Early November 1963, before the Kennedy incidient. Mr. Phil Anderson's Electric Shop at Le Conte Junior High, which contained the audio/visual room - 16mm projectors everywhere, Bell and Howells, Kalart Victors, slide projectors, and anything else used to infiltrate the eggshell minds of middle schoolers (junior high schoolers, in those days).

A crowd of boys are huddled around a music magazine on a workbench littered with soddering irons, wires, and the guts of a fallen, malfunctioning Bell and Howell. There's a tow-headed young runt wearing a blue bomber nylong jacket, staring at the black and white glossy pages of the mag. Now, this wasn't the latest issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland, or Fantastic Monsters of the Films; it was a music magazine and the foursome were trying to figure out what was up with these four young guys with pudd'n basin haircuts. One of the kids exclaimed, "What's a Beatle?" "Don't know," another chimed in. "The name is spelled wrong!" barked another.

At that moment, Mr. Anderson called Electric Shop Fifth Period to order.

Now, by the early Sixties, the rock had been toned down into roll, and hard-edged Leather Boys had been replaced by the sugar and sweet syrup dripping Pop Crooners. Monsters, on the other hand (or claws if you prefer), were having a boom. In the late 50s, the Shock Theater package was released to television, horror hosts were dazzling the airwaves, Hamme Films in the U.K. were having box office bonanzas, and Monster Mash was the hit of the land.

Early January 1964
I'm walking down the hall at Le Conte Junior High with an armload of books. As I approach my locker, I spy an orange and white 3x5 sticker stuck to my locker, with those pudd'n basin haircuts, and the slogan "The Beatles Are Coming." This flashed my brain back to Electric Shop. But the question was, what are the Beatles? Actors, comedians, musicians, or what?

A few days later, I found out in the family automobile, a 1957 Plymouth with a push button gearshift, pushbutton radio, and an antenna that seldom worked, with a three inch speaker that delivered 0.0 crackle point sound. What made it all worthwhile was A.M. Radio in the 60s played everything that a teenager with raging earlobes could ever want - audio color television. As I'm navigating the radio while my mother is navigating the road, I hear the word "Beatles" emanating from the speaker. The first chords of I Want To Hold Your Hand blasted me dead-on in the face, and my brain corkscrewed into a dimension where it had never been before. So this is what the Beatles are - I can handle this! As the tune progressed, itw as clear this wasn't homogenized bubblegum B.S. to keep America clean. There were Pop sensibilities, a Rockabilly edge, and a new melodic structure, the likes of which American kids hadn't been exposed to. You could also hear the bass and drums.

From those humble beginning, the Beatles took an entire generation, the turbulent times commonly referred to as the 60s. The Beatles were the soundtrack of those times. In 1987, when CDs sprang upon the audio scene, the Beatles' English LPs were released to an eager public. Since then Beatle fans have bee n treated to The Anthology Series, The Beatles Live at the B.B.C., Yellow Submarine - A Songtrack, Let It Be ... Naked, One, and from the hit stageshow by Cirque de Soleil. And now, we have the 2009 remasters of the entire Fab Four catalog.

When we were Monster Boomers, we read the monster mags of the day, adorning our walls with the cut-out pictures of our favorite ghouls and gals, and later with movie posters from classic and contemporary horror and sci-fi flicks. My friends and I always had Beatles records playing while we engaged in these monstrous activities. The newly remastered Beatles albums and the "Past Masters" collection remind me of when these records were new, and we played the virgin vinyl on our little monaural record players, and later on Hi-Fi Stereo consoles where we discovered a whole new dimension of stereophonic sound, thanks to the Moptops.

Today the Beatles are as popular as they were in their heyday, and maybe that's because there is no music or musicians that have come close to holding a candle to their accomplishments. It's also music that makes one feel good. So check out these remastered CDs, and you might agree the Beatles are timeless.

P.S. The monsters left the closet! The real ones are on the nightly news, sadly so! And the Beatles Remasters sold over two million copies is a week! Ain't life grand!

For more information on all things Beatles, go to

Fun Fact:
It's rumored that George Harrison stayed on Lookout Mountain off the legendary Laurel Canyon in 1968, when he debuted the Mono mix of the Beatles White Album. For a comprehensive and long overdue complete history of Laurel Canyon, readers should check out Canyon of Dreams by Harvey Kubernik, available from Barnes & Noble Booksellers. For the first time ever, the magic and the music of Laurel Canyon have been captured all in one coffee table book.

Back to Home Page