I know exactly where I was 42 years ago tonight, watching the Ed Sullivan show at 8 pm, watching the Beatles. But I wasn’t an instant fan. For some reason, my psyche when I was almost 11 precluded liking this group that the girls in my class loved so much. I did not buy their albums or singles. I did not go see the Hard Days Night movie. But ultimately, actually within a couple months, the enthusiasm of my classmates and my sister Leslie, not to mention the quality and ubiquitousness of the music, won me over. (Though not everyone.)
It’s obvious (as I think back on it) why I didn’t have them earlier: I belonged to the Capitol record club! With the money from my paper route, I entered the world of the LP. My first album was Beatles VI, and I worked backwards and forwards, including The Beatles Story. So I had Something New relatively early and the similar HDN relatively late. I remember getting Meet the Beatles in STEREO, which was a problem, because I only had a mono player! (I didn’t play it for weeks, then I did, and it SEEMED to play OK…) I also got Daydream-Lovin’ Spoonful, Pet Sounds-Beach Boys, Herman’s Hermits’ Greatest Hits, and, of course, BIG HITS FROM ENGLAND AND USA: one side two songs each from BEATLES, BEACH BOYS, and PETER & GORDON, the other side, 2 songs by NAT KING COLE and CILLA BLACK, plus “Tears and Roses” by AL MARTINO. I probably still have it upstairs in the attic.
My father did go out and buy us an album in 1964. Unfortunately, it was this one:
My sister Leslie and I tried to hide our disappointment, but in fact were horrified that he had made such an obvious error. Later, I learned that lots of parents in America made the same mistake.
The first LP I ever bought not from the club was “Yesterday”…and Today for $2.99 at the Rexall. Probably the second album I bought at a store was Sgt. Pepper, for the outrageous cost of $3.67, at W.T. Grant. (Why do I remember these amounts? I don’t know.)
Thrice a year, I play all of my Beatles CDs, in February, June and October, which, not coincidentally are the birth months of Messrs. Harrison, McCartney and Lennon, respectively. I also play the solo artists in their respective months. But what of poor Ringo, you ask? Well, his birthday is in July, terribly close to Macca’s, so during that month, in addition to solo Starr, I listen to Beatles cover albums. I love Beatles cover albums. I have quite a few.
Friend Fred noted a source of some downloads recently. For the record (as it were), I have owned Bill Cosby doing the title song from Sgt. Pepper for decades on vinyl; it appears on the Hooray for the Salvation Army Band album. It also includes Funky North Philly and other parodies, and I believe is scheduled for rerelease on CD this year.
Don’t know how long this 1968 LA Times article about the Beatles getting cheated at the Grammys will stay up.
Johnny B. has news about the health of Beatles sideman Billy Preston.