60 years ago, Beatlemania shook the world

Sunday, February 11, 2024

I was not yet 9 and living in Glenwood, Mrs. Thrash dutifully teaching third grade, when the Beatles invaded America. Asked for a world view, I would not be on the cutting edge of events.

That's 60 years ago, the same month that Louisville's Cassius Clay, speaking out when some Black youths in the South were fighting off police dogs, "shook the world" winning the heavyweight boxing championship.

As Muhammad Ali, whose bravery in the ring didn't stop people from calling him a coward when he refused military induction three years later, the Louisville Lip affected Western civilization.

So did the Beatles, four British chaps who brought their act over from Liverpool and shook the world before Clay entered the ring against Sonny Liston.

John, Paul, George and Ringo wore their hair foppishly long for the time. My dad took one look at the Fab Four and called them "hippies." Still, I ran home from church to watch the mop-toppers perform on the "Ed Sullivan Show."

The year 1964 was to them like 1973 in horse racing for Secretariat, 1998 in home runs for Mark McGwire, almost any year in hockey for Wayne Gretzky. Unsurpassed in every respect, although the Bee Gees came close musically in 1978 like Taylor Swift is doing now.

Six of their '64 hits reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The group's manager, Brian Epstein, elected not to chance an American visit until a Beatles tune went to the top.

Source: Bob Wisener/


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