It was fifty years ago today

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That morning the whole family was in the car, a big blue Ford station wagon. On our way home from church, on a freezing-cold Minnesota February day. The radio was tuned to KDAL-AM, the local CBS affiliate, and an announcer was talking about The Ed Sullivan Show and these four rock’n’roll singers from England who had LONG HAIR and MADE ALL THE GIRLS SCREAM.

My dad said, “We’ll have to watch them on TV tonight.”

And we did.

Coolest dad ever.

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Even as a young kid, I knew there was something amazing about The Beatles arriving on the scene. Just three months before, we lost our President to an assassin. My grade-two teacher ended that school day in tears, and I went home to find my mom in tears also. We grieved as a country, and even as young’uns we knew that something had changed, some optimism had been taken away. Things weren’t right for a long while.

And then three months later, these four guys arrived. They were cool and talented and clever and energetic, and showed us the things about American music and culture that they grew up appreciating. They made us appreciate them too, through a new and different filter.

The Beatles arrived just in time to help us feel happy and positive and optimistic again. They told us, you Yanks are still very cool. We’re overjoyed to be here. Let’s have some fun.

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