Beatles fifty years on

Fifty years ago today the British pop group The Beatles made their ground-breaking performance on the Ed Sullivan Show in the US, kicking off the so-called British invasion.

Beatles in BournemouthMy personal experience with the Beatles happened a few months earlier. In August 1963, the group played in the English south coast town of Bournemouth, which was about an hour’s drive from where my family lived.

My father was overseas at the time, and my mother took the remarkable step of taking my younger brother and I to see one of the performances.

As I was only seven years old at the time, and my brother was five, I remember feeling a little out of place as we queued to get in because there were lots of teenage girls waiting as well. But with adult hindsight, my mother would have been a few decades older than anyone else there.

That concert introduced me to the phenomenon of Beatlemania. It didn’t happen right at the start of the performance, but during one of the songs the (mainly female) audience got so excited that my brother and I had to stand on the arms of the theatre chairs to see the band.

Postscript: About thirty years later I repaid my mother for her kind action by taking her to see the first concert that the Rolling Stones did in Johannesburg. Once again, she was still the oldest person at the show.


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