I knew that Ed Sullivan often featured animal acts on his variety show so I figured he was going to host a troupe that displayed the talents of trained insets, something akin to a flea circus. But instead of fleas these were going to be beetles.
But instead of six-legged bugs, of course, it was the four members of The Beatles who showed up to perform.
I was not an instant Beatles fan and at the time couldn’t understand the adoration, particularly among teenage girls, that the band attracted. But the music grew on me as I began to appreciate the great melodies, vocal harmonies and overall genius songwriting.
My cousin Eddie took me to the movie “Rock Show” in New York City many years ago and I was blown away by Paul McCartney’s performance. Even though the film depicted a tour of Paul’s post-Beatles band Wings, he played many of the old songs.
I later saw Paul live in Atlanta and he included many Beatles hits in his repertoire. As a tribute, he also sang numbers by George Harrison and John Lennon, who was born this month in 1940.
John and Paul shared writing credits on the great majority of those Beatles songs. I read somewhere that the two had agreed early on to put both their names on the tunes, even though you can often tell which is a John song and which is a Paul song. That can be obvious just by who’s singing lead, or by the darker tone John's music often took.
I was working as a reporter at a weekly newspaper when John was fatally shot in December of 1980. Soon afterward I wrote a column about it.
I noted that while I had realized that in his later years he had disappointed some fans who thought he could have been more productive and out in public as might be expected of a superstar of his stature, he seemed to be finally at peace with his choices.
He was reportedly happy, living those final years in New York City in relative obscurity. He not only deserved that happiness, he had earned it.
To see the Wikipedia page on John Lennon, click here.