There always seems to be some strange interconnectedness between the individual and the cosmos of music. With some people, it might be the quick-witted lyrics of rap, or the emotional measures of classical symphonies, or even the theatrical ups and downs of opera. For me, the connection was always there between myself and the Beatles — a band of four boys from Liverpool who sparked the British invasion, over 35 years before I was born.
From the time I was a rosy cheeked nine year old, I’ve been reciting facts about the Fab Four, gathering books and T-shirts and anything else to add to my collection of Beatles memorabilia, and, as more and more people grew aware of my obsession, getting teased by friends and family members who jokingly said “you’re so old.”
Even when I wasn’t conscious of my obsession’s magnitude, I knew there was something special about these four boys they called “the Mop Heads.” I became more and more exposed to their story and their music, through experiences like Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE show when I was 11, an all-Beatles exhibit at the Grammy Museum when I was 12, and even a live recording of Chris Carter’s “Breakfast with the Beatles” weekend radio show when I was 14.
Think about that. I’ve been a Beatles super-fan (or “Beatlehead,” as we so eagerly call ourselves) since I was nine-years-old. Six years later, the enthusiasm is still alive.
Fifty years ago — January 30, 1969.
Standing on the rooftop of London’s Apple Corps office building, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr (along with keyboardist, Billy Preston) played their final public performance. The boys had considered a variety of concert venues to film at for their upcoming movie, but Lennon, being the bandleader, decided to go cold turkey and finalized the concert atop the office building.
With Lennon and Starr wearing their wives coats, and police and fans gathering around the building in one big traffic jam on that 45 degree day, the Beatles played their very last concert together.
Fifty years later — January 30, 2019.
America has not forgotten the influence the Beatles had on her citizens, nor will she. Upon their arrival in 1964, the Liverpool boys provided a glimpse back at the color once seen in life — color that had faded to black and white after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy just a few months before their arrival.
Even their last concert together, ringing in at a mere 42 minutes, was another notch in the music industry’s metaphorical belt. It marked the closing of the door, as the Beatles drifted away from one another, and marked the opening of a new one — the door the Beatles stepped through as they went on to build their solo careers, the door that us Beatleheads stepped through as we set off to continue the legacy the Beatles were leaving behind, the door that closed behind us to end a gilded era.
In retrospect, those four boys with music and a pocketful of dreams, promoted an irreversible change on the course of music history and modern American history forever, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
As John Lennon’s closing words of the Rooftop Concert go: “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.”
And the Beatles really did pass that audition, the moment they arrived in America and in our hearts.