As far back as I can remember, I was surrounded by record albums. My father loved music and I grew up singing along with Steve and Eydie, Keely Smith, Della Reese, and so many more—and Broadway musicals. But those were my father's albums.
Later on, sitting in my grandparents' bedroom while the adults talked in the living room and the younger kids played, I discovered the radio. Pretty soon I couldn't wait until Sunday lunch was over so that I could shut myself in the room with Bobby Vinton, the Four Seasons, the Everly Brothers, and Neil Sedaka, and listen and sing to my heart's content. But that was the radio, and it never occurred to me that you could buy those records and listen to them whenever you want.
Then one day in the 8th grade, a friend started talking about this English band called The Beatles. She had heard about them from her friend Margaret, who was from England. From England! Just to have a friend from England was pretty amazing.
Pretty soon I got to listen to the album at a friend's house, and then—I got my own—my first album. I don't remember how I came into possession of that album. I may have bought it myself, but I suspect that I hadn't yet figured out that I could do that. More than likely my father, having heard me enthuse about the Fab Four had brought it home for me.
I loved everything about that album. I loved the dark blue cover with those four faces looking at me. I loved running my fingernail down the slit in the side of the cover through the cellophane, and slipping out the paper jacket of the album, and then, the album itself—and those songs.
I listened to that album every chance I could get. After my family went to bed and I had sole possession of the living room and the stereo, I would listen to that music into the morning hours—and dance. I knew every word. I knew all the harmonies. I knew who sang what, and the life story of every member of the band. I loved to hear them sing, “Ooooooo.” I was in love with Paul.
When I listen to those songs now, it's evident that they are not great music. It's basically just one silly love song after another, but, really, what IS wrong with that occasionally. These were for the most part happy songs, and even the ones that weren't happy, made me happy, and obviously they made millions of other people happy then, and even now. Hearing them every once in a while in a store or on Sirius radio, I smile and sing along.
And of course it didn't it stop with Meet the Beatles. Pretty soon there was Introducing the Beatles, and Hard Day's Night, and Abbey Road, and on and on. And there were Herman's Hermits and the Rolling Stones, and Gerry and the Pacemakers, and Peter and Gordon, and all the British Invasion—but it all started with Meet the Beatles.
Once Bill and I were in the back seat of my parents' car and my parents were in the front listening to some song from their youth, and one of them said something like, “That was great music. Kids today won't have any memories.” Bill and I just looked at each other and laughed.
—Janet Cupo has been commenting on this blog for about as long as it's existed, and has her own excellent blog at The Three Prayers.