I want Beatlemania. Or something very similar to Beatlemania.
And I’m never going to get it.
With the 50th anniversary of The Fab Four’s introductory appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show right around the corner, everyone over the age of 54 has recalled his or her own personal memories of the event.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone that old who doesn’t remember watching that night, or at least someone who would admit to it. It’s like how every single person in my 4th-grade class said they had seen Titanic and I felt like a loser because my parents wouldn’t let me.
I still haven’t watched it, so don’t spoil the ending for me.
To this day, I believe that only half the class had actually seen it at the time — probably out of wishful thinking that I wasn’t really the lone 8-year-old who hadn’t seen Kate Winslet topless.
Then again, the movie did make $2 billion, so maybe they were telling the truth.
And 73 million people in almost half the country’s homes did tune into Ed Sullivan that night, so maybe all those people actually watched that too.
I missed out on all of it. I never experienced the anticipation of a new Beatles record, or heard the shrill screams of their hordes of adoring fans, or felt the agony from mourning their breakup or from listening to one of Ringo’s solo albums.
When George died in 2001, I was too young to care, and I’m less fascinated about any of Paul’s new music as I am about how much his hair color manages to change on a monthly basis.
I still have their music, and that’s not going away, especially with the re-mastered CDs where you can really hear the interlocking guitar lines snapping into place in "And Your Bird Can Sing," the throbbing bass line on "I Saw Her Standing There," the "tit-tit"s and marijuana smoking sounds of "Girl." I saw Paul perform at Fenway and he sounded just like I imagine he did in 1969. He’s the musician I’ll never get tired of watching at awards shows and special televised concerts, even though it’s almost always "Hey Jude" or the Abbey Road medley.
But with The Beatles, it wasn’t just the music. I mean, when they were still playing live, you weren’t going for the singing — you were going for the shrieking. It was the shared experience the whole country was taking part in at once.
Nowadays, our pop culture is so varied and our tastes so far-reaching. While the advent of the internet and the rise of endless content providers has given us the ability to experience more specific and less traditionally mass-distributed things than we ever could before, those options have diluted our desire to all be a part of one huge movement together. It felt like the whole country was watching the Breaking Bad finale, and that was 10 million people. Little less than 73 million newfound Beatle fans.
Looking back, the histrionics and insanity of Beatlemania seem kind of stupid.
But it’s not stupid if everyone’s doing it.
Follow Pete McQuaid on Twitter and Tout @sweetestpete.