A summer Beatles-fest…Looking back but enjoying today

Of course I loved the Beatles from the time they hit the American shore. I sing with gusto to the music that marks my life from about 12 years old until they broke up my senior year in high school. As they moved into solo careers and formed new band configurations I wasn’t always as interested as I had been when the Fab Four performed, but they were never completely off my playlist.

Through the years I’ve met a few people who were fortunate to have seen the Beatles in concert when they first came to Los Angeles 50 years ago and it’s always struck me that it would be a real treat to have that remarkable memory.  I can’t make that claim, but I am still smiling after seeing Paul McCartney return to play at Dodger Stadium, the first time since the Beatles braved screaming and hysterical fans 48 years ago.

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McCartney returned to Dodger Stadium Los Angeles as part of his Out There Tour, an ambitious performing schedule including 41 concerts in North America, 8 in South America, 6 in Asia, 3 in Europe and 1 in Central America. Starting in May 2013 and ending in October 2014 the total  59 concerts is impressive for anyone, and especially for 72-year old McCartney who puts on a fantastic and energetic show.

For more than 3 hours, no intermission, McCartney never left the stage, performing 40 songs, if I counted correctly, spanning his entire career from Beatles to songs new and recently recorded.  It was a beautiful summer evening with the Supermoon as the perfect backdrop for Paul’s verbal and musical salute to John Lennon and George Harrison.

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I could go on and on about all the ways this concert filled my nostalgia cup!  I have many little clips of the concert saved on my computer and at one point I thought about sharing them, but if you’re really interested you can always take a little trip over to YouTube and get your fill.

See this guy?

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Double-fisted video recording. Was he even enjoying the concert? Maybe he’s responsible for this nearly 90 minutes of boot-legged concert. You can get a little of the flavor HERE.

And that could have been quite enough, but this past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance at the Hollywood Bowl, August 23, 1964.

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I wanted to help celebrate, and I’m  never disappointed at the Bowl. My friend Linda and I  had a wonderful evening and spent a few hours together reminiscing about our teen years and the music we loved.

Was it just the music that kept me glued to my little turquoise transistor radio?

I was so happy to see Bob Eubanks and Dave Hull (The Hullabalooer) introduce the show.  I was a fairly average teenager with a love for the music of the day, and I feel really fortunate that in my youth the disc jockeys were such vibrant and energetic personalities, delivering background on the artists and mixing in humor and entertainment that was compelling enough to make the deejays local stars.

One long summer in the middle of my high school years we briefly entertained the idea of moving to Northern California. I was at my aunt’s house 550 miles away from Los Angeles, missing my friends and feeling very homesick, and somehow my little radio, the same little turquoise transistor, picked up Pasadena-based KRLA and I was thrilled. The radio was my friend, and so were those on-air personalities.

Bob Eubanks was responsible for the Los Angeles promotion of the Beatles coming to the Hollywood Bowl and Dodger Stadium and in the early 1960’s Bob was a fixture in Los Angeles teen radio, KRLA. It was only right he should introduce the evening’s commemorative performance. And he also introduced Dave Hull–sometimes referred to as “The Fifth Beatle” because of all he did to have the inside story on the band.

In the 1960’s every teenager knew Dave Hull. Oh my goodness! He had a massive fan club and was always up to mischief somewhere. For instance, there was the time he gave out the Beatles phone numbers on-air or the time he stowed away on their plane. He appeared at events all over the Pasadena area, knew all the big names of the day and no one was off-limits or immune to his wickedly playful sense of humor.

Sunday I walked up to shake his hand at a book signing at the Bowl and had a wonderful walk down memory lane with this charming 80-year old Los Angeles legend.

