In the Summer of ‘65

Lee St. John, a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, is a No.1 Amazon ranked humorous author. Look for her on Facebook, Twitter (@LeeStJohnauthor), and her blog at www.leestjohnauthor.com. Her new release, “SHE’S A KEEPER! Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess” can be found on Amazon.com.

Have you heard about “Yesterday,” the 2019 British jukebox musical and romantic comedy? A struggling musician, who after an accident, finds himself the only person who remembers the Beatles. Can you imagine? He becomes famous taking credit for writing and performing their songs. Reminds me a little of “Back to the Future” where Marty McFly’s nemesis, Biff, comes across a sports almanac containing decades of winning teams and their scores and while living in the past, bets on the future winning teams, makes a fortune, and runs and ruins Hill Valley.
The filmmakers had to get the rights to include The Beatles’ music. Ten million dollars later, they did and although none of the band was involved, producers received blessings from the Beatles and their families.
On August 18, 1965, the Beatles made their only Georgia appearance and I saw them perform. I would say I heard them, but that was impossible because of all the 30,000 screaming voices at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. They were in town less than 10 hours and although they never landed in Georgia again, Beatlemania was alive and well in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal had a story about how to give a Beatle hair cut. Mayor Ivan Allen, in a pre-concert press conference, gave the Beatles the key to the city. The Beatles were gracious enough to be quoted as saying Georgians Otis Redding and James Brown were on their list of favorite musicians.
And there I was, 12 years old at my first concert, seeing the Beatles…with my parents. The only way they would let me attend is if they went with me. With parents 40 years older than you, do you know how embarrassing it was to sit there next to two 52 year olds? And waiting along side them while at least six warm-up acts played to arouse the crowd was awful to endure.
But finally at 9:37 p.m., the mop-heads from Liverpool ran out of the third-base dugout as the stadium erupted in screams while flashbulbs popped and girls fainted. They began their set with “Twist and Shout,” played 11 more songs, then disappeared into a limo behind the concert stage, and raced to the airport.
My 13-year-old female cousin and three of her friends of the same age were allowed to attend without parental supervision. Her parents dropped the four girls off and picked them back up later for the half-hour ride back to the suburbs. I bet she had a better time than I did. She probably screamed as loud as she wanted (… so loud she might have even lost her voice); stand up out of her seat, act like a fool, and pretend she was about to faint; and, heck, maybe she even cried. There would be no one there to stop her. But over at the geriatric seats, I had to be more calm and collected so I didn’t contribute to bursting my parents’ ear drums. It was frustrating to say the least. I wanted to act young because I was young, yet…there were these old people sitting next to me.
I guess it might have been worse for my hometown next-door-neighbor-friends and their parents. Living within 25 miles of the stadium, we all rode up together and sat next to each other at the concert. There I was with my friends, who were really like sisters to me, and their parents who would eventually become our neighbors for 50 years. Them and us. Together. At least I was 12. How really embarrassing for these girls whose parents didn’t let them go off by themselves at the ages of 15 and 18.
I am sure we were a queer sight.
P.S. After 54 years, I still have my concert program and the three tickets that my family purchased. They are framed and are in a prominent place at our lake home as a conversation starter and retelling this Beatles concert story. When people play the game on Facebook about, “What was the first concert you attended?” Look what I get to say.

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