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Beatles’ legacy makes journalists eat their words.

I mean really folks.  What is all the fuss about?  We rant and rave.  We speculate about future releases.  We rumor-monger.  We gloss nostalgic about the past.  We relive records that have become members of the family.

Why oh why do we obsess the way we do about the Fab Four?  We can list thousands of reasons.  Each list would be different for each and every person.  The music is outstanding, but with the Fabs it’s so much more than that.  It’s a sense of history, personal history.  They’re are part of our fabric, and our lives.  The hysteria has quieted down in volume, but the intensity live on over 40 years later.  Who would have thought it at the time, you know, weren’t guitar groups on their way out at the time.  HA HA.

  • What is it about The Fab Four that does it for you? 
    Let us know in the comments below.

Here’s what we’ve read.

The arrival of the Beatles in the United States prompted mass hysteria among young people.

Much of the press took a smirky, “What’s all the fuss?” attitude initially, some ridiculing the British foursome even as Paul McCartney, 21, George Harrison, 21, Ringo Starr, 23, and John Lennon, 23, raked in money by the millions.

The Beatles’ arrival in New York on Feb. 8, 1964, made front page news in the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle.

“The Beatles, Britain’s rock ‘n’ rollers with the haystack hairdos, blew up a teen-age storm by arriving here,” begins the Associated Press article. “At Kennedy Airport Friday, about 3,000 delirious, shrieking, hooky-playing youngsters, many of them carrying Beatle banners, strained against police barricades to welcome the singing, guitar-strumming quartet.”

The article goes on to state the Beatles’ fame preceded them, their records best-sellers and Beatle wigs, boots, T-shirts, sweatshirts, toss pillows and scarves selling briskly in the U.S.

“The adulation of the Beatles is reminiscent of the grip Frank Sinatra had on teen-agers some years ago and, more recently, of Elvis Presley,” the article states. When a reporter described the Beatles as “four Elvis Presleys,” all four shouted, “No, no, no!” in response.

Then an afternoon newspaper published Monday-Saturday, the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle had some catching up to do when its next edition published on Monday, Feb. 10. That was the day after the Beatles’ appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which introduced them to 74 million viewers, about half of America’s population at the time.

The Feb. 10 edition of the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle includes three close-up photographs of Ringo Starr holding a camera, taking pictures of people who were photographing him. Beneath the photographs is an article by AP writer Cynthia Lowry about the Beatles performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” headlined “Beatles’ Strange Charm Over Teenagers Baffling.”

“Anyone who is not a teen-age girl obviously is unqualified to comment on the sight of the Beatles in action,” the article states. “Heaven know we’ve heard them enough. It has been impossible to get a radio weather bulletin or time signal without running into ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand.'”

Later in the article, Lowry writes, “Beatles clothes look about two sizes too small, and I’ve seen sheep dogs with more attractive hairdos. But thousands of squealing young girls get their message. Camera shots of panting youngsters in Sullivan’s audience were disquieting, in fact.”

The Feb. 11 edition of the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle includes an article headlined, “American Opinions Differ Sharply About Beatles.” Although some of those interviewed said they didn’t see what was so great about the Beatles, none proclaimed the group awful. Billy Graham said “I’m afraid I’m on a different wave length,” but John Pritchard, conductor of the London Philharmonic in Pittsburgh, offered praise for the lads:

“Really, despite the fantastic ballyhoo, I find them good entertainers,” Pritchard said. “Their numbers are extremely good, absolutely technically all right — both harmonically and rhythmically.”

The quality of the music was probably difficult for anyone over 30 to appreciate, what with the competing screaming of impassioned girls. The Feb. 13 Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle includes four close-up photographs of individual teenage girls shrieking, mouths and eyes wide. Underneath is an article by Henrietta Leith, reviewing the Beatles sold-out Carnegie Hall performances.

“The Beatles looked like an amusing parody of the worst elements of American rock ‘n’ roll music,” Leith writes. “The word ‘looked’ is used advisedly, for no one, especially the screaming little girls, actually heard the Beatles.”

The article goes on to state that each show was only half an hour long, and good thing, because no one could have stood any more screaming.

The Feb. 14 edition of Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle reaches humorous heights in its coverage of the Beatles. In it are photographs of famous singers of the time — Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Vic Damone and Andy Williams — all with mop-top Beatle hairdos doodled on their heads.

The many journalists who ridiculed the Beatles or simply dismissed them as a fad had to eat their words as the band’s music has remained popular for the past 45 years. Today, the Beatles are among the most critically and commercially successful bands in history, with over a billion records sold worldwide.

Source: The Leaf Chronicle


6 Responses

  1. I love the Beatles and I didn’t even grow up during the 60’s, in fact I was born 14 years after the band broke up. I started listening to them in high school, with “1” and fell in love with John, Paul, George, and Ringo. The “boy band” that were popular when I was in high school couldn’t hold a candel to the Beatles. So, even now the Fab Four are driving young girls crazy.

  2. To me the Beatles history continues with the solo careers. And it’s so much music to dig into. So many styles. The post Beatles music is of course more uneven, McCartney’s career has lasted for almost forty years now, but there’s a record and song for every mood and every day. No matter how I feel I can always find a something to listen to that suits it. I guess that’s a part of what keeps me interested in The Beatles/post Beatles music as I grow older. The varity of it all. A lot of other music and bands I’ve been hooked on, I just to listen to sporadically in later years.

  3. There are of course many reasons why the Beatles continue to endure;

    – Their music is a great combination of pop and Rock and Roll
    – Within a ten year span, they re-invented themselves (at least) three times, both musically and stylistically. Consider this – in November 1968, one could have watched the Beatlemania group on Saturday morning TV, gone to the theater and viewed the psychedelic lads in “Yellow Submarine” and then come home and listened to the “mature” Beatles new White Album!.
    – Their back story is one of the most intriguing in music history. They invented many of the music industry concepts we now take for granted, such as being the first group of four equals and not just a front man/backing group scenario.

    My two cents

  4. it’s not just the music for me. it’s everything they did outside the studio. if you pick up a beatles book then there’s loads of interesting stuff that has got nothing to do with their records — hambug, the whole yoko ono episode, john’s jesus comment causing burnings and uproar, beatlemania bringing london to a standstill, the whole legal/allen klein court case,brian epstein and all of his goings on, the maharishi and india… it goes on and on

  5. Since I was a child, my parents made me listen to all the Beatles albums.After I’ve grown, i understood way: because The Beatles are part of history, actually shaping time and space by simply preforming songs that now represent the standard of a generation.

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