A wise man once wrote "Everybody's got something to hide..." That includes me, and, if I had one, my monkey as well.
So here it is: 50 years ago this weekend I was trying my best to ignore Beatlemania. There, I said it.
In later years, as "fads" would come along, I realized it was my nature to rebel against the hype surrounding the next big thing. From the power of flowers to the fever one contracts on a given Saturday Night, I did my level best to not only buck the trends, but to completely disavow all knowledge of their existence. Unsuccessfully.
However, in 1964, this awareness had not yet manifested itself, and so, at the beginning of Beatlemania, I blamed my cousin, Christine.
Christine was a little older than me, and a girl. She was also a remarkably talented musician. For years, while visiting Uncle Mickey and Aunt Kay, I was treated to her virtuosity on what appeared to me to be a gigantic church organ. All kinds of foot pedals, knobs, sliders, at least two different levels of keys... the only thing missing was a collection of pipes leading up through the living room ceiling. And she was very, very, very good.
So I already hated her talent; strike one. And like I said, she was a girl (what with the cooties and all); strike two. And on top of everything else, she was a Beatle fanatic; swing and a miss, strike three.
For months prior to the weekend of February 7th, all I remember hearing from her was "Paul is dreamy," "George is mysterious," "John was dangerous" and Ringo... well, I don't remember anything about Ringo. That was followed by Christine's wailing and the gnashing of teeth.
Even my favorite radio station was calling itself Double-you Aye Beatle Cee.
Then it happened, on the blackest of Fridays; they invaded, landing on MY island, their forces marching straight for Times Square. I retreated to the safety and security of my studies, and how we could make Southeast Asia safe for democracy.
I didn't watch them on the Sullivan Show. I could have, but I was a conscientious objector. Besides, Topo Gigio was off that night. Give me my Beach Boys and Four Seasons and keep your foreigners off my radio.
Fortunately for me and millions of other momma's boys everywhere, they were not kept off the radio. It didn't take long for me to be seduced by "Do You Want To Know A Secret," then "I Feel Fine," "Eight Days A Week" and all that followed (except for that Bungalow Bill song). These guys are AMAZING!
*Speaking of monkeys, Davy Jones was also on that show as The Artful Dodger, with the cast of "Oliver!" Two years later, he evolved into the lead singer (and tambourine deity) of The Monkees, while simultaneously causing another David Jones to change his name to Bowie, to avoid confusion. As if.