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The Beatles, Ed Sullivan: 50 Fab Years
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We can work it out, we can work it out.
I wasn’t quite four years old at the time, so I cannot say with dead certainty that I was one of the 73 million Americans watching The Beatles make their historic first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9, 1964. My mother says only that we were “probably” watching the program (presumably before the family’s weekly “Bonanza” ritual).
But I CAN work out a column about the other ways the Fab Four have intersected with my life over the past five decades.
I remember watching ABC’s animated Beatles series that premiered in 1965. (It had its charm, but the quality makes me imagine the studio owner singing “I Saw Her Standing There - So I Asked If She Could Dash Off Five Minutes of Animation During Her Coffee Break.”)
Those zany Liverpool moptops inspired me and lots of other first-graders to replace our crewcut haircuts with bangs. Only a few of us tried replacing naptime with transcendental meditation time or “Do you like me?” notes with “Do you think I’m more popular than Jesus?” notes, however.
Hoping against hope, I sort of held my breath on April 24, 1976 when “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels made a tongue-in-cheek offer of a whopping $3,000 for the Beatles to reunite on “SNL.” (In January of 1980, I enjoyed the “SNL” spoof comparing Paul McCartney’s marijuana arrest in Tokyo with the ongoing Iranian hostage situation.)
College friend John Evans enriched my meager music collection with bootlegged audiocassettes of The Beatles, as well as John Lennon’s “Double Fantasy” album (mercifully sans the Yoko Ono tracks). John, you can stop posting all those Facebook queries about the statute of limitations!
A fellow from the campus Christian Center surprised me with his affection for “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” - a song seemingly more suited to Chris Christie than a religious meetinghouse.
In a bittersweet gesture, my first girlfriend presented me with a Beatles vinyl LP for Christmas, just weeks after John Lennon was murdered. Shortly thereafter, she broke off our relationship. (“She’s temporarily infatuated with you, yeah, yeah, yeah...”)
George Harrison’s nostalgic “All Those Years Ago,” which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981, helped ease the pain of John’s passing.
As both a Beatles fan and a “Hee-Haw” fan, I was tickled to hear Buck Owens and Ringo Starr release a duet of “Act Naturally” in 1989.
I’ll always treasure two words from the 1992 Chicago ComiCon. While signing an autograph, Doug Moench (writer of Batman, Master of Kung Fu and other series) noticed my “John Lennon/New York City” T-shirt and remarked “Cool shirt.”
Speaking of “intersecting” with the Beatles mythos, I literally do that quite often. About a mile and a half from my house is the intersection of Industrial Drive and what used to be Black Cat Road but now carries the more mellifluous designation Abbey Road.
Enough about me. I hope that between now and the 50th anniversary on February 9, you’ll share your own Beatles memories (good or bad) with me and your family.
And I’ll spend the next 11 years wondering, “Will you still need me, will you still read me, when I’m 64?”
Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”.