The Beatles touched down at JFK Airport in 1964 during a time of change that reached far beyond the music world. The last Baby Boomers were busy being born, and the first Boomers were enjoying their final year in high school. It’s true that the news of the day was about the Beatles, who appeared on Ed Sullivan’s show February 9th and became mega-stars. Even the anniversary of that show was celebrated recently with a Grammy TV special featuring Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. But the real story, for those of us who remember it, was how those days and that music became absorbed so deeply into our lives.
Songs by the Beatles had already jumped onto our must-play list a couple of years earlier. “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” arrived out of nowhere in 1962. Those were followed by “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” the next year. Then in early 1964 the boys from Liverpool were in the United States, riding high on the rising tide of their music. And in April came the crazy campaign in our high school.
One of my friends wanted to run for Student Council Vice President and tapped me to be his campaign manager. The Beatles were new and hot, so we used them everywhere on our campaign posters and flyers. Then came the election assembly in the school auditorium. I recruited three musical friends to join me in putting on homemade wigs of floppy, Beatles-like hair. Then we went charging out on-stage. To the tune of “She Loves You” we sang the made-up song “Vote for Richard, yeah, yeah, yeah….” The students went nuts. It was not exactly high culture. But it was fun. And we won.
I had seen the Beatles play on TV when they were in New York for their legendary performance. And had to admit they did it better than we did. But for that one day in April we had the crowds on their feet in the school auditorium — and the world was ours. Those crazy days still appear in our “cloud” of memories. And when Beatles music plays, those days still bring a smile.
— Sanford Holst