Sunday night was the 50th anniversary of the Beatles
appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.
Fifty years ago, I was a freshman at Richmond Professional Institute, now VCU. On February 9, 1964, I packed into the front parlor of Founders Hall
with most of the other girls in the dorm to watch the Ed Sullivan Show on the dorm's tiny black and white TV—one of only two TVs in the building. (Our housemother had the other one in her apartment next to the parlor.) The parlor hadn't been so crowded since we watched JFK's funeral a few months earlier.
The TV parlor was on the left side of the front door. You can see the parlor's windows in the above picture. Everybody had been talking about their appearance for days. We'd been listening to their music for a few months on WLEE, Richmond's biggest radio station. But we hadn't actually seen them. And then, there they were—live on TV and singing the songs we'd been listening to.
I don't remember how we reacted. I don't think there was any screaming in the dorm. If we'd screamed, the housemother would likely have turned off the TV. We knew we were watching something important, but I don't think any of us realized how much the Beatles and their music would influence American culture in the years to come.
In 1964, girls still had a dorm curfew. We had to wear dresses or skirts to class. We typed our assignments on the heavy portable typewriters we'd lugged from home. We rolled our hair on big rollers and dried it under a hairdryer. We listened to music on records—black vinyl disks—that we played on our record players, or else we listened to our radios that weighed a couple of pounds each. Transistor radios were still a few years in the future, and tape players—? They were heavier than record players and used reel-to-reel tape. MP3 players, iPods, and iPads were beyond our comprehension then. Our world was pretty much black and white kin those days.
This is how I looked when I attended RPI. I don't look like that anymore. My world is a lot more colorful—and filled with gizmos that I couldn't have imagined in 1964.
Sunday night, I lay on the sofa with a couple of cats asleep on me and watched the Grammy Salute: A Night That Changed America
in color. I thought Paul looked old and tired, but Ringo seemed energetic and vivacious. I'm old and tired too. But I still like the Beatles' music.
Fifty years—where did the time go? Seems like only yesterday. . . .
Labels: 60s songs, Beatles, college