Music Legends – The Beatles Special – The Magical Mistery Tour – Edition 2019
I can still remember the first time I was introduced to the Beatles. I can’t claim to have met them personally, of course, but that’s not what I mean. Like most people of my age, I was introduced to them through their music. In my case, that was in 1963, when I was just seven years old.
1963 was a momentous year for Britain all told. There was a savage winter that saw Britons shivering under the lowest temperatures for more than 200 years. lt was the year of the Great Train Robbery and the Aldermaston March. Meanwhile, in America, Martin Luther King made his great ‘I have a dream’ speech, they shut clown Alcatraz, and someone shot the President.
1963 was an important year in my young life, too. The family moved away from London and into our council house in what was then the New Town of Crawley. You wouldn’t think it now, perhaps, but Crawley was a pretty cool place back then. lt was well planned and it had trees and lakes and green fields. Our house was on the edge of a forest. I remember that everything seemed new, fresh, and exciting.
The only music I’ d heard around the house until then had been toe-tapping tunes by Slim Whitman and Karl Denver, my dad’s favourite artists. I still think Karl Denver was great, actually. You should do yourself a favour and hear sorne of his best work. Slim, on the other hand, I’m not so sure about. There was a fair amount of jazz to be heard, too, great trad jazz by Eddie Calvert, Pee Wee Hunt, and others I can’t remember. E ven now if I’m in the mood, a little jazz – not the modero or the mellow stuff – is just the ticket forme.
So I’ d come across nothing then to prepare me for che joyous experience of hearing Please Please Me, From Me to You, She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand come crackling over the wireless. They sounded great then and they still do – the best radio songs ever. I fell in love with the Beatles’ music during 1963 and the love has never died.
For younger readers accustomed to the more leisurely output of popular bands today, I haven’t made a mistake there: that is four – count ’em – four singles in a year, ali with original B-sides. For fellow anoraks, those were Ask Me Why, Thank You Girl, J’ ll Get You, and This Boy, in that order. Look again, it’s an astonishing list, proof that quantity and quality can sometimes mix. I remember that the :first record I ever owned was an EP called The Beatles Hits, which was released late in 1963 and gathered together Please Please Me, From Me to You, Thank You Girl, and their :first record, Love Me Do. It had sorne great sleeve notes by Tony Barrow, and I played that thing to death. I still have it, although it looks like someone has tap-danced on it. Oh, the joy of playing tennis racket guitar to those tunes.