He inscribed the book, “To Debra. You and I go way back! Don’t tell anybody! We hope you enjoy our story!! Dave Hull (the Hullabalooer) 2014

I can’t wait to read the book and continue with fond reminiscence. Do you have a favorite radio personality? I wonder if young people today can even imagine how much fun it was to listen to music on a scratchy, raspy sounding little turquoise transistor–what IS a transistor? Those were the days! *sigh*

76 thoughts on “A summer Beatles-fest…Looking back but enjoying today

  1. My brother lived and breathed the Beatles. Our house was full of their music. I can’t think of the Beatles without thinking of HIM. :) Our house was full of music of all kinds. Before the oldest left for college and all 10 of us were home it was a very eclectic musical house. What a wonderful journey you had last night!

    • What a fun memory, Colleen. I forgot what a large family you have. I love the idea and the imagined sounds coming from your eclectic musical household. My husband is just seven years older than I and we have completely different musical “backgrounds” and our high school musical memories are very different, enough so, that he gladly gave up his McCartney ticket to our daughter. He just didn’t care all that much. I’m very happy that he has no problem with me indulging in feeding my musical nostalgia. :-)

      • What a great father/husband thing to do! Even if he doesn’t care all that much there are millions who would have! :) And what a great mom/daughter event too. You saw Paul McCartney together…..amazing.

  2. Living the era that truly transformed the music industry was quite the thrill …. and no doubt … the Fab Four were the lead transformers. Given the 50th anniversary, I imagine stories (like in Cincinnati) are in papers about the day The Beatles visited. Hope to see you Thursday.

    • You’re right, Frank. The Beatles 50th anniversary is being fêted in many ways here in Los Angeles. I have been spending more time at the Grammy Museum lately and it is fun to find out little bits of information from that era of music that I have either forgotten or never knew, and often I all read something about their influence on young artists even today. I hope I do see you on Thursday, Frank. You’ve been missed…but I’ve also been glad you took a break for your own creative renewal. :-)

  3. “Oh, I believe in yesterday…”

    LA does nostalgia better than any other place I know. And the decade of the Beatles is the time I’d most like to travel back to. Seems that wish was granted to you this summer! Great fun and a great post.

    • You are so right! I really did travel back too my youth. There was so much upheaval and turmoil in the world during the 60’s, much of which, like Vietnam, we don’t want to revisit, but I have always felt that “coming of age” in the era of the Beatles, Stones, Doors and so many wonderful artists and bands that made their appearance during that decade was something very special. We Baby Boomers were always told in one way or another that we were a special cohort (based on size alone, I think) so it’s no wonder that the music of the era was special, too. Now in reality, perhaps every generation feels that way about their music, but I was self-centered as a teen, and maybe I still am when it comes to thinking that MY music was particularly interesting. LOL!

  4. I would have loved to have been at that concert. How amazing that as his age he’s able to perform night after night after night for three hours without an intermission! There are many young kids today who couldn’t do that xx

    • I couldn’t believe how energetic McCartney was, Charlie. And he started this tour more than a year ago. It was so much fun. My cousins, daughter, brother and sister-in-law were all there with me. It was fun sharing the experience as a family.:-) ox

    • It always pleases me when young people continue to enjoy the Beatles, Uru. There were some very young people at the McCartney concert and I was delighted. I wondered how many of the teens at the concert were “fans” because their parents introduced them to the music. It was great to see whole families enjoying the music and the artist! I hope someday you might see McCartney perform. If you have the chance, do grab it. He doesn’t seem to be slowing down, but age gets to all of us at some point. I don’t now how he can keep up the performing schedule that he does. Thank you for stopping by, my friend. :-)

    • I always enjoy hearing recordings of the Beatles, and I also enjoy their music performed by other artists. Each person adds to the interpretation and makes an old favorite new and exciting. I’m glad you were a Beatles fan, too, Deb. :-)

  5. Like those records of 50 years ago, you have just taken me ’round the musical track of our lives, Debra. How divine it must have been to be at the concert AND to get Dave Hull’s inscription. Music in general, and the Beatles in particular, certainly shaped much of our youth, as did those who played music on the radio. We have the likes of Dick Biondi and John Records Landecker still on air here and they still have a following, though not quite the way they were “back in the day”. Ah, dear friend, those were the days – and you are still living them. :)

