The Beatles defined my generation

by Ruth Griffiths

April 10 is the anniversary of the breakup of the rock group that defined my generation — The Beatles. Although the Fab Four were together for only a decade, their influence remains strong.

On April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney announced the end of the band known as the Beatles. The band officially split on Dec. 31, 1970.
Musicians John Lennon and Paul McCartney played together in the late 1950s as The Quarrymen. With George Harrison they formed The Silver Beatles in 1959. In 1962, Ringo Starr became their drummer and they dropped the Silver to be known as the Beatles.

The Beatles were unique in many ways. They were the first British band to write their own songs and music. They are the only group in recording history to have 20 songs reach No. 1.

The Beatles recorded 214 songs from 1962 to 1970. Their first UK single was Love Me Do. Their 1964 song, I Want to Hold Your Hand, sparked Beatlemania in the North America and the band became an international success.

The first vinyl records in my youth were children’s 45s, followed by Elvis Presley, if your parents would allow them in the house. Some people went so far as to burn Elvis records because his swivel hips were too suggestive. (What would they think of Lady Gaga?) The Beatles music was more popular in LPs. The group’s albums include A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Revolver (1966) and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). The Beatles’ last album recorded was Abbey Road in 1969. It was the end of an era.
Of the four famous Liverpool lads only two remain, McCartney, 78, and Starr, 80.

I never owned a Beatles album and I never went to a concert. My main connection was through television. I remember well their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show — in suits no less.

Several classmates did an air band version of the Beatles for the high school variety show. Their performance was almost cancelled, because even in 1966, the Beatles were still controversial. Imagine!