It’s been 50 years today? Are you freakin’ kidding me? Fifty years since the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show? Seriously?
Yet I remember it well, even though I was only nine years old. And the reason I have this memory is because my mother, bless her heart, immediately recognized the significance of the event.
I was already in bed—it was a Sunday night, and therefore qualified as a “school night” in our house. But Mom quietly turned the door handle and whispered, “Are you still awake?”
Quietly, so as to not disturb my already-sleeping sister, I slid out of bed and followed Mom down the hallway to the living room. “I want you to see this,” she said. “It’s the Beatles! They’re on Ed Sullivan!”
“The Beatles?” Puzzled, I sat down on the carpet in front of our TV, not knowing what to make of the excitement I heard in Mom’s voice.
In hindsight, it occurs to me that Mom was only 33 in 1964. Kennedy had been shot just a few months earlier, the Civil Rights movement was in full swing, and the Beatles were about to take the music world by storm.
I didn’t know quite what to make of those long-haired guys with British accents. I remember putting my hands over my ears and rolling under the cement fireplace hearth when the young girls in the audience began screaming.
“All My Loving” was the first song they sang that night. I had to look that up. I also looked up what they were paid for their appearance: a whopping $10,000, split many more ways than four. (In 1964, a front-row ticket to their first concert cost $4. Four dollars!)
Fifty years ago I was just a teensy bit young to fully appreciate The British Invasion. But today—today!—I’m forever grateful my mother provided me that lasting memory.