December 8, 2010

Remembering John Lennon & The Beatle's First US Concert

For years, the Kennedy family has been fighting the continuing commemorations of JFK & RFK on the respective days of their assassinations.  They'd prefer that people recall the Kennedy's for their lives rather than their tragic deaths and have tried to turn the focus towards celebrating their birthday's instead of their death-days.  Afterall, this is how it works with President Lincoln and Dr. King, whose birthday's are holidays not the date of their untimely deaths.

Anyway, today is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death and the news is filled today with remembrances of the horror of his shooting outside the Dakota.  Well, I'm going to try and buck the trend and focus on John Lennon's life a bit here.  To that end, I read a really wonderful piece of oral history in the Washington POST last weekend about the Beatles first concert in the US. It all happened the day after their legendary appearance on the Ed Sullivan show as they took the train to the Nation's Capital during a blizzard for a gig at the old Washington Coliseum.

The POST story was presented in conjunction with Paul McCartney's being one of the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. But it's a wonderful remembrance of the whole band on their first strange and lovely trip to America.  There are some great details, like the band being pegged with jelly beans (their favorite candy) and the fact that a teenage Al Gore was in attendance with some St. Alban's classmates.  There are some interesting descriptions of all the girls' screaming too.  The whole thing sounds surprisingly innocent for a concert; no sex or drugs...just some good old rock'n'roll.  Then again, 1964 seems like a century ago.

So here's a clip of their DC concert from YouTube. If you want, you can watch the whole thing (shot by documentarian Albert Maysles) streaming/screaming on the iTunes website.