My first introduction to the Beatles was when my brother brought home their first album, “Meet the Beatles,” and we all piled in front of our “hi-fi” stereo to listen. I remember to this day the feeling of excitement that welled up in my heart when I first heard “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “All My Loving.” I was only 7 at the time, but immediately became a lifelong fan!
When the Beatles toured the U.S. in 1965, I was fortunate to see them at the Atlanta Stadium — my very first concert at age 8! Having seen countless musical groups play in concert through all the years since that time, there’s not a one that could top the night I got to see the Beatles, live in concert!
— Tricia Osbon, Macon
I remember at 12 years of age, sitting in front of our black and white console TV, waiting on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” I was totally infatuated with Paul and Ringo! When they appeared, I moved very close to the television because I did not want my family to see me literally crying with excitement. Even though they wanted to see their debut (too), I felt they would say I was being “so silly.”
— Linda S. Bentley, Macon
I remember as a little girl sitting on the floor in front of the black and white TV watching The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” I was mesmerized, and have never gotten over it. I went to see “A Hard Day’s Night” and didn’t even notice it was black and white! I remember all the girls in the theater started screaming when the movie came on! I have followed them all through their career as The Beatles and then their separate careers. I have been fortunate enough to have seen Paul McCartney in person multiple times and Ringo three times. … My husband, Mike, gave me the RINGO autographed collection for Christmas and gave me an autographed guitar by Paul.
— Bobbie Burns, Macon
The first time that I had ever heard of The Beatles was the Sunday night before their actual American debut. I would always watch “The Ed Sullivan Show” at my friend’s house who lived across the street from me. My family had an old little tiny television, and my friend’s family had a new larger television. At the end of the show, Ed Sullivan announced the next week’s guest; when he announced The Beatles, the audience went wild. My friend yelled out “ALLLRIGHT!” Well, I was only 6 years old, I had never heard of The Beatles. So, needless to say out of curiosity, I was back at my friend’s house the following Sunday to see what the excitement was all about. When Ed announced in an explosive voice, “THE BEATLES,” girls started screaming and when The Beatles hit that first chord my ears and my eyes were fixated to that television. From that moment on I was one of their biggest fans. I wanted the Beatle haircut, Beatles boots and to play Beatles music. It was watching those four guys from Liverpool that set me on the road to become a musician.
— Bobby Anderson, Warner Robins
The first time I heard of the Beatles was from my pen pal in England. It was the early ‘60s and I wasn’t really familiar with them. But by 1964 I was a Beatlemaniac, collecting magazines, trading cards, posters for my bedroom wall and making sure I stayed home from church to watch them on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” (I had to get special parental permission for this privilege.) On Aug. 18, 1965, my grandparents took me to Atlanta Stadium to see them. I remember a limo riding the bases, girls screaming (you could not hear the music), and then they appeared from the dugout beneath us. Oh the tears and screams that surrounded me.
— Cheryl Fincher, Putnam County
As I sat there in front of the TV, as close as I could get, my 9-year-old mind was “blown away.” Suddenly, I was exposed to a completely different world than I could ever imagine existed. Instantly, I knew this was gonna be my world! Impressionable as I was at such an early age, I still knew this rock and roll music was a good thing. The happy, joyful, powerful interaction between the boys making the “joyful noise” and the kids in the audience — WOW!
When the camera showed a brief close-up of John, I wanted to be him. Then Paul. Oh, I might want to be him. Then George, another guitar player! Yeah, I want to be him! Then finally, Ringo. He’s way in the back but MAN look at those beautiful drums! I could feel the power and the glory, the lightning and the thunder — even through that tiny TV speaker. And then it happened. Ringo, grinning from ear to ear, all of a sudden, shook his “long” hair, and the girls screamed. Loudly. That’s when I made my life-altering decision. I’m going to play drums. I’m gonna be Ringo! The next day, I called my buddy David and put together my first rock and roll band. I’ve been at it nonstop ever since. And you know what? Fifty years later, I still wanna be Ringo.
— John Stanley Killingsworth, Macon
I was 12 years old that Sunday night nearly 50 years ago. I remember getting so angry at the cameraman who kept showing the screaming girls in the audience. I didn’t care anything about them. I wanted to see the Beatles! The first time Paul McCartney shook his head I was a goner. I fell in love with him that night and nearly 50 years later, nothing has changed.
— Carolyn Tanner
My Dad took my sister and me to the concert Aug. 18, 1965. The tickets were $4 each. When we entered the Atlanta Stadium parking lot, I remember being shocked by the ambulance brigade lined end to end in preparation for all the fainting fans. This was the Beatles’ second visit to the U.S., and the venues were prepared. I was only 7 and didn’t understand all the screaming and hair pulling, but I did understand the excitement! … Even at that early age, The Beatles changed my life. I remember working out the details for my father to quit his job here in Georgia, so we could move to Liverpool and I could be closer to Paul!
–Ravonda Bargeron, Macon
— Compiled by staff writer Phillip Ramati