Sunday, February 9, 2014

mystery tour

A fellow I see in the gym pointed out to me that the Beatles remarkable productivity took place in a mere six years.  Today, as all those of my vintage are aware, is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan.  The Ed Sullivan show for those who are not of my vintage was a staple of Sunday night viewing. It was a variety show where singers, comedians, acrobats, illusionists, mimics,--all sorts of acts would strut their stuff for a few minutes. Fifty years ago tonight, the Beatles did two sets on the show. They opened with "All My Loving" "'Til there was you" and "She Loves You" and came back at the end to sing "I Want to Hold Your Hand."  My parents returned from some excursion while my brother and I were watching. When I excitedly told them the Beatles were on, my dad sarcastically quipped, "Great. Can't wait."

His was a minority opinion.  The next day in school was chaos.  I heard that in the girls lav, lipstick scrawls reading, "I Love the Beatles" were found on the walls and stall doors.  It seemed like even the most sedate of my female classmates wore a button that read, "I Love Paul" or George, or Ringo, or even John despite that he was, taken.  A serious young woman who, previously, had given no indication that she was out of her mind, spewed volcanically disparaging George Harrison's girlfriend calling her "nothing but a whore."  I wouldn't have guessed she had ever uttered that word previously or even knew what it meant.

That was February 1964.  The Beatles broke up in 1970.  In between Ed Sullivan and their break-up there was Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sergeant Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, the White Album, Abbey Road, and Let it Be.  And this doesn't count Meet the Beatles, or the movies, Help, Hard Days Night, and Yellow Submarine.

The Beatles' achievements are just staggering. Their songs are part of the consciousness of all of us who are about to collect social security.  I've Just Seen a Face, Here, There, and Everywhere, Day Tripper, Norwegian Wood, For No One, She's Leaving Home, A Day in the Life, Penny Lane, Here Comes the Sun, Let it Be, Long and Winding Road, We Can Work it Out, In My Life, For the Benefit of Mr. Kite.  If you were born when Truman was at the helm, you know, I guarantee it, every single one of these songs and dozens more.

The Beatles' music was the backdrop for our teenage and college years.  And the central message to their songs is nearly as applicable now as it was then.  We are on a magical mystery tour. Obladi, oblada.  Love is all you need.


  1. Very concise, true and like it really was...great job!

  2. Hi Zeke. Appreciate your post. Loved the Beatles until drugs drew me into acid rock. Now I prefer the Blues, Reggae, and even Country. Still love the Beatles, Stones, Rascals etc. But when I hear their songs I can't help but think of my youthful years, some of which were bursting with the kind of joy I'll never have a again. And though I try not to let it depress me, I usually fail. Though I've tried to overcome this negativity. I guess its the way I'm wired. I enjoy music I discovered later with no memories triggered. Hope other mid-sixties folk can enjoy them more than me. Gene