Why the Beatles Matter
In my bedroom - 1964
I am almost 16 years old. Like many kids my age, I am mad for The Beatles.
On Fridays at school, we would talk about the new song that WLS in Chicago played the night before. We would stay up for it. (They always played the new single on Thursday nights at 11pm).
We dreamed of marrying Paul. Well, I did, anyway. But I never thought I would ever get to see him. He lived all the way over in England, in Liverpool. How would I get there?
And then it happened.
I read in the paper or maybe it was "Tiger Beat," whatever...The Beatles were coming to Detroit in six months to play at the Olympia Stadium!
I sent for tickets immediately. No matter that I had no idea how I would get there. I didn't have my driver's license yet, my Mom didn't drive, my Dad was always working, and we lived clear across the state from Detroit. But I would find a way. I had to. My destiny awaited.
My friend, Janice, was also a fan and Janice's older brother somehow knew the daughter of the manager of the Olympia Stadium, so he threw out the possibility of our getting backstage to meet them. Are you kidding me? I just knew that if I met Paul he would look into my eyes, see what an interesting and sincere person I was, and my fate would be sealed.
THIS HAD TO HAPPEN!
So Janice and I hatched a plan to get her parents to take us. And this was no easy task. It was a long journey in those days and we would have to stay in a hotel, etc. We begged, we cajoled, we put on a talent show for them, we pulled out all of the stops until they said yes. When the tickets arrived, I noticed the seats were in row XX. Even at that young age, I knew those were crap seats, but I didn't care. I would see my idols.
When we arrived in Detroit, we escaped the confines of the adults and headed out to find the Fab 4. We had heard a rumor that they were at a certain hotel, so we headed over there. There was a suspicious bus parked in the back of the hotel, so we decided this must be their getaway vehicle. Didn't matter that we were the only ones who had figured this out and never mind that the bus driver had this silly smirk on his face when we tried to get him to divulge information. He played along, probably enjoying flirting with a couple of young girls.
And then, just when we were certain we had sussed the Beatles out and they would be making their way to the Stadium via this bus, right in front of us....
THEY WENT BY IN A MOTORCADE A BLOCK UP THE STREET!
Foiled. No matter. We still had our tickets and the promise that perhaps we would meet them backstage.
The day of the concert arrived. We dressed in our 60's finery and arrived at the Stadium, tickets clutched in our sweaty little hands. Anticipation was high!
This is how I might have looked. This outfit was on the cover of "Seventeen" magazine. Note the matching skirt and beret. How I happened to have it is another story (and remember this is the early 60's. Hippies didn't exist yet. We were still wearing white gloves in 1964, and believe it or not, my mother did not allow me to wear jeans!) I think I also ironed my hair.
As we handed our tickets to the ticket taker ready to run in and grab our seats, he looked at the tickets and said, "Sorry, kids, there are no such seats as those. Those seats don't exist!"
He then said, "So we can refund your tickets."
I think he realized he had two teenage girls who were about to hit him with their bucket purses and go on a rampage, so he said, "OR you can go sit up in the press box."
YES, YES, YES...WHERE IS THE PRESS BOX?
And off we went to the press box, which hung halfway down the side of the stadium, much better than what our bogus seats would have been had those seats existed (SIDENOTE: I clearly bought tickets from a scammer, who had no compunction about ruining a young teenage girl's life, so there were bad guys even back in the good old days.)
So there we were, up in the press box with about 50 others, feeling pretty smug and proud of ourselves. There were even a couple of guys sitting in front of us who were sporting Beatles' haircuts and clothes. All of a sudden, when one of them, who was trying to look like Ringo, stood up, a girl down on the floor spotted him, pointed and yelled "Ringo!" At that moment, thousands of young faces turned to look up in our direction and a stampede of young girls ensued. Before we knew it, the press box was swaying and bouncing. The ushers quickly locked the gate leading into the press box and spent a good while trying to convince the girls who had made it up the stairs, and who were crying and pressing their noses up against the chain link gate, that the guy in the press box was not Ringo. When they finally believed him and went back to their seats, the usher went over to the Ringo impersonator and said to him, "Don't you dare get up again. If you do, you are out!"
The show opened with Jackie de Shannon
(Remember "What the World Needs Now (Is Love Sweet Love)?")
followed by The Blossoms.
While they were performing, I turned my binoculars over toward the entrance to the stadium where the Beatles would be coming out and noticed an arm leaning up against the wall. The arm sported an ID bracelet which was a popular item at the time.
"Paul wears an ID bracelet," I thought. "PAUL!"
I watched that arm throughout the entire first two acts.
And when it came time for the Beatles to enter the stadium, that arm came out attached to Paul!
The Beatles performed for exactly 20 minutes. I know this because there had been much made in the press about the fact they were getting $20,000 for their performance, $1000 a minute, which everyone thought was just outrageous!
And of course we couldn't hear a thing.
Everyone was screaming from the moment the Fab 4 came out until they left the stage. Janice and I had decided that we were not like those other girls. We were more mature and sophisticated. No screaming and crying for us. But when Paul sang "All My Loving," I turned into the screaming mimi I really was.
Turns out there was no backstage invite, so I didn't get to meet Paul, but being able to see them perform, even if I couldn't really hear them, was a highlight of my young life, because the Beatles really mattered to me.
