It was never a pressing need for me to read any book about the Beatles. Born in northern Michigan in a small fishing town back in 1953, I grew up with them. It feels like only yesterday when as a thirteen year-old boy I made my way downtown to Loeffler’s Electronics to pick up my pre-ordered copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Band
. It felt like precious cargo walking home with that LP tucked under my arm. When I placed it on the turntable in the basement a new world opened up for me. I had never heard anything like what my ears were now experiencing. These British pop stars had turned a new corner, one that was in some ways expected based on where their music had been going. But change is slow coming to a little town up north on Lake Huron. And I would never again be the same after my entire Beatle experience. Dreaming the Beatles
is a collection of essays telling the story of what this band means to a generation who grew up with the Beatles music on their parents’ stereos and their faces on T-shirts. I cannot imagine what that might have been like. I grew up in a home where even the mention of the Beatles was prohibited. The band’s first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was cause for the future downfall of our country’s youth. My father was the president of our local School Board and the Iosco County News headlines one day soon after the first British Invasion abhorrently read, “Sarki says there will be no Beatles haircuts in Tawas Area Schools.” For years my three brothers and I were marshaled down to the basement for our customary two-week butch haircut. There we would squirm as our father cut away with his motorized shears, nicking our necks until they bled with regularity. But by the time Sgt. Pepper’s
was issued there was no longer much that old Dad could do. Bangs were in and his boys were defiantly wearing them. Of course, I had a cowlick that prohibited a proper look. My style was more in tune with today’s spiked hair, except mine scrambled anywhere it wanted to except straight down.
As was predicted, mind-expanding drugs were introduced into my small town and the destruction of our youth became imminent. The Vietnam War certainly had something to do with it. Some of us survived. The Beatles for us were an everyday occurrence. Nothing existed without the Beatles’ mark upon it. Everything they said or did was reported and discussed. Hence the need for no further reading in a book about them. But now, so many years later, this title interested me. And the memories it brought forth were worth my time in reading it. The generations that came after ours have, and will have, their own set of experiences. But they will never be like our moments were back then, when British pop exploded in our bodies. And then it expanded and morphed into a world of psychedelic music, changing our minds forever, and opening us lucky ones to something bigger, more promising, and positively brighter. So come bless these boys in the band, and their passing that now-eternal audition.