Mesmerized. Awestruck. Ecstatic. Transformed. I was only 15 years old, but I knew I was watching history in my aunt and uncle’s living room on their black and white television set. I held my breath. I don’t think anything in my life has ever been as exciting as the Beatles on Ed Sullivan on February 9, 1964.
The United States desperately needed joy. We were still mourning Pres. John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We needed a bright light and hope and something to celebrate.
It is strange to me today to see photos of the Beatles in living color because our world back then was mostly black and white. Color was still a luxury.
We weren’t allowed to scream out loud like many young girls did. But, we certainly screamed in our hearts when the Beatles came off their plane in New York City. OMG. The mental swoons. I’m still smiling at my young self. Oh, those mops of hair and the tight pants. It started a fashion revolution.
My cousin Gary, who is a few weeks older than I am, became the Paul McCartney of the Belleville, IL area. The tinnitus that makes my ears ring today was planted in my eardrums while dancing to his music on Friday nights. Gary put himself through dental school with his rock band, and he still performs with rock star dentists in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Branson. He’s aged better than Sir McCartney and has also had three wives.
Ed Sullivan started each broadcast by asserting he had a “really big sheeeeooo [show] tonight” for his viewers. CBS is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan tonight. It was an epic show. I was blessed to have witnessed it.
Sorry, Downton Abbey, I’ll be watching CBS tonight.