Monday, April 19, 2010

burning the beatles

You probably think the Vatican's recent pardon of the Beatles seems rather quaint and out-of-touch.

But back in the 60's parents and authority figures everywhere were seriously panicked over The Beatles.

One day when I was about seven or eight I went down the street to visit my friend Lori. She was a year or two older than I and very much into everything that was hip and groovy and rock and roll. On this occasion I found her sitting on the floor of her room with all her records (a disc-shaped audio format that preceded the CD), very unhappy.

"The President has passed a law, and now it's against the law to listen to Beatles records and my dad says we have to burn them all tonight or we'll go to jail."

I had no idea they were that dangerous. I knew The Beatles had a cartoon on Saturday mornings but in our house we only had records of Handel's Messiah and folk singers like Burl Ives so I wasn't well-versed in them. I do recall that when I had asked my mother for a record of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" she vetoed that because it was "not a very nice song". So my first impression was only that this new legislation wouldn't affect us much.

I don't know how long Lori's dad got away with this deception. Maybe a week of no Beatles records played in the house before Lori noticed that none of her friends had been shipped off to internment camps.


John said...

"The Devil's got hands! And do you know what he does with them? Holds stuff!!" -From "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story"

skarab said...

Hey Robert, I get that you were only 7 or 8 at the time, but I'm *pretty sure* that the Beatles Saturday morning cartoon was years after the "more popular than Jesus" quote and the subsequent burning of their records. Plus, this over-reaction was mostly limited to the South and the Bible Belt. It wasn't a universal phenomenon, though it prolly seemed that way to an eight-year-old in Texas!

Robert said...

Actually we were in Minnesota.

hmmm... lets check the always reliable Wikipedia... It seems the Beatles cartoon ran from 1965 to 1967 then until 1969 in repeats. That's about when I recall it, although I don't remember it running for four years.

John Lennon's "Jesus" comment was in 1966. I wasn't even aware of it until years later but 1966 would fit in with about when this happened.

skarab said...

Jeepers I need to get a new squirrel for my Way-Bac Machine!