100 Years Ago Today – William Burroughs, Beat Generation writer (Naked Lunch), was born in St. Louis, Missouri.
50 Years Ago Today – The Beatles landed at London Airport (to be renamed “London Heathrow Airport” in 1966) following a residency at Paris’ Olympia Theatre. During a brief news conference the boys were asked about their impending maiden trip to the United States two days hence: Q: I must tell you, by the way, that Detroit University have got a ‘Stamp Out The Beatles’ movement. … They think your haircuts are un-American. John: Well, it was very observant of them because we aren’t American, actually. Paul: True, that.
Their first record to make the U.S. charts, “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” had its Billboard debut on January 18th and reached #1 on February 1st. America was ready. On Sunday, February 9th, the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, watched by a record breaking 73 million people — 45% of homes with televisions were tuned in.
Including ours. After watching, my father proclaimed that “they’ll never last.” My preadolescent self, happy to latch on to all things that my parents’ generation hated, had a differing opinion — though even I recognized their music as trivial. (This would change by the end of 1965 with the release of “We Can Work It Out” b/w “Day Tripper” and “Rubber Soul.”)
For those wanting a feel for the early Beatles, I have two recommendations:
Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years, Volume 1 [of a trilogy] by Mark Lewisohn – It takes over 800 pages just to get to the end of 1962, but this beast of a book is the definitive history with a deep sense of place: post-war Liverpool.
“Live at the BBC” and “On Air: Live at the BBC, Volume 2” – These recordings give the listener a hint of just how good a cover band the Beatles were and why audiences in Liverpool and Hamburg were so excited: great harmonies and George Harrison’s rockabilly guitar truly stand out.
An Evening with Cokie Roberts, author of Founding Mothers, Wednesday, February 5th at 7pm, Davis Academy, 8105 Roberts Drive, Atlanta 30350, free but please RSVP to [email protected]
Benjamin Ridgeway, editor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, Wednesday, February 5th at 7:15pm, Decatur Library Auditorium, sponsored by Georgia Center for the Book, free.
Da Chen, author of Colors of the Mountain, Friday, February 7th at 11am, Centenial Hall Auditorium, sponsored by Georgia Center for the Book, free.
Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis, author and illustrator of Wildwood Imperium, Friday, February 7th at 7pm, Kavarna Coffee, hosted by Poverty is Real and sponsored by Little Shop of Stories (ticket info here) to benefit the Decatur Education Foundation‘s literacy programs, $15 adults, $10 kids, plus the purchase of one book per family. – SOLD OUT
Ed Lyman, co-author of Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster, Monday, February 10th at 7pm, Jimmy Carter Library and Museum Theater, free.
Edward Kelsey Moore, author of The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, Monday, February 10th at 7:15pm, Decatur Library Auditorium, sponsored by Georgia Center for the Book, free.
David Beasley, author of Without Mercy: The Stunning True Story of Race, Crime, and Corruption in the Deep South, Tuesday, February 11th at 7pm, Jimmy Carter Library and Museum Theater, free.
Alvin Townley, author of Defiant, Wednesday, February 12th at 7pm, Jimmy Carter Library and Museum Theater, free.
Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet, Wednesday, February 12th at 7:15pm, Decatur Library Auditorium, sponsored by Georgia Center for the Book, free.
Pulitzer-prize winning poet Paul Muldoon, Saturday, February 22nd at 4pm, Glenn Auditorium on the Emory University campus, free but this event is ticketed; tickets can be obtained at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts box office, be reserved online (tickets.arts.emory.edu) and by phone (404-727-5050) with a $4 per order service fee, and a limited number of tickets are available at A Cappella Books, Charis Books & More, Eagle Eye Book Shop and Little Shop of Stories. Tickets (capped at two per person) must be picked up in person at these locations.