It Was Fifty Years Ago: Beatles In America

by Norm Gregory on February 8, 2014

in 1963, 1964, Music

I came to the Beatles early . . . .

I was working at Camp Orkila on Orcas Island during the summer of 1963 and heard the Beatles’ “From Me To You” on CKLG (Vancouver B.C.) in August of ’63. I was always a sucker for the falsetto . . . so I took to the song immediately.

By the way, KJR (my hometown Seattle radio station) and other U.S. stations were playing Del Shannon’s version of ‘From You To Me’ . . it never scored high on the national charts.

In the fall, when I got back to Western, at downtown Bellingham record stores (there were two), I came across “She Loves You” on Swan, “From Me To You” and “Please Please Me” on Vee Jay. Capitol Records didn’t, yet, have a clue to what they had. So parent company EMI licensed Beatle tunes to independent U.S. labels. In early 1964 Capitol woke up and released ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and the rest is unprecedented history.

To this day, I have former college roommates who credit me for discovering the Beatles. Hahaha.

Lennon and McCartney wrote From Me To You on a tour bus in February 1963. The title was taken from a letters column called ‘From Me To Us’ in the ‘New Musical Express.’ The song was recorded on March 5 1963 at Abbey Road. The Beatles were the opening act of this tour with headliner Helen Shapiro. In the U.S. the single was released on Vee Jay in May 1963. It failed to break into the U.S. top forty.

BeatlesInSeattle August1964Click For Full Size Version

Nearly 50 years ago, The Beatles thrilled Seattle
Friday was the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first visit to America.   Six months later, they visited Seattle.  ● More: Seattle

Growing up with The Beatles
My brother was too young and didn’t care.

My parents were too old and didn’t care.

My sister was 12 and I was 10. We cared like crazy.

Before that Sunday night when The Beatles first showed up on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” we knew that what was coming was something else. ● More: – Local news

When a Beatle came to town and failed to cause a stir
Not long after settling in southern Illinois in 1963, an ocean from her native England, Louise Harrison Caldwell trudged from one radio station to the next lobbying for airtime for her brother’s quartet. Revered in Britain, the group was virtually unknown in America and her promotion fizzled.

So it was that her “kid brother” George Harrison was able to walk Benton’s streets and jam with a local band when he visited his older sister for two weeks that fall. Five months later, folks in Benton, population 7,000, likely were kicking themselves for not snagging the vacationing Brit’s autograph or photo as proof they saw him standing there. ● More: Nation & World | The Seattle Times

Beatlemania: A Moment In Time Never To Be Repeated
Musical moments that capture the attention of a national audience — and beyond — never seem to be in short supply. Last week, Bruno Mars set a ratings record with 115 million people watching his Super Bowl performance. A few months ago, the talk was about Beyonce’s surprise album. And there’s still discussion of That Miley Moment at the MTV Video Music Awards.

But moments that spark a musical revolution? A dramatic altering of the pop culture landscape? A true moment for historians to analyze? Rare indeed, which is what makes the 50th anniversary of what is considered the start of Beatlemania so remarkable — and so unlikely to happen again. ● More: Celebrities | The Olympian

1 Marty February 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

What a trip that you were at Orkila then. I was, too, but I guess us campers weren’t allowed to have radios. The song I really remember that August was “Charlie Browning”(he’s still first downing).
BTW, I went to a free Orkila alumni weekend last June… should come up, so I’m not the oldest person there. Wow, has it gotten small, and the trees gotten big!

2 Norm Gregory February 8, 2014 at 11:38 am

I had a radio with me all the time during my two summers at Orkila . . . probably it distracted me from my camp counselor duties!!! Haha.

Glad to hear the camp is still there. I haven’t been there since the summer of 1964. During the summer of 1965 I was the day camp director at the Northeast Y in Seattle’s U-District. And that was it for me and the YMCA.

Thanks for contributing Marty.

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