Steve Eighinger

This would have been a great year to honor the Fab Four

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 3, 2020 12:01 am Updated: Jul. 3, 2020 12:36 am

I think we're missing a chance for some sort of grand celebration this year.

Maybe it's because of all the side issues tied to either — or both of — the current pandemic and political unrest, but if ever there was the need for a feel-good event to remember it would be a 50th anniversary concert paying tribute to the breakup of the Beatles. The lads from Liverpool went their separate ways in 1970.

Is it just me, or is it hard to believe it was a half-century ago when the Beatles decided to call it a career — at least as a group? Obviously, all four went on to successful solo efforts, and the two remaining former band members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, continue to perform.

With McCartney, who turned 78 in June, and Starr, who will be 80 next week, serving as hosts, wouldn't some massive, worldwide pay-per-view concert honoring the Beatles be just what the doctor ordered with so much negative news dominating our lives? Participating artists would play only Beatles songs, and proceeds could go toward helping rebuild the world's collective economy. (Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, get your checkbooks ready and make this happen.)

While you ponder the idea of such a concept, think about some of the ensuing — but not necessarily well-known — facts connected with history's No. 1 band:

Ringo orginally wanted to be a hairdresser, and Paul had a go at being an electrician: "I was hopeless," McCartney said. At least the music thing worked out for them. (Prior to his music career, Ringo was better known by his birth name, Richard Starkey.)

John Lennon and McCartney wrote the Rolling Stones' first modest hit, "I Wanna Be Your Man." The then-struggling Stones had begged their songwriting friends for some help, to which Lennon said, "We weren't going to give them anything great, right?"

Many will argue that the Beatles were responsible for MTV — they were the first group to create promotional film clips to help sell their music.

All four of the Beatles were scared of flying, especially George Harrison.

Among the people on the cover of the "'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album are Laurel and Hardy, Marilyn Monroe, Karl Marx, boxer Sonny Liston, Bob Dylan, Lenny Bruce and Shirley Temple. When the Beatles requested Temple's OK to use her image on the cover of the album, she was the only celebrity who insisted on hearing the album before granting permission.

Fearful that audiences in America's Deep South would be segregated for their 1964 U.S. tour, the Beatles declared in an advance press statement: "We will not appear unless (African-Americans) are allowed to sit anywhere."

On April 4, 1964, the Beatles set a U.S. record by having five of their songs in the top five Billboard chart positions simultaneously: "Can't Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "Please Please Me."

No other music group has come close to that feat, and I would venture it's safe to say none ever will.