    • You know, Penny, somehow Dick Biondi’s name is familiar to me, but I’m not sure how! I may have to think about that a little bit. I do think the DJ’s really made the musicians accessible to us. They told stories and relayed information and stories about the artists, sometimes with contests and local appearances that my friends and I enjoyed. It was so long ago, but after this weekend and thinking about it as much as I have I can access the feelings I had as a young girl. I enjoy that from time to time. Hahaha! The Beatles are just a part of our lives and I was definitely reminded by these two concerts what a HUGE catalogue of music they have contributed. I’ve had some fun with YouTube looking at some videos of the Beatles at Dodger Stadium and the Hollywood Bowl in the mid-60s. Part of what’s fun is you can hardly hear them because of all the screaming. LOL! Thanks for your wonderful comment, my friend. ox

  6. What a terrific experience, Debra! Thank you for sharing!
    I was born in the mid 60’s, but still had a childhood filled with Beatles music. This post brought back memories of the Fab Four AND transistor radios. :-)

    • My sister-in-law is younger than I am, Nancy, and there couldn’t possibly be anyone who is a bigger fan. I originally bought the tickets so that I could be sure she could go to the concert for her birthday. There were some very young people at both concerts and it reinforces my idea that the Beatles are timeless…and the more I reminisce and happily look back the more I feel young. That’s always good for me, don’t you think? LOL!

  7. What a wonderful experience Debra – and some great photos to boot! :-) I never got into the Beatles although they were all the rage when I was a child – probably because my pocket money didn’t stretch to the cost of records! By the time I could afford those shiny black plastic disks my tastes had been influenced by the members of the Venture Scouts who looked after us Scouts at the time… so my tastes had moved from pop to heavy and progressive rock. My first two albums bought on the same day illustrate the point – Altogether Now by Argent and Split by The Groundhogs. A week later I was buying my first Budgie album. The Beatles only got an ‘in retrospect’ look-in. As for DJ’s… My favorite was John Peel – now sadly explaining the merits of Hatfield and The North or Pendragon to the angels. But currently it’s good fun to listen to Alice Cooper DJ’ing on Planet Rock in the UK..

    ps – great to hear from you after the weekend’s quake. I always worry a bit when we hear about quakes down your way so it’s good to know you’re ok :-)

    • Thank you for referencing the quake, Martin. We aren’t near the epicenter at all, but every time there is a quake I am jumpy for days! I find myself noticing exits, not wanting to be in underground parking areas and just thinking about the “what ifs,” none of which is particularly good for my nerves! :-) I do have family in Northern California and was glad to hear that no one was too badly rattled. It is unnerving, nonetheless.

      I enjoyed hearing how you enjoyed music and the different groups as a younger man. I think my musical tastes have always been really eclectic and if someone took the time to go through my old LPs and my CDs it would be a little hard to determine exactly where I land. But I can’t hear Beatles music without feeling young at heart, and that’s a strong positive. :-) I wold love to hear Alice Cooper DJ’ing. I wonder if I can find him on Internet radio…I’m going to give it a try. Thank you!

  8. Hi Debra. We enjoyed the concert so much also! It was great knowing the 4 of you were there listening and singing along. What a fabulous night. Thank you for verbalizing about the evening so well. You have such a gift. Say “hello” to the family.
    Love, Kathy

    • It was so much fun to share the concert with you guys, too, Kathy. I still think that was remarkable that we all got tickets! I will definitely say hello. I’ll be sending the link to some more photos soon…we’ve had a couple of family events you might like to “share” with us. oxo

  9. We loved them . . . ya, ya, ya!
    We loved them . . . ya, ya, ya!
    With a love like that . . . you know you can’t go wrong!

    Glad you had a lovely time under the night sky as you wandered back in time. I loved listening to the top 100 countdown every week.

      • Summer is a great time for nostalgia. And I agree with your comment above: “[McCartney’s] a great representative of the potential value of vegetarianism!”

