FORTY-EIGHT YEARS AGO, on this date, Nov 29, the Beatles released I Want To Hold Your Hand, and the world was never the same. Oh, they had other records before that one, but I Want To Hold Your HandÂ was the one that flung them into the stratosphere.
Coming in the immediate wake of the Kennedy Assassination, the song was a welcome shot of sunshine over a darkened nation. It caught on immediately, and within three months, the group landed at Idlewild Airport in New York for their first US tour. It would be an abbreviated visit, highlighted by appearances in two consecutive weeks on the Ed Sullivan Show. The first was in New York at the CBS theater and the second was in Miami Beach.Â Between the Sullivan shows, however, the Beatles took a train to Washington, where they would play their first real US concert at the Washington Coliseum.
I was in college at the time, going to Georgetown in Washington, and a friend approached me the day of the show, asking if I wanted to buy his ticket. He had purchased it, but something came up and he was unable to attend. It was a $4 ticket, the most expensive, in the fourth row. I remember seeing it on the ticket. He was letting it go for $2. I refused, thinking the Beatles were nothing more than a flavor-of-the-month fad, whose principal asset was their ability to make screaming teenage girls throw jellybeans at them. I have kicked myself so many times over the years, my ass is about worn away.
And it all started 48 years ago today.