Forty-five years ago today, when I was less than two months shy of turning fifteen, the family gathered around the black and white and watched the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, in their first U.S. television appearance. It was the beginning of my musical awareness, but all my dad could see were long hair and screaming girls, and he didn’t have much use for either. Ah, if he’d only known. That was barely the tip of the iceberg that became the sixties, musically and otherwise.
As I’ve said often, I have only very vague memories of my childhood, just a few standout moments that probably have stuck with me more from retelling than from when they actually happened. The same goes for my teenage years, but for a different reason. I’ve repressed those more or less deliberately, but I do remember that Sunday night in the old house on King Street. I might not be remembering all of it, and I might not be remembering it accurately, but I do remember.
I embraced the Beatles (and, to a lesser degree, the Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five, the Who, the Kinks, and the others) immediately and passionately. And I have to admit, in my teenage certainty, that I looked down on anyone who didn’t. I’m still a little that way. I cringe a little inside when I hear someone say something bad about something I like, in music especially, but also in TV shows and movies and other parts of life that have meaning to me. I’m not proud to be that way, and I struggle against it, but it’s part of who I am.