Remembering the invasion

Beatles' cultural influence resonates strongly 50 years later

Most pop-culture fads have the shelf life of milk.

The Beatles far transcended that.

Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the British rock group, with its mop-topped musicians, premiering on The Ed Sullivan Show before a TV audience of 73 million people. That was 60 percent of America’s televisions.

Today, we have the luxury of looking through the lens of history to consider the full impact of the Beatles’ U.S. premiere. The Fab Four created a new template for American pop music. Hundreds of millions of their records have been sold. And we likely would run out of paper and ink before we could publish a full list of all the musical groups that claimed the Beatles as an influence.

So it’s easier to excuse the reactions of many people 50 years ago when confronted by the first wave of the British invasion.

An Augusta Chronicle sports writer wrote in our Feb. 12, 1964, edition about pre-game festivities at a Butler-Aquinas high school basketball game. Here’s how he started one sentence: “While a record player blared the music (?) of the Beatles ... ”

And this: “For parents and teenagers, life seems to be a series of fads brought home by their offspring,” an Associated Press writer wrote in The Chronicle on Feb. 11, 1964. “Perhaps they can take heart from one of the Beatles’ hit tunes – It Won’t Be Long.”

People said the horseless carriage was a fad, too.

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