My life transformed forever late one night as a kid while watching our 3 station black and white tv well past my bedtime.The volume was way down so my parents wouldn’t know I was up. What I saw were 4 odd looking guys finishing a song. What I heard was ” I WANNA HOLD YOUR HA -A – A – A -A AND!” And with that -the damage was done.. These guys with the funny hair then bowed in unison and Jack Paar said “Those were the Beatles.” As he spoke those words my entire molecular structure changed. It’s was as if I’d become magnetized – strummed to forevermore ring in some new and perfect way.
it was not first love -it was not getting religion-it was not first obsession. I had become, within the course of a single inventive triplet ending, embedded with an art form.
From those moments onward I’ve wanted to buy music and write songs. I still have the first 3 singles I ever bought All My Loving,She Loves you and I Wanna Hold your Hand and the first album Beatlemania 3 days later. I still have some of the shite young ripoffs of She Loves You somewhere. I wore out about a hundred batteries in my parents portable radio playing it under my pillow at night scanning every radio station within range for music(reception was better after 10 pm). And there were great and varied songs to be heard -stuff from the Kinks,Dusty Springfield,The Stones,Millie Small,The Animals -and of course the Beach Boys The Lovin Spoonful and the Byrds. But only one group was best of the best.And I got them in one -hell less than one – a tenth. They were first in and nobody else came close.
I can still remember defending them and scoffing at those who preferred The Dave Clark Five and other one or two hit wonders who had British accents and knew 3 chords. Publishers seeing a quick buck even put put out a magazine -The Dave Clark Five versus the Beatles- claiming that the DC Five were more popular. I was incensed -murderous!.
Over the next few years the need to sound as Liverpudlian as possible faded from my list of priorities. But the grand anticipation of a each new single or release grew and grew. A Hard Days night -8 Days a Week, Yesterday, Eleanore Rigby, Nowhere Man, Yellow Submarine. There it was-wit silliness,tragedy,love and angst all wonderfully produced and rendered each in less than 3 minutes.
Of course I went on to other things and have grown to deeply appreciate music and artists of every style. But nothing sits deeper in me than those 12 seconds or so.
Several years after the Beatles broke up another group came along to ignite me. One that anchored my 20’s and one I still admire today. But that’s another story.