Years later, I did get to Liverpool.
Paul's Family Home
And can I ask - what the hell was I wearing?
It was the 90's - what can I say?
So the Beatles mattered then...
And the Beatles matter still...
They brought England out of the shadows of the deprivation that came with the end of WW II and created hope and enthusiasm for the future. America was in mourning for President Kennedy and needed a lift. With their "long" hair, Carnaby Street attire and music that came from the American black rhythm and blues they so admired, The Beatles inspired my generation to throw off the strictures of conformity and head into the future knowing we could do anything. It was a time of promise for us young Baby Boomers, and the joy and cheekiness the Beatles exuded spilled over onto us and made us hope and dream for more. Goodbye "Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" and the subservient housewife. Hello freedom and equality.
Flash forward 49 years.
Getting to the stadium to see Paul was almost as difficult as it had been 49 years ago (traffic, lines, crowds), but at least my ticket wasn't a fake.
And there he was last Friday night at Safeco Field in Seattle.
A 71 year old man, richer than Croesus (as my mother used to say, when describing someone richer than we were), but not sitting on his laurels as a Beatle, one of the most influential rock bands in history. He clearly still enjoyed performing and playing and now he was being enjoyed by, not just us Baby Boomers, but also our children and grandchildren.
He performed for three hours straight, rocking around the stage like a young man, voice still intact, obviously enjoying what he was doing, jamming with the remaining members of Nirvana during his encores.
And as I looked around I could see that everyone there was in awe.
Look at those faces.
All of my feelings and memories from 49 years ago came back and I realized, I may be 65 now, but it's still a time of promise for this aging Baby Boomer.
I can still do anything.
Do you have a favorite Beatles memory?
Rosy the Reviewer's
Week in Review
(and it's been a busy week)!
As a side note, I get my films from top 100 lists, but that doesn't mean there aren't some stinkers in there, especially when you hit 88 or so on the list.
I watch the bad ones so you don't have to!
Speaking of bad ones, this is definitely one of those movies where the preview was better than the film itself.
After having seen the preview for this many times, I was really looking forward to it, only to be disappointed.
Rosy the Reviewer says... In fact, I thought it was almost unwatchable.
Tuesday after Christmas
If you can't abide subtitles, you had better skip this one. And if you don't like sex and nudity, ditto. Though I don't consider myself easily shocked, this is what I looked like after the first scene.
But you had better also skip it if you don't like movies where nothing happens for the first hour.
Rosy the Reviewer says...But if you can get past that, this Romanian film is a cinema verite character study of a man and the two women he loves and the secrets that lie beneath the mundaneness of life. Very raw and painful. The acting is superb.
Jack the Giant Slayer
This one was lots of fun.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you are a lover of fantasy, highly recommended. If you are a lover of Ewan McGregor, so am I!
Road to Nowhere
Though director Hellman is considered by many as an overlooked auteur and this is his first film in 40 years:
Rosy the Reviewer says...this film within a film is aptly titled: it should have been the road not taken for me.
When you are attending a concert attended by 45,000 people don't assume you can walk into a restaurant and sit at the bar (which you can usually do most nights). But fortunately, after wandering hungrily around near Safeco Field, Il Terrazzo Carmine took pity on us and we were able to secure a seat at the bar, where I think I had the best Caesar salad of my life and the most delicious crab bruschetta (and people, it's pronounced "brewsketta," not "brushetta," just so you know).
This picture doesn't do the bruschetta justice especially since it looks like hubby had already taken a bite out of one of them!
For fall, leopard is the new black. Trust me.
Though the Paul McCartney concert was the main event of the week, the night before we attended an outdoor "Music at the Marina" concert with our friend Karin starring the "Dusty 45's", a local rockabilly group that has recently been touring all over the country. If they come your way, they are worth a look especially when lead singer Billy Jo Huells sets his trumpet on fire and plays it!
We are working our way through the book Seattle Stairway Walks by Jake and Cathy Jaramillo. This last weekend we toured the Mount Baker neighborhood. We are discovering neighborhoods in Seattle we didn't know about and getting exercise the same time. Ninety minutes, 2.5 miles, 300+ steps up, 500+ steps down and many hills, but for me this is one of the most fun ways to get exercise. Plus it's beautiful.
You might not have stairs to climb in your town but there could be guidebooks for walks around your area and you can discover some new places and get some exercise at the same time.
As for books, I was into cults this week, though some would probably argue that Scientology is not a cult. I have always been fascinated with the line between religion and fanaticism.
Banished, Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain.
Escapee from the Westboro Baptist group. Those are the folks that picket soldiers' funerals, etc. saying God hates them. This sheds some light on where that all came from, though it still doesn't make much sense, which is probably why this person left the group.
Rosy the Reviewer says...In general, these people are crazy.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright.
A really excellent look inside the world of Scientology. It explores what constitutes a religion and whether Scientology is in fact a religion and deserves the constitutional protections of the IRS.
Rosy the Reviewer says...Recommended, if you care about this sort of thing.
Beyond Belief, My Secret Life in Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill.
A more personal look inside Scientology by another escapee, the niece of David Miscavige, Scientology's leader
Rosy the Reviewer says....Again, crazy.
Well that's Rosy the Reviewer's Week in Review.
Now pull out those Beatles records and get inspired!