Thursday, September 6, 2012

PERSONAL STORY: How the Beatles Changed My Life

The Beatles In 1969
The Beatles In 1969 (Photo credit: Stephen Dyrgas)
by Jim Liston

"Ladies and Gentlemen ... The Beatles!" Those words spoken by Ed Sullivan marked a beginning of a major change in the lives of thousands of kids, I know because I am one of them.

On a cold night in February in St. Louis, Missouri, watching the Beatles performance on TV was a major step for me in the realization that I wanted to be a musician. When my parents called me into the living room to "come and look at these guys," and said laughing, "don't they look ridiculous?" I could not believe that they didn't see and hear that something really important was happening right before our eyes.

I had the opportunity to see the Beatles perform at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday, August 21, 1966. The pouring rain didn't dampen the spirits of the 23,143 screaming kids as the Beatles played.

Even though we couldn't hear the Beatles, everyone was overwhelmed by the feeling of being so close to four guys that occupied such a large part of our lives. All of us in the audience were around the same age and were there for the same reason, to be near the Beatles. I felt, for the first time, that I was a part of something bigger than my small world. Without knowing it then, I was in a gathering of baby-boomers, and the impact of our generation would reshape society, and it's rules.

When the Beatles came on to the scene they gave a voice to a generation. Up until then, music was something that our parents listened to. They danced to it, sang along to it, and bought recordings to play on their fancy stereo consoles.

I never considered spending my hard earned money on records before the Beatles, and the subsequent wave of British bands from the United Kingdom, came to the U.S. We couldn't use our parents stereos to listen to our records, instead, we had small portable record players with a terrible, tinny sound. But it didn't matter, this music was ours and the fact that our parents didn't like it made it even better!

Listening to the Beatles music gave me a driving desire to play their songs on the guitar and drums, something that I never felt while listening to my parent's music. I would stand in front of a mirror with my Dad's guitar and pretend that I was playing in front of a huge, screaming crowd.

Over the following years I followed my dream to be a musician and the experience of performing in front of people and traveling to different cities is something that I wouldn't trade for anything! Thanks John, George, Paul, and Ringo!

Visit to view the Beatles Carnival, updated the first Monday of every month, and sign up to win free Beatles memorabilia! Information about and pictures of everything related to the Beatles, and links to blogs and websites about the Beatles, their music, memorabilia, current news, and more.

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