Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It was 48 Years Ago Today....

February 7, 1964 - four guys land on American soil for the first time.  They were met by 3,000 screaming fans, mainly young girls.  These men - really, they were just kids, the youngest being only 20 at the time - seemed flabbergasted by the hype.

Beatles trading card, 1964
By now, of course, you know I'm talking about The Beatles.  Maybe it doesn't seem odd to you, but once again I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this event occured 48 YEARS AGO.  I can't imagine how Paul and Ringo feel about it!  They're senior citizens now!

The Beatles have the honor of being one of my first memories EVER.  It's a foggy one, but I do vaguely recall seeing the four poster inserts of the Beatles from their White Album when I was 2 or 3.  My uncles Lou and Jim (my mom's brothers) were in their own band in Green Bay called The Ants and idolized The Byrds and The Beatles.  I think Lou gave my mom the White Album, which is why it was in our house (my mom and dad favored Sinatra over The Beatles, however).

Look at how young
they were!!
In the Summer of 1980, when I was 11, my uncle Lou gave me his copy of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  I listened to that album every single day for probably four years.  I eschewed my own generation's music in favor of this album.  Sure, there were some songs that I loved from the 80s, and I knew all the lyrics to every song on the radio and who sang it and what month any particular song came out - but none of that music compared to what I heard when I listened to that very scratchy copy of Sgt. Pepper's.  I loved "Good Morning" and "I am the Walrus" the best, and I felt like an insider when I could make out the squeaky chair sound at the end of "A Day in the Life".

My love for the Beatles followed me to college, too, where I finally found other kids who were as into The Beatles as I was.  My dorm room was plastered with unusual foreign reproduction Beatles posters, my favorite being a Hungarian version of the "A Hard Day's Night" movie poster.  Too bad all of my old posters were forgotten in one of the many homes I've lived in since - I'd love to see them all again!

Postcard, circa 1964
I could go on forever about how, in my (and 90% of critics') opinion, The Beatles revolutionized pop music and the culture at large.  Whether or not it was right, the world listened to what these guys had to say.  Why do you suppose the Western world knows anything about Ravi Shankar?  Do you think any of us in the U.S. would know or care anything about this Indian sitar player if The Beatles hadn't studied with him (same with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)?  They were influential to the largest generation our country had ever seen, who were influential in their own right just by their sheer size.  Think about The Beatles' first hit in the U.S., "I Wanna Hold your Hand", and compare that with the entire "Sgt. Pepper's" album, which was a very short three years later.  No other band changed so much in such a short span of time.  And they had stopped touring by then, too!

"It's no fad - dad!"  They were right!
I'm going to go on to my ephemera collection now or I'll never get to it.  :D  For as big as a fan as I am, I don't really have a lot of Beatles stuff.  For a while in the 80s and 90s (before Ebay, mainly), Beatles memorabilia commanded hefty prices.  I was young and had no money, so I settled for reading about them.  As the years rolled on and collectors were more willing to part with their stuff I managed to find a few things here and there, and I just got a bunch of magazing clippings from my friend Suze.  The most expensive item in my collection is the trading card at the top of the post - I believe I paid $3 for it.  :D

Because I don't have much, I have yet to use any true Beatles ephemera in my artwork.  But because they're such a part of my musical history, they've influenced my work a number of times.  Here are some ATCs I've done with a Beatles theme:

"Blackbird" ATC

"Nowhere Man" ATC

"It's all too Much" ATC

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