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'The Beatles Are Here!': Five writers reminisce

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(Read caption) Journalist and author Verlyn Klinkenbourg found in the music of The Beatles "a feeling I can’t name or describe, the languor of regret, the urgency of despair."

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This month’s 50th anniversary of the first visit of The Beatles to the United States has prompted lots of reflection on how the Fab Four affected American pop music, but the world’s most famous British rock group  touched the world of literature, too.

Or so readers have been reminded by a new anthology, The Beatles Are Here! : 50 Years After the Band Arrived in America, Writers, Musicians and Other Fans Remember (Algonquin, $15.95, 255 pp.).

Edited by Penelope Rowlands, the essay collection includes remembrances from Beatles admirers and fellow musical artists, but “The Beatles Are Here!” also throws light on how the band shaped the thinking of a number of people who would eventually become distinguished journalists and people of letters. Even those who professed not to be Beatles fans, such as Fran Lebowitz, still felt compelled to respond to the British Invasion of pop music in some way.

The Beatles arrived in New York for their first visit to America on Feb. 7, 1964. Here, courtesy of “The Beatles Are Here!,” are five quick takes on the event from various writers. For the full version, be sure and check out Rowlands’ anthology:

1.  “My father would not let me and my three sisters watch The Beatles when they appeared on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in February 1964. His official reason for imposing this interdiction was because the Catholic Church had identified The Beatles as tools of Satan. This was strange because even at that very early juncture, The Beatles, with the possible exception of John, seemed quite harmless and cuddly.”

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