My wife and I went to see "Love," the Cirque du Soleil tribute to the Beatles at the Mirage in Vegas. It brought me back to that moment in 1964 when I got my first look at them on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was then that I instantly fell in love with their music. They were the Fab Four mop-heads from Liverpool, who brought a new look and a new sound to rock 'n' roll. And, just to add to their enormous appeal, our parents didn't get them.
My students today also cannot comprehend what it was that made them so popular with my generation. Anyone under the age of 50 would have difficulty grasping how much the country changed 43 years ago when the Beatles came to America.
Nor can a younger generation comprehend who and what Ed Sullivan was to America. Every Sunday, 50 million people (more than half the total viewing audience) sat down to watch his show. The night that the Beatles first appeared, more than 70 million tuned in and, for most of us teenagers, it was a night we'll always remember. They were different from anything that we had ever seen. We'd been fed a steady diet of Bobby Vinton and Frankie Avalon, and the No. 1 song just before the arrival of the Fab Four was "Dominique" by the Singing Nun.