Robert U. Montgomery

December 1963

Additionally, I was aided and abetted in my survival by the Beatles, who also came into my life in 1963. On Dec. 26, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There” were released in the United States, igniting Beatlemania. No, I didn’t yell, scream, or swoon as so many teen girls did when John, Paul, Ringo, and George appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in February of 1964.

But I do remember sitting on my bed in the new house that I hated and actually feeling pleasure surge through my body as I listened to those songs on my transistor radio. During those days of crewcuts and Elvis pompadours, I recall the delight that I took in seeing one brave soul wear a shaggy Beatles wig to school.

Beatles


Despite the loss of innocence and a home that I loved, those mop-tops helped me feel good about life with their rebellious fashion sense, their glib comments --- Interviewer: “Tell me, how did you find America?” John: “Turn left at Greenland” --- and their music, which spoke to me and millions of others in a way that I still can’t adequately convey.

They stayed with me all through college too. I still remember the “everything’s right with the world” feeling that I had as I listened to “Hey, Jude” in the college student union during the fall of 1968. And I recall my sorrow after the Beatles recorded “The End” for the Abbey Road album and broke up not long after.

Still, they remain with me today, not on 45s or record albums, not on eight-track tapes or cassettes, but now on CDs, my iPod, and Sirius satellite radio. Although they performed together for only a handful of years, the enduring genius of their music ensures that I’ll always remember the best about 1963, as well as the worst.

(Excerpt from "1963" in my book Under the Bed: Tales From an Innocent Childhood, a great Christmas present for Baby Boomers.)