        After 17 years of meatless meals, I’m convinced that being a vegetarian is good for us!

  10. Hi Debra, I was also at the Bowl on Sunday night. As I didn’t grow up here I didn’t know any of the people introducing the show but gathered their importantance by the standing ovation they got at the beginning.

    It was a wonderful evening. The weather was perfect and it was great to hear the music again. (though they definitely weren’t the Fab 4 and they had to have TWO drummers to replace Ringo!)
    I was disappointed that Paul and/or Ringo didn’t show up. I had secretly hoped…

    • Oh my goodness! I wish I’d seen you at the Bowl, Rosie. It was a fun evening, wasn’t it? You now, many of the people sitting in my section had no idea who Eubanks and Hull were. Eubanks went on to be a big name in television game shows, but again, unless you’re native to California I’m not sure how that works for recognition! But it was great fun for me. I enjoyed the Beatles music with all the brass–that was a nice sound. What about Dave Stewart’s 14 year old daughter? Good grief! Do you think she has a musical future? Hahaha! I’m glad we shared the Bowl together, Rosie, even if we didn’t know it. :-)

  11. Ah… I love the Beatles. Interestingly, just the other night I watched a couple of their first performances on a PBS Ed Sullivan Rock n’ Roll Classics special. They really were something amazing. It would have been fabulous to be at this concert. Great post, Debra!

    • I would have enjoyed that the PBS special you mentioned! I’ll have to check the schedule and see if I can find it. :-) I particularly enjoy watching those early archival videos. They were so young…of course, so was I! LOL! The “good old” days.

  12. I saw Sir Paul in Seattle last July (2013) near the beginning of this SAME tour. It was an absolutely amazing show — and it’s incredible to contemplate that he’s still at it, pumping out all that energy night after night.

    • How great, Lori! I’m glad you know precisely how wonderful this concert was, and how much energy went into his performance. I have been to quite a few concerts through the years but this was one of my all-time favorites. :-)

    • It was so much fun to watch people of all ages enjoying the music, Cathy. There was a young man of no more than 15 sitting in front of us at the McCartney concert and he was just enthralled. It was obvious to me that his parents had brought him as a special treat and I enjoyed watching him sing along to every song. My daughter, brother and sister-in-law accompanied me so we made some wonderful new memories. :-)

    • I wish I still had the little transistor, Kate. I went to bed with it under my pillow and when I was “in trouble” my parents took it away for awhile. I was miserable! All that really came back to me this weekend and I enjoyed the memories. I can’t imagine anyone our age who wash’t in some way influenced by the Beatles, can you?

  13. I was actually never a Beatles fan (I’m a Stones gal) – don’t throw rotten tomatoes at me! – but they did have a few songs over the years that I liked. It’s fun to reminisce, and music is a great jogger of memories. :)

    • I had room in my music repertoire for them all, so no worries. I think some of the Beatles nostalgia came along because of my age when they first arrived. In my teens, my allegiance was primarily attached to the Doors. They played Los Angeles all the time. I wish I had seen them! No rotten tomatoes, I promise. :-)

  14. Hi Debbie,

    Great blog! Loved it!! :) can’t wait to hear what you and Dave Hull had to say to each other. So nice what he signed in your book.

    Heather xo Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Didn’t we have fun with Paul? I am so glad we shared that evening together. The Bowl was all that more enjoyable to me because of Dave Hull. What a sweetie! I got a little flustered so didn’t end up taking a picture with him. What was I thinking? I always take pictures. Shows you what it meant to me to meet him. What a character. ox

  15. Debra, I often think musical performers have the hardest jobs. They can never be ‘off.’ Their energy has to show up, along with the voice. I think about the few concerts I’ve seen and always come away marveling at the stamina musicians have.

    I have to say my favorite radio personality is Kellie Rasberry of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning. I grew up with her, and if I don’t answer that question with her name, she’ll kill me. But she’s great, and she deserves every bit of her success.

