Been hibernating for the winter but I figured I’d re-enter the blog-o-sphere because of a special event happening tomorrow.
Sunday, February 9th as you may or may not be aware, is the 50th anniversary of an historic moment in music (although I’m pretty sure that when Justin Beiber announces his retirement, it may rival this particular event.)
On February 9th, 1964, four Liverpudlians made their American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show and created what is probably the single longest shadow ever produced in rock and roll (and music in general.) The Beatles, a former skiffle group from Liverpool landed in New York spawning the second British Invasion and creating what we now know as “Beatlemania.” (Incidentally, the term Beatlemania was coined in 1963 by Sandy Gardiner, a writer for the Ottawa Journal. It’s nice to see Ottawa has provided something of significant value other than the shittiest drivers on the planet.)
No one at the time knew exactly what was wrought that night, but since then, the influence wielded by John, Paul, George and Ringo is undeniable. Every rock and pop musician on the planet owes a huge debt of gratitude to these fellows and it’s a testament to their incontrovertible awesomeness that we are even celebrating the 50th anniversary of this meaningful event.
I remember as a kid originally hearing the Beatles on the radio. We were living in Cornwall Ontario and I recall hearing “Hey Jude” for the first time in 1968. I was about 6 years old and what struck me was how it stuck in my head. In my house, we had to listen to an insane amount of country music so hearing this song was like the heavens opening up – literally kicking the shit out of the shit kicking tunes I was used to. It’s funny but I can even recall the song that was on right after it – “Wedding Bell Blues” by Laura Nyro. I can’t remember to put out the goddamn garbage on Tuesday nights but I remember that!
God, my brain’s fucked sometimes…
As I got older and more into music (rock star wannabe that I was…uh, am), I became more aware of the Beatles and their music and being the nerdy dipshit I was (who am I kidding…still am) I had to know more about the music that so fascinated me. I devoured any book I could find on them and soon I really began to appreciate just how fucking great they were. February 9th 1964 wasn’t just a turning point in music – it was a turning point in history as well. The Beatles created friggin’ hit after hit (under the knowledgeable tutelage of producer George Martin) and their approach to song writing followed no trends but created them. Simple pop paeans soon gave way to more introspective lyrics (especially on the part of John Lennon) as well as complex chord and song structures that were well ahead of their time. Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” has never been better illustrated. Songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “A Day in the Life” and “Yesterday” are not only classics but signs of the changing times.
Music would never be the same.
Tangential rant time – to those who bitch and moan about how over rated the Beatles are I would like to point out that without the Beatles, there would be no Lady Gagas, Katy Perrys or Miley Cyrus’ or even male pop singers who I don’t know or give a shit about. You don’t have to be a fan of the Beatles to appreciate their contribution to music. Just understand that point and know that without ‘em, there’s nothing. Yeah, that’s right…nothing. As you were…
Such influence. As a tunesmith, they certainly shaped my forays into song writing but their American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show also inspired me in a whole new creative way.
Now for the shameless tie in – a few years ago, I decided to put pen to paper (or in this case, finger to keyboard) and write a story that gnawed at my brain for almost two decades (yeah, I’m a real fireball when it comes to writing…) I had read that during that fateful night, 73 million people tuned in to watch the performance.
73 million in 1964! In 2014 numbers that would be…what, about 20 billion, right? (give or take a few). It was said that in that hour, not a major crime was committed in New York City – not even a hubcap was stolen.
It occurred to me that it would have been the perfect time to rob a bank.
And from that deviant thought, my novel “Can’t Buy Me Love” was born. Two of my favourite things, the Beatles and larceny together in one book – it was obvious that I had to write it.
A lot has changed in 50 years. Now, I’m not so arrogant that I think my book could ever possibly leave an indelible stamp as large as the one created that wintery night at CBS but I’d like to think it’s my small way of showing respect to probably the greatest and most important rock act of all time. So thanks John, Paul, George and Ringo for the songs, the memories and for the influence.
And to those who have bought (or plan to buy) my book, read on…