Recollections by Deborah P-L
- Did the Beatles have an effect on your life? On culture and society? Did you have a favorite Beatle? If yes, who and why?
- My first experience of the Beatles is significant because it marked the breakdown of some connections with my father and the end of following blindly to my elders.
The Beatles triggered one of the few times my father was ever “mean” or “dismissive” to me. My father and I were bonded through music –he taught me his deep love of music while we listened to 45’s together (current and old songs) as he went about his chores with me as his helper.
Then the Beatles arrived in America to upset the “apple” cart. I sat with my older sister on the floor of our living room to watch the Ed Sullivan Show to get closer to the television console. There they were – the FAB 4 in all their glory – and my ears, my heart, and my pre-teen self were moved. My father walked into the room and walked symbolically right in front of the television in between The Beatles and me, blocking my view. He said, “They will never last.” That’s all he said and kept on walking. My father was always such an upbeat person, and ALL kinds of music had been our shared link - so this was shocking to me. I don’t know if it was the long hair, the screaming girls, or the fact that my adoration was shifting to another entity, but my father’s response caused me to lose a tiny bit of respect for him. That generation just didn’t get it, the 50’s repression just wasn’t going to hold anymore, and things were gonna change - even goody-two-shoes-ME was going to rebel a little!
I joined a girls Beatles group a few weeks later where we lip synched and air-guitared to all the Beatle songs. I can’t remember who I was in the group – I’d like to think it was George, because he always intrigued me. In high school, my best friend tutored and grilled me on distinguishing the lead voice of EVERY Beatle song (a skill that remains and should be included on my resume even today). The Beatles followed me to college (ask my dorm neighbors how much they heard me play the album, All Things Must Pass, day after day), caused me to pull an all-nighter in 1973 going to see ALL the Beatle movies playing at a cinema in Harvard Square, followed me to grad school where I couldn’t function after hearing of John Lennon’s death, followed me to my wedding (where Beatle songs were played on a cassette tape at my reception), followed me to parenting where I bonded with my daughter (Beatle-nut generation 2) over their music and through 2 live concerts of Ringo & His All-Starr Band. Who else are linked to my key relationships, to all my life’s experiences, to the identity of our generation, to the social upheaval of the 60’s – who else but The Beatles?
It’s more than music.