Friday, February 07, 2014

Caren Explains 50 Years of Beatles in America [reblog]

ICYMI, some thoughts on why The Beatles' moment on Ed Sullivan can't be replicated again, due to the ways we consume media, develop artists and write songs....

I didn’t see The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan ShowBy the time I was born, John was dead and Ringo was on a children’s show. In fact, my introduction to The Beatles music came from watching a rerun of The Muppet Show, when Kermit performed a cover of “Octopus’ Garden.”
Yet as a certified Beatlemaniac (albeit a few decades delayed), I’ve regarded the question “Where were you when The Beatles played Ed Sullivan?” to be in the same category of curiosities as “Where were you when JKF was shot?” or “… when we landed on the moon?”
The Beatles arrival in America may not have had the same moral implications as those other historical events, but it certainly had cultural ones. 73 million people tuned in to The Ed Sullivan Show on that February night in 1964. It was the first big moment for television, with an estimated 34% of America watching the performance. While young music fans (and their unimpressed parents) had previously met acts like Elvis Presley through the medium, never before had so many people tuned in to share one moment.
Following the Fab Four’s performance, critics denounced the band as “catastrophic” and just a “fad” (“guitars are on the way out!” proclaimed one reviewer) but sales were off the charts. Even if buyers were initially interested in the band’s haircuts, they ultimately bought records.
From where I sit today, on the business side of the music industry, I recognize that what happened that night on Ed Sullivan can’t happen again, but not just because record sales are down…. READ MORE
PS - I've started moving most of my writing over to Medium (which, interestingly enough, was founded by the guy who built Blogger... imagine if he'd stayed at Blogger / Google... maybe this would be Medium instead... alas, I digress...).