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Can’t buy me love


February 12, 2014

In an age of electronic fame and instant notoriety, the array of media darlings has become dizzying. Reality shows and online channels (www.youtube.com) have enabled anyone with a computer to market themselves and strut their stuff for all the world to see—good, bad or indifferent. Gone are the days of real-deal superstars, and in their place, we have pop-up pop stars, wannabes and an endless parade of (IMHO) people with no discernible talent, but access to a platform which may (or may not) propel them into the spotlight. Since the world at large seems to be waxing nostalgic about the Beatles this week, I joined in and took a stroll down Penny Lane myself, recalling the hysteria, angry parents and dire warnings regarding the end of the world, brought on 50 years ago by four guys in suits.

My 12-year-old sister was one of the millions reduced to tears by the Fab Four’s first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and (not wanting to feel left out) I, too, became intently interested in the group, especially when learning that the folks did not approve. At first, it wasn’t really about the music, since hearing the tunes (on TV) above the din of shrieking, caterwauling teenage girls was impossible. We weren’t allowed to use the hi-fi that my father reserved for the recording artists that my parents loved, Sinatra, Peggy Lee and Garland, but our insistence led the folks to purchase a portable turntable (with removable speakers!) that I had to share with my sibling. Like their parents before them, my folks bitterly complained about the degradation of the music world, but I was allowed to close the bedroom door while putting needle to vinyl and playing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” over and over, in an endless loop of Beatlemania. I’m not sure how it happened, but my mom came home one day with an “Official Beatles Fan Club” package for me, which included a flannel-lined wig (resembling a gorilla fur moptop), which I insisted on wearing to school, to the grocery store and (much to my father’s chagrin) to bed.