I really thought I should sit it out. Everyone is talking about the Beatles on Ed Sullivan… what they meant to us… what they meant to the whole country, so soon after Kennedy’s assassination. Kids in front of TVs who swear their lives were changed forever. Why should I chime in on this? A new perspective? The opinion of a twelve year old?

I remember my sister was very excited. When the show started she began to scream. Well, THAT was different. She always made strange sounds when Stiller and Meara appeared on the show… but THIS was different. She was not screaming in a vacuum. She joined the hundreds of kids screaming in the Ed Sullivan Theater that night.

You know the stories. George, sick back at the hotel while a stagehand steps into his place and gains immortality. Several hours of rehearsal and careful marks on the mixing board all wiped away at dinner break when a clueless cleaning person scrubbed the board clean. That’s why John’s mic was turned too low to hear. Kind of made Paul seem like the leader of the band but that can’t be true. He’s off to the side and playing the bass! That’s not what the leader does. This is gonna take some figuring out, we twelve year olds thought.

My sister had the record. She wrote little notes about each Beatle on the sleeve next to their photos. Well, THAT was different! No notes on the Peter, Paul and Mary album.

Did I think, when I was 12, that this night was one for the ages? A night to remember five years on? Ten years on? Fifty years on? I was a few years away from maybe going to Vietnam. My lottery number was 172 and they only went as high as 165. I could have joined my Dad’s electric company and had a straight job my whole life. The idea that this night opened a door and what was once vanilla ice cream was now 72 glorious favors just there for the scooping did NOT cross my mind yet. Did I think those songs were still going to taste like Rocky Road FIFTY years later? Naah.

I’m a grandfather. I was the short haired kid in a black t shirt six rows back from the stage in the Look Magazine picture of Woodstock… and now I’m a grandfather.

Holy crapballs.

I got to write and play with Ringo over the last ten years or so and it’s always a thrill. He is still the world’s greatest drummer and has a pocket so deep that you can find keys in there you lost in 1976. I’ve bee blessed to hear some really cool stories about those days that I will take to my grave or put in a book for a large enough advance.

I’ve met Paul a few times. He always looks at me strange like he thinks he should know me but it’s just because I have shook his hand a few times and then slunk back into the crowd. My videographer friend, Brent, and I flew to London to record Paul singing a verse of a Birthday song that Brent and I wrote for Ringo’s 70th. He looked at the lyrics… looked up at me… and said “You did this? It’s great!.”

And he winked.

The guy on the left onstage at the Ed Sullivan Theater winked at me. He might have given me the Macca thumbs up… at that point I was swooning. I may have peed myself a little. On our way out the door he asked if I needed anything to drink or eat. He gave me a bottle of water and a strawberry. I considered asking for a pork chop just to make sure he remembered me. I saved the strawberry.

A friend of mine once challenged me to go one day without the Beatles. He said I could not go 24 hours without hearing someone bring up their name or names… hear a Fab song played… something Beatle related. I gave it a shot and I failed within three hours. YOU try it. One whole day. What? You’re not gonna hear “She Loves You” on the radio? Someone isn’t going to make a quip in a bad Liverpool accent? I will win that bet. Any other artist you wanna play the game with? I didn’t hear a Stones song all day yesterday… no song, no mention . Same with Garth. The Zombies. You pick the band.

The lads are different.

Nothing more to add to our collective retrospective. I have had some contact with two of the lads and I don’t think this anniversary affects me any more or less than any child of the 60’s. Which means it affected me a lot.

Interesting side note. At the big TV show taping a few days ago… it’s the first time I ever heard Ringo say the word Beatles. He always says “The boys” or “The lads.”   In all the years I have known him, its the first time I heard him say The Beatles.