    • I think you would agree with me, Andra, that at 72, McCartney really is an inspiration. He didn’t in any way talk about his vegetarianism, but there were some members of PETA passing out their literature. I think his stamina would be a strong living advertisement for being an herbivore. LOL! He really was something, and it had to be incredibly hard work. Is Kellie Rasberry currently an on-air radio personality? Sometimes just for fun I listen to AM stations all over the country (occasionally GB) and I encounter such interesting radio personalities. Nothing will ever compare for me, however, to the memories that come with my youth. I think I recently mentioned I’d been back to the Grammy Museum, so I have some other “musical memories” I’ll be sharing soon. Thank you for sharing about Kellie Rasberr and Kidd Kraddick. I love those names :-)

  16. Lovely post, Debra! Tell me, has Sir Paul updated his lyrics? I can’t believe it was “FIFTY years ago today”!

    I clearly preferred CFTR over CHUM. Since both Toronto AM stations played essentially the same songs, it must have been the difference in deejays that made me prefer one over the other. I agree, they were treasured friends during the Trouble Teen Years. The “desk” in my room in the 1970s was an old floor-model radio/turntable in a wooden cabinet. Heaven knows how I ever concentrated enough to get any homework done! Those were the days! Although I would never want to return to adolescence, the music of that ludicrous time of life will shine inside forever. Long live Silly Love Songs!

    • When someone else commented on McCartney’s/Beatles “half a century” I almost shuddered! Fifty years is a long, long time, but when we say half a century I feel ancient. LOL! I was definitely an overly dramatic, angst-ridden teen and I think music was a bit of an anchor. I think that is somehow true for most teens, when we’re stuck somewhere between childhood and full adult responsibilities. Your desk sounds incredibly unique. You don’t happen to still have it somewhere do you? It would be quite the conversation piece. thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such an interesting comment, my friend.

    • Thank you, Fiona. I did have such a good time. George was actually my “favorite” Beatle and I’ve always felt a little let down I never made the effort to see him in concert. So I was just not going to lose this opportunity. :-) I’m so glad to hear that you, too, are a big Beatle fan. You know, even my parents are fans of the music, so when you add up all the generations that consider their music (and them) quite special, it’s really impressive. And I do know how much you love music, so I’m presuming you have had some favorite dj’s in your life, too. :-)

  17. I didn’t live in Beatles era but I love them, and all the beatle-esque musicians of our generation that they influenced. I had 7 of Beatles albums which include 2 Greatest Hits. And yes, I was such a fan of radio personalities during my teen when I was in the Philippines.

    • It’s just great that the Beatles influenced young people (and older) across all generations. You didn’t have to be a teen during the 60’s to know their music well and to fully appreciate the talent. At both concerts I was so thrilled to see so many young people–some currently in their young teens, and they were fully enjoying themselves. I have this feeling that many years from now the songs will still be sing-able, and people will know the tunes without having much knowledge of the Beatles themselves. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rommel, and especially for mentioning that you, too, had your radio personalities that made an impression on you while growing up.:-)

  18. A lovely and nostalgic remembering Debra. The Beatles have been a soundtrack to our lives. They changed my perception of music from ‘Revolver’ on and every major moment in my life is connected with a Beatles’ song.

    • What a lovely response, John. I hadn’t put my thoughts directly to how much the Beatles’ songs were connected to specific and major moments in my own life, but I think in some ways that is what I was experiencing at the McCartney concert and later at the Bowl. And to hear a huge crowd of voices singing along also emphasized how much the music has meant to everyone. Even those who don’t profess to be “fans” still know the music! :-) Thanks for commenting. I’m glad to learn you, too, really appreciate the music and “the boys.” :-)

    • How fantastic that your mum has that memory of the Beatles at the Cavern! I love that! If only she could have known the future and had them write their names on a napkin. :-) I didn’t know you were originally from Liverpool. The “boys” brought Liverpool to the world, didn’t they! For those of us old enough to remember those early years the music brings back happy times. At least it does for me. ox

  19. Paul: a consummate performer. I wasn’t around when the Beatles were big but here their music marbles our lives. So glad the concert lived up to all the expectation. He is a wonderful songwriter. And that autographed book inscription! I loved it!

