Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sir Paul, Homage to the Beatles

This article was written by a Rocky Mountain News (Denver, Colorado) columnist, Gene Amole, as part of his weekly columns and included in a collection of columns, Morning by Gene Amole, Denver Publishing Company, 1983.  I edited the first part because of length.

Paul McCartney's 70th birthday was Monday, June 18th.
Red Rocks is a natural red sandstone outcropping, an outdoor amphitheater. 

"Phenomenon"  by Gene Amole

I love you George.
It was about 2 p.m. when Muffy called me at work.  She was very upset because she had lost her ride to Red Rocks to see the Beatles.  She wanted to know if there was any way I could take her.

Wednesday, Aug. 1964, was a warm day.  Muffy told me we had better leave right away. KIMN was saying Red Rocks was filling rapidly and there might not be room for everyone.

Muffy is my older daughter.  She was 12 at the time.  I knew she would rather have been there with her friends.  I had purchased tickets days earlier.  They were $6.60 each, expensive for the time, but Muffy said it was worth it.

We settled down for the long wait.  I had never seen so many policeman in one place.  The crowd was well behaved, if occasionally quite noisy.  Almost everyone was about Muffy's age.

I saw a cowboy hat sticking up above the other heads several rows away.  It was Pete Smythe, an old friend.  I remembered he had a daughter about the same age as Muffy.  And then I began to notice there was an adult male every 20 feet or so.  They were the daddies who had driven most of the little girls to Red Rocks.

As the sky darkened.  Tension began to build.  Any movement toward the stage was greeted with screams.  The most noise came when the instruments were set up.  A woman in her 40's somehow broke through the police lines, ran up on the stage and kissed the bass drum.

I steeled myself against the growing sound as the concert began.  The Bill Black Combo opened the show.  The came the Righteous Brothers, the Exciters and Jackie deShannon.

When they finished, promoter Vern Byers walked out on the stage and held up his hands.  It was suddenly very quiet.  He stood alone in front of the microphone and said, "And now, the Beatles."

There was an explosion of sound that lasted 33 minutes.  Everyone stood the entire time.  The Beatles started with "Twist and Shout," and closed with "Long Tall Sally."

It was almost impossible to hear the music.  Only Ringo Star's drums seemed to slam through.  It didn't matter.  Everyone could see those thin, black-clad stick figures.  It was everything those little girls had hoped for.

Even though the sound was overwhelming, I kept thinking I could hear a small voice saying over and over, "I love you George, I love you."  I looked around and then down.  It was little Muffy.  She was standing almost motionless.  There were tears in her eyes.  She was telling George from the safety of 30 rows up that she loved him.  Suddenly, I felt very old.

I have never pretended to understand what the Beatles meant to the children of the 60's.  A psychiatrist told me he believed all those protests during the troubled decade had somehow been triggered by their chemistry.  Maybe so.  My memory is more personal.  I can still hear Muffy's voice.  It was an innocent moment of poignancy, suspended in a time of chaos.

There is no questioning the importance of their music.  It ranged from the earthy to the mystical.  Younger generations carried it forward and gave it their own meaning.

But there will never be another time like the 16th of August, 1964."


  1. Aloha,

    I have to admit I was never a fan of the Beatles, but their fan base amazes me and it is *amazing* that Sir Paul is 70.... wow, where have the years gone...

    Thanks for sharing a great article :)

    1. And an example of a great dad, just like you! Think of the memories of that 12 year old girl whose dad took her to her first Beatles concert.

  2. What a cute story! And how important it is to take the time to make good memories for our children!

    1. So true, CQ. These are the things they remember, not how much money we spent on them :)

  3. loved this----i adored the beatles and was crazy for them--especially john!!

  4. I was lucky enough to see Sir Paul a year or so ago in TX. He looked great for "almost 70" and sounded wonderful. Absolutely timeless music. People of all ages sang along and it was just like Yesterday that he was a kid.

  5. Does it really seem that long ago? Thanks Joanne and Lynn.