Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Beatles

When Ron Howard's "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years" first came out in theaters a year ago, I had every intention of seeing it.

But for some reason, I never did.

Then a friend on Facebook issued a general alert to make sure not to miss "Eight Days a Week" on PBS last night. I set my DVR, but even in the middle of my college football frenzy, I ended up watching the program in real time as it aired.

Oh my gosh. It was like shedding 50 years. I was suddenly 13 again and back in the seventh grade.

And almost immediately, I was astounded by the footage, much of which I'd never seen before. As a longtime Beatles fanatic, that's not an easy thing for me to say. I've read most of the books. I've seen most of the documentaries. I've got the Beatles on vinyl and on CDs.

But this was different. Much of the footage was in color (colour?). The audio coming out of my TV was surprisingly sensational. The commentary was fresh and new.

If the truth be told, I almost missed the original Beatles party. Yeah (yeah, yeah), our family watched their highly hyped debut on The Ed Sullivan Show that cold February night, and laughed at their hair and wondered what the world was coming to. Dad was into barbershop quartets and mom was into show tunes. I was in transition.

But when I went to school the next day, my world had changed. Girls (I was just discovering them) could talk of nothing else. I think I was jealous. Clearly, the Beatles were a girl thing. I didn't know it yet, but this was a looming paradigm shift in my life.

Then it turned out that a girl I liked liked the Beatles, too. So we listened to them on her record player. My toes kept time. I listened to the lyrics. The seed had been planted. They were all over the (transistor) radio anyway, so I was hearing their new material as it was being released. By high school, I was no longer buying Herb Alpert and Tijuana Brass albums. The first Beatles album I bought for myself was the White Album. I spent the next year or so catching up and hoping that no one would notice.

"Eight Days a Week" made me feel like I was still catching up, but it also brought back some great memories. I think I spent most of the night with a silly smile on my face, keeping time with my toes and listening to the lyrics. Again.

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