The Beatle buzz at the beginning of July, 1964 was centered around the already released album, “A Hard Day’s Night” (June 26, 1964).
By this week, fifty years ago, the Beatles had held 14 slots on Billboard’s Top 100 from “Can’t Buy Me Love“ to “Love Me Do“ which hit the charts that year at the end of May. “A Hard Day’s Night” hit the Top 100 Chart the week of August 1, 1964 right before the premiere of the movie of the same title.
That summer, when there were no Beatles’ songs on the radio, we broadened our horizons by listening to the just released “Chapel of Love” (Dixie Cups) and “A World Without Love” (Peter and Gordon). Paul McCartney had written “A World Without Love” a few years before and had given it to Peter and Gordon to record, Peter being the brother of Jane Asher, Paul’s then girlfriend. The Beatles were prolific songwriters and didn’t record everything themselves. So, that even when we weren’t listening to the Beatles, in a way, we were listening to the Beatles!!
Fifty years ago THIS EVENING, on the last night of their Australian tour, the Beatles performed at Brisbane’s Festival Hall. The tour had been booked by promoter Kenn Brodziak in what turned out to be a very lucrative deal – Brodziak had made the arrangements in 1963 before the Beatles became a household word. By the time the Beatles hit Australia that summer, they were greeted in Adelaide by an estimated crowd of 300,00 fans along the motorcade route! For the tour which lasted from June 12th to June 30th, the band was paid 1500 pounds a week (approximately $3,000 at the time). What a deal!
During the Summer of ‘64, we let the Beatles take over our lives. They dictated everything from our hair styles to politics and all subjects in between. We matured and learned along with them, read the books they read, listened to the music they listened to (rhythm and blues which was new to me); we read every line that we could that was printed about them. We lived and breathed Beatles.
Later that summer, I went on a family road trip, my first, across country. You can imagine how I took this news. I would be separated from Sherryl, my best friend, the only person I knew who faithfully loved the Beatles as much as I did; I didn’t want to go. But, somehow, WITHOUT cell phones or social media, Sherryl and I managed to keep in touch! I still have her letters from that summer, pages filled with references to the Beatles, the upcoming release of the movie, “A Hard Day‘s Night“ and their summer US tour. Though I didn’t have much clout then, family decision-wise, all I cared about was that I would return home by August 11, 1964 so Sherryl and I could see the premiere of “A Hard Day‘s Night“ in Harvard Square. But, that was something I wasn’t sure of when my family and I drove out of Boston that hot and humid July day in 1964, on our way to California.
That summer, having come off their world tour, the Beatles were well on their way to becoming a world wide phenomenon. And, it was only the beginning. Much to the delight of Beatles fans, thanks to the album and the film of “A Hard Day’s Night” and the marketing moguls of that era, the summer of 1964 was Beatle-filled!!
Don’t forget to check local listings this coming week for the re-release of “A Hard Day’s Night”! It promises to be a fun time for all!!