I was 15-years-old when I “met” The Beatles. To be precise, I met them at 2pm, on September 6th, 1964. I was living in Detroit at the time and was fortunate to have a friend whose dad worked for a local newspaper. I thought I would burst when Mary’s dad told us about the golden tickets – not just to the concert, but, to the press conference as well.
The event was held at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium, which was absolutely packed. I had never seen so many people in the same place. Talk about the power of community! I didn’t know the 28,000 young women all around me, but, it felt like we were a part of something bigger than ourselves. I loved it!
I’ve been thinking a lot about The Beatles recently, as we approach the 35th anniversary of the tragic shooting of John Lennon. I remember the power of their music. I remember their charisma. Most of all, I remember how they made us feel – unbound, liberated and free to be ourselves.
The concert that I attended was one of the first live events that The Beatles performed in the United States. It was only a few days after the, now infamous, Ed Sullivan Show and less than a year after the death of President Kennedy. For a young girl, like myself, their music cut through the darkness and made it feel like everything was going to be ok.
After the event, I waited patiently at the press conference to see my heroes. When I finally saw them, I remember thinking how small they were in real life. I guess there was a lesson about heroes in that moment as well – although I didn’t see it at the time! Physical appearance aside they were still perfect in my mind. As I stood, Paul reached out and shook my hand. I remember thanking him. Most of all, I remember refusing to wash my hand for weeks.
The heroes that we hold in our hearts as we are growing up will always be with us. They certainly weren’t perfect, as we thought at the time. But, they meant something to us. They made us feel a certain way. Perhaps most importantly, through their music, they helped us to find ourselves. They magnified the feelings in our hearts and told us that it was ok to be ourselves.
I’d love to hear what The Beatles meant to you. Did they help you to get through a difficult time in your life? Did they help you to find yourself? Or, did you perhaps simply enjoy listening to their music? Please join the conversation.
Photo credit thebeatles.com
Here’s a look back at one of the most pivotal moments…