Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Hard Day's Dawn

The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night, 1964I
I was living in Atlanta when they first began to make the news, the moptop lads from Liverpool who were mopping it up as the vanguard of that exotic genre (in those days) known as British rock and roll. I was about their age, but they seemed much younger in their schoolboy garb and floppy hairdos. I was a married woman with a two-year-old and they looked like exuberant high schoolers.

Boys were wearing crewcuts still--or closely cropped and neatly combed coifs--when I first spotted a youngster in his early teens who was wearing his hair below the ears and obviously very much intendedly so. The Beatles had been on the cover of LIFE Magazine already. Yet I was astonished that the hairdo had already made it to Atlanta. I smiled. The Beatles. Yes.

They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and we all watched. They sang at Yankee Stadium and created an unprecedented sensation--screaming, fainting, uncontrollable girls pulled hysterically at their dates and trembled with uncheckable passion. They made a movie which we couldn't wait to see. And it did not disappoint.

The Beatles capered into the 20th century with joy, wackiness, talent, and a sound tailored for its moment in time. I'm told the opening chord of "A Hard Day's Night" is unique and instantly recognizable, setting the stage (or screen, that is) for the particular chaos that calls for applause, laughter, and possible dancing in the aisles. After the troubling upheaval of the assassination of a youthful and appealing president, a baffling and painful war, and the reality of an uncertain future, the four young men exemplified fun, youth, vigor, testosterone--and, indirectly, hope. What was not to love?

The 50 intervening years saw The Beatles evolve as the rest of us did, sometimes leading the way, sometimes facing their own tragedies and tribulations. But in the days of A Hard Day's Night it was still all about joy and optimism.

My grandsons, aged 19 and 16, haven't seen the movie before. I'll alert them that the accent Liverpudlian is undecipherable at times; that the music was the kind Grandma used to like, and that they'll like the movie. I hope I'm right. We're going tomorrow night.


  1. I remember how my best friend and I, age 14 at the time, went to see this eagerly anticipated film the first day it played in the city that is the county seat of the county we lived in. It had reserved seats for the opening.

  2. Quite wonderful how fresh this movie--so much a product of its times--is 50 years later. Audeinces have been leaving the theatre saying: It's even better than I remember. The big screen & big sound (the Theatre's sound system is excellent) plus being surrounded by other people laughing and clapping--just creates joyous energy.
    The film plays one more time tonight...grab a friend & go!