    • I love the way you say it, Kate. Paul “marbles our lives.” He has a home somewhere here in the Pasadena area…or has at some point, I guess. There are reports of “Paul” sightings at the gym, coffee shops and a little Mexican restaurant in the area. When people speak of their personal encounter, they lower their voices and take on reverent tones. I suppose I’d do the same thing. Although I have celebrity run-ins all the time and I never seem to notice. I’m not very observant in crowds! :-) Have a great day (or evening now) Kate. ox

  20. Dear Debra, what a treat to go back to the beginning of the arc of your life of listening to music and having it speak to your way of being and living. And then to meet someone whom you’ve admired and to have him right that inscription. I’m so happy for you. What I remember about listening to radio in the ’40s and early ’50s are the afternoon soap operas: Just Plain Bill among them. And also the Saturday morning children’s show “Let’s Pretend.” As well as the evening mysteries like “The Shadow” and “Green Hornet” and the comedies–“Fibber McGee and Molly” for example. The radio was a true conduit to adventure and laughter and entertainment. Peace.

    • So nice to hear from you, Dee. I was born just as television came to life, and radio began to fade from some prominence, but I do recall being in the car as a child and listening to some of the shows that were indeed so entertaining. I can’t recall if I ever actually heard “The Shadow” or just know it so well because of its popularity and the way it is still today referenced as a cultural touchstone! I could easily return to the days of radio. I can get completely caught up in stories shared on NPR and I don’t lose interest nearly as quickly as I can with television. And yes, meeting Dave Hull and seeing his face light up as I told him how much he meant to me 45-50 years ago–what a delight! Some of the simplest little connections can be so delightful. I hope you’re doing well and have a great day today, Dee. I look forward to visiting with you more often now that things have settled down a bit–fingers crossed! LOL!

  21. What a wonderful feast of nostalgia you’ve had, Debra. :) Paul McCartney’s stamina is enviable and it must have been a fantastic evening. And what fun to get such a great inscription from Dave Hull. Radio was very different in the UK back in the early 60s, with very few channels and virtually no pop music on the BBC. We had to listen to Radio Luxembourg or the pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline. It was only in 1967 that the pop music channel Radio 1 was set up by the BBC. Tjose were the days… )

    • I didn’t fully reply to your comment, Perpetua. I wanted to mention that I really didn’t know anything about the more limited radio in the UK during the 60s. I have heard about the pirate radio stations, and I think I’d enjoy learning a little more about this. So much music was coming out of the UK that it intrigues me to think that radio was limited. Your comment is sending me off on another one of those little mini-research sessions that I get into from time to time. Thank you. :-)

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  23. What’s the difference between a transistor and a Walkman? If there’s no difference, I still have one and it works great! Every time there is a tornado warning, it’s my go to. I grab it and head for the bathroom which is the inner most room in the house. My favorite radio host was Murray the K. I still have an album of what he called “Submarine race watching something” which meant necking in the car. He is on the cover (it’s a closeup) on a submarine with half his body out of a hole (or whatever you call it) of the sub. Now I’ll have to dig it out to see what songs are on it. Anyway, I love your post. These music memories never seem to fade. I have some of Peter, Paul, and Mary that are wonderful. I also have some of Johnny Mathis that are not so wonderful which is strange considering his song, “Wonderful, Wonderful!” He couldn’t hit the notes, he was off key and just terrible!. It was shocking! Then, an almost unknown, Steve Alaimo came out and wowed everybody! Whatever happened to him? As for Eubanks, he was the original Host of the Newlywed game which has been resurrected and taken over by Sherri Shepard. Sounds like you had a “Fab” time. I’m glad you and your daughter enjoyed it!

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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