculous music – and at the Beatles’ absurdly long hair.

From that day on I’ve loved Beatles’ music. Part of this affection, no doubt, is simple nostalgia. My childhood was happy, and the Beatles were quite the presence during that part of my childhood when my consciousness was firmly formed.

I’m no musical sophisticate (as, probably, my abiding affection for Beatles’ music attests). But I’ve long felt that two of the most revolutionary moments in western musical history are the first two notes of Beethoven’s Third Symphony, and the Beatles’ two-minute song "Please Please Me." Both broke significantly from anything heard before.

No matter, though. I like Beatles’ music because it makes me happy. And the songs that make me happiest have no political message, no social ‘consciousness,’ no intent to educate. Instead, they’re about attraction and simple love.

I’m pleased to report that my son, Thomas, loves the Beatles. This fact does not impress his mother (who dislikes the Beatles). When Thomas and I are alone, "I Saw Her Standing There," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "I Feel Fine," "Octopus’s Garden," and other joyful songs fill the air. We sing along. Thomas smiles. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

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