Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rock My World

With all of the Beatles programs on lately promoting The Beatles: Rock Band, I couldn't help but think back to days that The Beatles changed my world forever. Like the first time I heard I Wanna Hold Your Hand. In January of 1964, I was two weeks shy of being 11 years old. I was with my older cousin, Delinda. In her friend's bedroom, we were playing records on the phonograph. Terri, with a smugness that, in retrospect, was entirely appropriate, whipped out a new, 45 rpm single. Ever so carefully, she slid the record out of its paper sleeve and onto the silver spindle. Even after hearing that song, at least 20 times that day, I still couldn't believe what I was hearing.

Over the years, The Beatles continued to keep re-writing musical expectations. It became normal to expect innovation from the band. But they changed my world again in the summer of 1967 when they released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I was with my girlfriend, Gaylene. We'd spent the weekend beating the Reno team on our Junior Tennis tour. That night, a team of sunburned, happy-tired, 14 year old girls, were having a sleepover. Sitting on our sleeping bags, Gaylene, whipped out the most amazing album cover I had ever seen.With a smugness that, in retrospect, was entirely appropriate, she slipped the album carefully out of its cover. After putting it on the silver spindle of the hi-fi stereo, she changed the setting from 45 to LP, and spun us into the future.

The husband remembers that day too. He, being several years older than I, was at a high school party out in the hills at the home of a wealthy doctor/rancher. There were about a 100 kids there and someone brought the new Sgt. Pepper's album. Every one wanted to hear the music but the problem was there was only one stereo with one set of headphones. No speakers. It took all night, but they all got to hear the album--one at a time. Each kid passed the headphones to the next in line with glazed eyes, a shaking of the head and a "Man...you gotta HEAR this!!"

All I know is one day music looked and sounded like this:

And the next it looked and sounded like this:

And this:

My world was rocked...changed forever that day...again.


Brian Miller said...

it makes we wonder where we go next...what will it be that rocks our kids worlds, our grandkids world and will we understand or will it be too loud, too new, too different?

Baino said...

I was but a child during the Beatles heyday but remember being 'banned' from playing role play games in my neighbour's garage. It seems that singing "I wanna hold your hand" whilst playing a tennis raquet was going to bring us into disrepute!

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah! I could have written this post, Ronda.

So - who was your favorite Beatle? In retrospect, I think George should have been my favorite, but at the time I was all John Lennon.

Ronda Laveen said...

Brian: I wonder where music will go next too. And when I hear stuff that kind of makes me shudder, I try to keep an open mind and think back to the Beatles. Was there a group that rocked your generations world?

Baino: I laughed so hard reading your comment. I know you were "officially" banned. But did you continue to play the tennis raquet on the sly? Or in your mind?

Reya: I think I bounced back and forth between John and Paul. But I now agree with you about George. His lyrics and prolific song writting abilites were about equal to Paul. But his knowledge of instruments, quest to keep learning and studying music and technical musicianship put him way in the lead. Ahhh, we just had the honor of experiencing so many world changing epic events in our lifetime, haven't we?

Anonymous said...

Dang! I missed it!( born the year this was released ). But Mom remembers seeing the Fab Four on the Ed Sullivan show, the first time.

TechnoBabe said...

I watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and I remember thinking they were from England and were influencing music like I didn't know anyone could do, and I soooo liked it. I of course didn't know hubby then but he watched them on Ed Sullivan too, and he was a musician for 30 some years.

Jai Joshi said...

I was born in 1982 so I missed all the fun. Boo hoo.

But I'm a HUGE fan of the Beatles. George has always been my favourite. Here Comes The Sun, My Sweet Lord, As My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something, oh I just love him!

I have several friends in England who knew George and were spiritual godbrothers to him. They were in the room with him when he passed away and they say he went with a smile and a prayer.

I miss him even now and I didn't even know him.


otin said...

John Lennon's death is one of the saddest memories for me. At least Harrison's was natural causes. The Beach Boys album "Pet sounds" is considered one of the most influential albums from a production standpoint. McCartney says that "Pet Sounds" is the best album ever made. I am not a huge beach Boys fan, but that was a great album!

Ronda Laveen said...

Subby: I'm sure your mom will tell you that show was one of the hottest television events of all time.

TechnoBabe: I remember that Ed Sullivan telecast like it was yesterday. The waiting all week, then all day, and then through the program until they came one. It was something I'll never forget.

Jai: Obviously you didn't have to be born then to appreciate them. Those songs you listed are classics. Thanks for sharing that lovely story about your friends who were with George when he left this world.

Otin: Lennon's death was a very sad occasion and reason to die...so some guy can catch a piece of immortality. What a waste. At that time, Pet Sounds was the most innovative albums around. I think that Sgt. Pepper's pushed that envelope even further.

Jai Joshi said...

I was bemoaning my bad luck at being born so late, Ronda. Really, I'm so jealous of what you experienced. I wish I could have been there to see the Beatles do their thing.


Ronda Laveen said...

Jai: Imagine.

Jill said...

I love the Beatles and with all the hubub surrounding Rock Band I have been listening to them non-stop... just in the mood for a little Revolver today...NOTHING like Good Day Sunshine to make me smile!!

Enjoyed the music clips!

VE said...

I was always aware of The Beatles even though I was born in 1961. We had them around (the records, not the actual band) and my very first albums were The Beatles. Oh yes, I'm a huge Beatles fan. I still find it amazing how they evolved musically in only 7 years. 7 years! U2 has been around for over 30 now; have they really evolved like that? I wasn't a big John Lennon fan; he had problems and seemed to me to be a psuedo-intellectual. But his songs did have more depth than Paul's even thought I tended to like Paul's stuff better. I'm probably more like George Harrison, personally although not spiritually. Also, the Sgt. Pepper album probably wouldn't be around had it not been for Pet Sounds; that was their motivation for doing it. I'm glad they did. Their music is definitely enjoyed but I'll always miss what they might have still done together...

otin said...

Huh, Megan? who was I supposed to nudge about a continuing story meme?? Ronda who? lmao!

Ronda Laveen said...

Jill: I love that album too. I heard this morning that they have sold 686,000 Beatles albums this last week. Amazing!

VE: You make a great point about how much they evolved in such a short span of time compared to other bands. Maybe, in retrospect, Evolver would have been as good of an album name as Revolver.

Otin: Yeah, yeah! Almost done. Well, actually, it is done but just need to finish typing it in Blogger and edit. I have me eye out for a candidate for the next phase.