Compared to a crew-cut, I'm sure the haircuts worn by the Beatles were a shock and an annoyance to the general viewing public fifty years ago. These young men from Liverpool had bangs, for goodness sake. You could scarcely see their eyes. What were these foreigners (four inners) doing on our soil? Were they here to throw our carefully crafted American lifestyle by the wayside and make a mockery of all those things we held true?
No. Not exactly. They were here to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was part of a promotional tour arranged by their management to conquer the world, and sell millions of records. They did the second part for certain, "Meet The Beatles" has sold more than five million copies since it was first released half a century ago. As for the world domination part, they may not have been quite as successful. The public response to their continuing presence on the scene lead to much debate and consternation, shining a light on what we all began to know as "The Generation Gap." Those who scoffed and fussed the most may have contributed to their success, owing first of all to the tenet that other long-hair from England set forth: "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." Secondly, those angry mobs who crushed and burned their Beatles records had to buy them in the first place, so thank you offended public.
It was a magic time. It was also a healing time. These drug-addled hipsters from across the sea showed up just about the time that America was fraying on the edges. I know, because this is the world into which I was born. I am grateful that I have spent my life in a world that includes The Beatles. As the years passed, my parents and I didn't always agree on everything, but we did agree on The Beatles. It was their music that we could all listen to in the car, and we could even play our Beatles records on the family Hi-Fi.
Thank you, John, Paul, George and Ringo for coming to America and giving us something to talk about. And thank you for being fab.