Prophetic words. As history has it, that San Francisco concert was the very last performance all four Beatles gave in the USA. For years, I tormented my parents about the injustice of not letting me go – made even more egregious the following year when they did give permission for my sister Janet to go to a Monkees concert. The Monkees, of all bands! When I was not allowed to see the Beatles!
I know I wasn’t the only girl to sincerely believe she’d never love any boy as much as she loved Paul, John, George or Ringo. Some straight boys that I knew – mostly aspiring musicians – loved the Beatles as much as I did (although I suspect our fantasies about them differed).
It’s obvious their music has stood the test of time. People born long after they broke up love them too. But I’m not sure anyone who wasn’t young – meaning, a teen-ager – when they burst upon the rock scene can fully comprehend the sheer magnitude of their effect. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was a revelation next to everything else played on popular AM radio. It still gives me chills when I really pay attention to it. In some mysterious way, it changed everything.
A new Beatles single was an event. Everybody stopped and listened. Girls wanted to be their girlfriend, boys wanted to be them. They came from nowhere, they made it look easy. Maybe it’s not so surprising my parents underestimated their importance, took them for a passing fad instead of an artistic, cultural phenomenon unlikely to be equaled in my lifetime.
Go ahead, argue others are bigger. Make a case for Sinatra, Elvis, Springsteen, Michael Jackson, the Stones. I’m not suggesting they weren’t important, major influences on music. But for my money, none of them come close to the Beatles in terms of song-writing talent, ingenuity, the ability to re-invent themselves and inspire a generation to do the same.
Meeting Paul McCartney in person is #1 on my bucket list. As of now, it’s not looking likely. But if I found out he was at a local bookstore or restaurant, I’d be in my car in a flash if only just to gaze in wonder at my first true love.
Sandra (Walker) Hegwood August 29, 2017 at 4:03 pm
Like you, I was (and maybe still am) in love with Paul. I got to see him with Wings in SF when Linda was still touring with them (pre-cancer). I remember you didn’t like Linda and I liked her (not sure why but I did). I only saw them from a distance but it will be memorable forever. I have my Beatles scrapbook (very tacky and unorganized) and I have my Wings scrapbook (not bad but nothing like they put together these days). This is kind of morbid but I sometimes have pictured how I would feel if Paul died. I still understand the emotion people feel about John’s death, but I wasn’t a ‘true’ John Lennon fan–I liked him because he was part (an integral part) of The Beatles. I know that I will be extremely emotional if Paul dies, yet…I may leave the earth long before he does–one never knows. I think I’ll always be a Paul McCartney fan. I’ll always be a Beatles fan, too.
skywhys August 31, 2017 at 10:53 pm
As you know, I’m so with you on this! I felt awful when John Lennon died but he was never in Paul’s class IMHO – and the Martin Scorsese documentary about George Harrison really gave me a renewed appreciation for him as well. And what can you say about lovable Ringo! It’s so weird they’re the only two still living.