For the last week and a half, like most of America, I’ve been loving almost every moment of the 2012 London Olympic Games! They’ve been filled with incredible feats and surprises. But, whenever I think of Great Britain, I instantly return to the moment I walked into the flagship Tower Records store, back in 1963. Right in front of me was a life-size poster with four bobbing heads – and “She Loves Me” blasting over the sound system. I instantly bought my 45 and hurried home to play it on my cool GE Solid State Hi Fi! Most of you won’t even know what an old LP or 45 sounds like. To me, the scratchy sound of that record playing is always music to my ears (pun intended). I actually listened to my “Abbey Road” album, for inspiration in writing this post… yes, my hi-fi still works and it’s still very cool. Just ask my grandkids!
You’ve probably heard about all the girls that went nuts at Beatles concerts – looking like half crazed wild creatures, that passed out and had to be taken back stage and revived. Yeah, I was one of them! Hold on… I didn’t get all crazy and faint. My best friend Marty and I got second row seats at the Beatles concert at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in the summer of ’65. The minute the Beatles began to play we all broke into singing along with them. The crowd went wild; girls came running up to the stage in front of our seats. It was total bedlam. One girl jumped onto the stage and grabbed John Lennon’s hat and then jumped right off. We couldn’t see because everyone in the front row was standing on their chairs. We were forced onto our own seats, feeling like we were stuffed into a can of sardines – actually more like a gross, stinky men’s gym. Imagine the worst body odor you’ve ever smelled… yeah, my face got pushed into the repugnant smelling armpit of the guy standing in front of me.
I began to swoon and the next thing I remember, I was backstage. Marty was screaming at me to wake up, and my head started shaking from my half-choking cough after inhaling smelling salts (why do they call them that? They don’t smell like salts at all!). I didn’t think anything could be worse than that armpit! Trust me… smelling salts?… they’re worse!
There was still pandemonium backstage. Marty grabbed my hand and before we knew it, we were with a handful of kids watching in awe as John Lennon was getting his hair cut – right in front of us. We had to stifle our desire to scream and act like idiots because no one knew we were standing there. That took a ton of control for a couple of 16-year-old girls! Later we heard a rumor that once John’s hat was taken, Beatles manager Brian Epstein decided that John’s hair was way too radically long, hence the haircut. Funny how in just a short few years, the musical “Hair” would hit mainstream USA… protest marches against the Vietnam War would be occurring in every major city… and Haight-Ashbury and the hippie movement would be synonymous with the now-famous ’60s. I lived it… I loved it…I will never forget it!
John Lennon’s hat (I wonder what became of it)
For my birthday in 1992, Marty gave me a book that I now treasure because just as she wrote in the inside cover, I will always have “warm fuzzies” when remembering that time in my life. Marty’s gone now, a victim of cancer… but, each time I see this book… I smile!
I did make my first trip to the U.K. in the summer of 1966. I loved London; it was exciting and wonderful! Harrod’s, Twiggy, double-decker buses, WC’s (that had me confused!), Picadelly Circus, Big Ben, the London Bridge, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey… it was all fabulous. But sadly, Liverpool wasn’t on our itinerary!
Have you been to London? What about standing in front of the Colorstream Guards (the ones with the tall, black, bearskin two-ton hats) making crazy faces and trying to make them flinch…they didn’t flinch then and they never will! I’d love to hear about your experiences… and Team USA… keep bringing in those medals!