“Love, love, love is all you need,” sang the Beatles
I am that 66-year-old man who proudly still wears his Beatles T-shirts.
I especially enjoy showing off my Beatles T-shirt and testing young clerks in restaurants or grocery stores. I ask them if they know who the Beatles are. Their reactions vary from a glazed, perplexed look to proudly naming their favorite Beatles song.
The majority of young people can’t identify the four young lads on my T-shirt. I am not sure why being able to recognize John, Paul, George or Ringo is such a seismic test of musical intelligence, but for this 66-year-old man it sadly is.
For the musically undernourished, most musical historians recognize that the Beatles created the most significant shift in music and culture in the 1960s. I agree with the author who wrote, “The Beatles served as the perfect transition between the structural, ordered nature of the 1950s and the counterculture heyday of the late 1960s and the 1970s.”
What has ignited this resurgence of Beatlemania in this 66-year-old man?
It was the Super Bowl, Las Vegas, the Ed Sullivan Show and my generous children.
My son Aaron, daughter Nikki, her husband, Carlos, and I decided to go watch, for the first time, the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. Everything about the trip was perfect. The only thing missing was the rest of my children and grandchildren, who had other obligations and could not join us.
We checked into our room early Friday afternoon and were excited to hit the city and win our millions on the slots. As we waited, we opened a nice cold adult beverage, toasted our safe arrival and waited for our luggage to be brought to our room. I was looking out our large bay window from the 27th floor and praying my old body could keep up with the fun zone I was about to enter.
Then I heard my son playing “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles on his cell phone. The song is somewhat melodic and I thought, that’s a curious choice with which to “start the party” in Las Vegas. As I turned to look at my son, my daughter handed me tickets to the Cirque du Soleil’s production of “Love.” “Love” is a theatrical reimagined and circus-like interpretation of Beatles music at the Mirage. Since “Love” first opened in 2006, my dream has been to see the show.
Thanks to my children, one of my musical dreams was finally coming true. I wasn’t quite sure why I became so emotional when she handed me the tickets.
Then I realized when Nikki handed me the “Love” tickets, I remembered being back in my small living room on Watts Drive in southeast Bakersfield many years ago. Our living room was filled with my dad, grandma, neighbors, cousins, my seven brothers and sisters and I. We were getting ready to watch the Ed Sullivan Show on our small black-and-white television set.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles!” announced Ed Sullivan. Then my life, like many others', changed.
How was the “Love”? It tested your senses. Sight, hearing and smell were all engaged during the explosion of brilliant colors, aerial acrobatics and incredible special effects.
But what will I remember most of our Las Vegas trip — the extraordinary Super Bowl, the glam and glitter of the Strip or the familiarity of walking down Fremont Street?
I know I will always be thankful that my children shared part of my musical adolescence. We may have been sitting physically in the Mirage Theater, but emotionally I was back in that small living room on Watts Drive with my family. And now, Nikki, Aaron and Carlos shared a small part of that long-ago memory with me.
The Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964. We saw “Love” almost to the day, on the 53rd anniversary of their historic appearance. Beatles aficionados might claim musical synchronicity. I claim the great timing, thoughtfulness and love of my children.
John, Paul, George and Ringo were right. “All you need is Love.”