2018-02-07 / Editorials

The Beatles–Yesterday, Today, And Forever!

As all Queens Gazette readers know, February 7 is officially BEATLES DAY, the anniversary of the day in 1964, when The Beatles first touched the soil of the United States. This momentous occasion took place nowhere else but right here in Queens, when they landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Fifty-Four years ago, The Beatles had come to perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” of course, and anyone alive at that time, even toddlers, remember that “really big shoe,” as Ed would have said. The day is important, not only because The Beatles changed music forever, but they also influenced every aspect of Western Civilization, launching “The British Invasion” as they did, bringing us mod and then later psychedelic fashion and sounds, and turning us all into Anglophiles. Not only did they culturally bridge the two hemispheres, they also synthesized the cultures of East and West, introducing the culture of India to many of us in America for the first time. The Beatles pressed for peace, and with their powerful influence on all the youth of the day, no doubt played a major role in fomenting the entire peace movement of the Sixties and beyond. The Beatles still permeate our lives, we hear their songs daily, and also in ways we are perhaps not aware of. We cannot imagine how different every aspect of the material world and our worldview would be different if not for them. It’s been a long and winding road since then, but not a day goes by when not only do we hear songs of theirs, but we’d wager that fashion, music, ethos, our aesthetics, expressions— much of what we now take for granted— could have come from their astounding repertoire of music and style. One might argue that they wove many influences into their work, but it is their own brand of alchemy that created something entirely new, that somehow resonated with all who heard them.

We will never forget the amazing day that Paul McCartney made a surprise visit to Queens. It was October 9, 2013, the anniversary of John Lennon’s birthday, when Paul came to Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria to celebrate his best friend, to the astonishment of 400 incredibly lucky students, and one Tony Barsamian, Queens Gazette publisher, who covered the event.

We will be remembering that fab time with a little help from our friends at St. Michael’s Cemetery when they present a free, live performance of a Concert of the Classics featuring the music of The Beatles, to be held Saturday, February 17 at 3 pm on their beautiful grounds. Everyone is invited to join in the fun.

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