Opinion: Celebrating 50 years of the Beatles in America

Megan L. Brown is a junior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Megan Brown

We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America on Feb. 7. On Feb. 9, 1964, they performed one of the most iconic musical performances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Teenagers across America, including my parents, went wild for the Fab Four as they made their way into the U.S. The whole country watched John, Paul, George and Ringo as they wrote a truly historic chapter in music, and they couldn’t have come at a better time, seeing that the assassination of JFK was only three months earlier. Their movement into America was something the people needed, especially the younger generation.

Most saw this moment in history as the start of the British Invasion, paving the way for bands like the Animals, the Hollies, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, the Who and the Rolling Stones, to come to America.

CBS held a celebration last week to mark the anniversary of the “Sullivan” performance by airing “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles.” There were a few astounding performances of Beatles music during the special, such as the reunion of the Eurhythmics — Annie Lennox gave strong vocals during “The Fool on the Hill.”

One of the finest highlights was the performance of Joe Walsh, Gary Clark Jr. and Dave Grohl performing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Walsh and Clark had a guitar jam session as they dueled it out with Grohl on percussion; That’s what I like to see. George Harrison’s son, Dhani, also played with Walsh and Electric Light Orchestra’s Jeff Lynne on the song “Something.” In the end, we saw Ringo and Paul sing individually and then joyfully perform Beatles classics together.

The Beatles’ music has influenced so many groups. Grohl was on point when he talked about the Beatles before his performance: “If it weren’t for the Beatles, I would not be a musician,” Grohl said. “From a very early age, I loved their groove and their swagger, their grace and their beauty, their dark and their light. The Beatles knew no boundaries, and in that freedom, they seemed to define what we now know today as rock ‘n’ roll, for my parents, for me and for my daughter, too.”

Whatever your musical preference might be, there is no denying the Beatles are one of the most likeable and talented bands ever. The four lads from Liverpool gave all different insights on music, changing their styles over and over, but they were always “the Beatles.” They had that certain groove to their music that made you pay attention and want more. With albums like “Please Please Me,” “Rubber Soul,” “Magical Mystery Tour,” “Revolver” and “Abbey Road,” how could you not love them? They are a quintessential guide to all genres of music. Go out and pick up an album of theirs on vinyl, or download the discography and let yourself wander in the greatest of the Beatles.