The screaming was deafening. The crowd turned into a single being, didn’t seem to believe what I was seeing. The feeling of expectation was enormous, and, when it came out, tears seized almost everyone in attendance. It was a moment that would change the lives of all who were there.
This is what I described on April 19, 2012, when Paul McCartney appeared in Bogotá. It was a concert that, months later, was still ringing in the heads of the audience, still appearing in the conversations, still causing, secretly, that itching in the back of the throat of those who feel overwhelmed by the emotion of seeing A living legend.
The crowd that went crazy singing All my Loving and The Long and Winding Road, who cried the death of John Lennon with his best friend with Here Today and who felt the loss of Linda McCartney when, beginning Maybe I’m Amazed, announced “ I wrote this for you, Linda. ”
Paul McCartney himself – the same dance, the same idioms and the same gestures – was the one who, along with his friends John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, produced the same emotion in the face of the 728 troubled teenagers (of 55,000 who requested entry ) who were, in February 1964, in studio 50 of the CBS network in New York, when the Beatles first performed in the United States, in the popular Ed Sullivan show . At that moment, the world of popular music would never be the same.
The crowd of agglomerated girls reminded him of the Elvis phenomenon years ago and immediately contacted Brian Epstein (called the fifth Beatle) to invite them to his program in the United States, a daring that no one had done until then. Epstein, perhaps the best manager in history, negotiated a three-presentation contract for three consecutive weekends. Although he charged a laughable fee, Epstein could guess what it would mean to be shown on television for the career of his pupils.
By February 1964, I want to hold your hand was top of the charts and the phenomenon was underway. The first presentation, on February 9, was until then the most-watched program in history: 73 million people tuned in to the moment.
Sullivan greeted the audience with his arms crossed, said that during the last two days the sidewalk in front of the studio had been packed with fans, and welcomed the Liverpool quartet. The Beatles opened the program with two songs, All My Loving and Till there was you, and gave way to the other guests. That’s right, in that first program there were other guests, although nobody remembers them today.
The Beatles appeared in their classical formation
Paul and John each in a microphone with George in the middle alternating between one and the other, and Ringo back on the drums. Historic, for example, in the foreground of John Lennon in which the producer wrote: “Sorry, girls, you are married.” Thousands of hearts must have broken at that time. And thousands more who broke when, six years later, after thirteen studio albums, five films and a royal award, the Beatles parted forever.
The following week, the Beatles reappeared on the show, this time from Miami Beach where Cassius Clay (who soon changed his name to Mohammed Ali) was preparing a fight. Much more relaxed before the cameras, the Beatles let us see their famous sense of humor today. And they kept sweeping in the audience.
Fifty years later, the Beatles continue to awaken the same devotion. This is demonstrated by the many covers that magazines continue to give them, the constant tributes, large and small, that their fans do not stop doing.
Just go through Strawberry Fields Park, in Central Park in New York, in front of the place where John Lennon died, who lives full of flowers left there by passers-by and tourists. Or the thousands of photos that every day take groups of beatlómanos crossing the street in front of the study of Abbey Road, in London, imitating the famous cover of the homonymous disc. Or the same McCartney concerts, perhaps the one that had the most successful post-Beatles race, where whole families (boys, dads and grandparents) around the world become, for a couple of hours, those crazy girls who watched the first show from Ed Sullivan.
The success of the Beatles was not sudden. When they conquered America, and the oldest of them (John) was only 25 years old, and Paul, George, and John had been playing together for almost ten years. The tour is well known: Paul and John met at a church festival in Liverpool and immediately started playing. They became friends. Then came George, 14, the youngest of the group, whom McCartney always referred to as “his little brother.” Stu Sutcliffe, a friend from Lennon University, and Pete Best joined the group on bass and drums respectively.
They began playing in bars in Hamburg, where Sutcliffe fell in love with photographer Astrid Kirchherr and left the group to devote himself to art; He had a tragic end when he died of a brain hemorrhage in 1962, at age 22. Best, who never managed to fit in the group, was fired and Ringo Starr took his place. Thus, the amalgam was complete: the Liverpool quartet had arrived.
However, it was that moment in 1964, with the conquest of America, when the world took a turn and everything changed: not only the Beatles took the radio waves; fashion, the way of making and living music would also change forever. And, being four “hairy”, with haircuts that inaugurated the “mop-top” style, the Beatles became “revolutionaries of sound, style, and attitude of popular music and opened the doors of rock and roll to the wave of British rock groups. ”
And it is that the Beatles were the first group that appeared in a sports stadium, for example. His concert at the Shea Stadium in New York was the first of this category, and it is evident, in the documentary The Beatles at Shea Stadium, that there was no logistics or sound equipment that required a show of that magnitude. The screaming of the crowd was such that the group could not hear their own songs and the concert had to start several minutes later because of the noise.
They also experimented tirelessly with the forms of recording, which gave rise to electronic music. In fact, the Chemical Brothers, one of the greatest exponents of the genre, have called the song Tomorrow Never Knows , from the album Revolver (1966), their “musical manifesto”; His entire musical career exists thanks to this song of the famous quartet.
And of course, there are the videos. The Beatles were the first to make music clips of their songs, present in all their films. For example, the clip of Can’t buy me love (1964), where musicians appear playing and teasing in a sports field, or that of Paperback writer (1966), filmed in color, where they are playing in a surrounded garden of ornamental statues. This video was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who also made the documentary Let it be , the film that recorded the end of the group.