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Yesterday …

February 9, 2014

wow! Was it really 50 years ago that the Beatles invaded the U.S.?
Hate to show my age, but I remember it well.
I was at grammar school in England and we viewed the Beatles’ U.S. Trip as the beginning of the end.
We’d already got to know them. They were the likely lads from Merseyside who’d broken all the stereotypes and made good.
They were your average working class guys who went over the wall, escaped the constraints of a class system that was still in force in Britain.
The dreary post-war years in Britain had precious little for us to cheer about.
and then came the Beatles – with their long-hair, their odd high-collared jackets – Beatles suits we called them.
Lately, some have compared them to Justin Bieber. They were the bad boys of their age: sex, drugs and rock and roll, some argue.
That may be true, but the Beatles were so much more.
First, the Beatles treated their fans with respect. They worked hard, they put on great shows, they did their best.
Justin Bieber is all about Justin Bieber.
More importantly, the Beatles had a wonderful, often self-deprecating sense of humour. They made us laugh at ourselves, at them – and a society that needed shaking up from the top down.
Remember that great line at the Royal command performance, when they told the audience to clap along with them, “And the rest of you in the expensive seats, just rattle your jewellry”?
In the early 60s in Britain, war was still an awful memory for our parents. Cities like London and Liverpool had been targeted by Nazi bombers night after night.
The Beatles spoke for those of us who came after them who were looking to find a different world than the one our parents had suffered through.
They represented change – in a good way.
Politicians talk about making a difference in people’s lives. In fact, they rarely do. The forces that change society come from the popular culture itself.
And the Beatles’ creativity changed pop music. They changed a lot in modern culture, especially in Britain.
Even the Stones, who were the ultimate Bad Boys of their time, were not the self-absorbed juveniles that Bieber’s turned into.
I doubt we’ll be celebrating Bieber 50 years from now.
And if we are – well, I won’t be here to see it.
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