“Ladies and Gentlemen – The Beatles!”
And with those words, Ed Sullivan completed his introduction of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — Liverpool, England’s The Beatles. They took the stage on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964, officially kicking off “Beatlemania.”
It’s hard to imagine that it’s been 50 years since my parents, brother and I gathered in our living room to watch, on our 19-inch black and white television set, this highly anticipated and promoted program — Mom and Dad on the sofa and us two boys sitting on the floor close to the set.
The Beatles opened the show with “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You” and “She Loves You.” They closed it with “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Of course, as youngsters at the time, Michael and I were wide-eyed and loved the show, but I distinctly remember my parents with looks of shock on their faces. My father, who grew up in a much “quieter” music era, just got up and left the room. (I guess his tool room in the basement needed to be reorganized.) “The mop haircuts, the clothes and the music. It will never last,” my mother said.
But it did. Now, 50 years later, The Beatles are still one of the world’s most beloved bands. And their first North American performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, watched by 73 million people, had a lot to do with it.
In one week in April, after their appearance on the show, The Beatles had the top five songs on the U.S. Billboard Hot-100 chart, a fete never before and never since accomplished. The band would end the year with six number one hits and end its run with a total of 20. No music artist, not even the great Elvis Presley, can claim more.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to see this past Sunday evening’s CBS presentation of “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America,” a commemorative tribute to their first American performance, you really missed a good one. I hope you can find it somewhere online.
This Week’s Music Trivia Question
As the saying goes, all good things in life must come to an end. And so it did with The Beatles.
Although John Lennon privately informed the other Beatles that he was leaving the group in September 1969, there was no public acknowledgement of the break-up until Paul McCartney announced on April 10, 1970 that he was quitting the band.
At that point, The Beatles as a group were never again to be. Each of The Beatles immediately began what turned out to be highly successful solo recording careers.
This week’s question is: Of the four Beatles, which of the Fab Four went on to have the most number one songs in the United States? A) John; B) Paul; C) George; or D) Ringo?
If you are the fourth caller and have the correct answer, you’ll win an anthology CD of all 20 Beatles’ number one hits. Good luck!
Last Week’s Music Trivia Question
As a part of the Tonto Community Concert Association’s concert series, this past Monday evening Hal Linden, of “Barney Miller” fame, presented a wonderful concert in the Payson High School Auditorium.
Kudos to Linden for entertaining us with energy, professional polish and with his wonderful Broadway voice. Accompanied by his talented seven-piece band, the 90-minute, non-stop presentation was simply magnificent.
Last week’s music trivia question asked if you could remember the nickname of Abe Vigoda, a regular cast member on the mid-1970s/early 1980s situation comedy TV show “Barney Miller.” The choices were A) Meathead; B) The Fonz; C) Fish; and D) Tattoo.
The correct answer was Fish.
Meathead was the nickname given to Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner), by Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) on the 1971-1979 comedy “All In The Family.”
The Fonz (or Fonzie) was the nickname of the ever-so-cool, black leather-clad character Arthur Fonzarelli (Harry Winkler) in the 1974-1984 TV comedy “Happy Days.”
Tattoo (Hervé Villechaize) was one of the characters on the 1977-1984 TV show “Fantasy Island.” You may remember at the beginning of each episode the diminutive Tattoo spotting the seaplane approaching the island and excitedly yelling, with a French accent, “Ze Plane! Ze Plane!” and ringing a bell.
Congratulations to this past week’s music trivia winner, Myrtle Warter, who won two tickets to the Hal Linden concert.
Myrtle first won this contest in 2012, then again last year and now, at the spry young age of 98, for her third time. She told me she still loves to play bridge and work on jigsaw puzzles. And how did she like the Hal Linden concert? “I thought it was a great experience. Mr. Linden could really sing and play the clarinet.”
A Final Note
Two thumbs-up to the students and teachers who participated in the Lip Sync Concert. The contestants donned terrific costumes, used wonderful props, were spot-on with their lip syncing and acted out their songs impeccably.
At the end of the concert, we were treated to a preview of this April’s PHS musical “Footloose.” Mark your calendars — it’s going to be GREAT!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
DJ Craig, (928) 468-1482, www.djcraiginpayson.com