On June 1st, 1967, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, boosting the sales of vintage military uniforms and further cementing their status as the biggest rock group in the world. Two weeks later, they started work on their next omnipresent musical event: participating in the Our World TV show on June 25th, employing Earth’s newly constructed satellite technology to deliver a live global broadcast from locales as far-flung as “Takamatsu and Tunis.”
The Beatles agreed to perform a new song as the representatives of the United Kingdom. “It was the first worldwide satellite broadcast ever,” Ringo Starr said years later. “It’s a standard thing that people do now, but then, when we did it, it was a first. That was exciting – we were doing a lot of firsts.”
This February 7 marks 50 years since The Beatles first came to America. A thousand tributes will tell you what happened. But how and why did it happen the way it did? What was America really like then, culturally and socially, that allowed the group to strike such a deep nerve? And what was it about The Beatles themselves—their backgrounds, their style, and of course their music—that made them so unlike anything Americans had seen before?
In his new e-book Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Beatles and America, Then and Now, Michael Tomasky explains the group’s impact in the context of the times in a richly detailed, often surprising, I-never-knew-that! account of why they became the phenomenon they did. Kurt Andersen says of Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: “This book was a revelation. No one has more lucidly and entertainingly distilled the whys and hows and look and feel of the moment the Sixties began.”
Before George Harrison died in 2001, the rock icon and former member of the Beatles reportedly saw that his sister, Louise, was given a $2,000 per month pension ― a small sum given his more than $300 million fortune.
In an interview with the U.K.’s Daily Mail, Louise Harrison claims that pension ended after her brother died. Now 82, Harrison still works to support herself. However, she isn’t upset about the arrangement.
She told the Daily Mail, “I was never concerned about the termination of the pension, I have found a way to make a living.”
The network will air a two-hour program about the Fab Four, “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles,” that will feature contemporary artists performing Beatles tunes in addition to archival footage.
The special will air Feb. 9, the 50th anniversary of the band’s appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for the network. Footage and other archival material from the night of the group’s “Sullivan” performance will be included, along with performers who’ll emphasize the importance of the group’s performance on the show.
Ravi Shankar was already revered as a master of the sitar in 1966 when he met George Harrison, the Beatle who became his most famous disciple and gave the Indian musician-composer unexpected pop-culture cachet.
Suddenly the classically trained Shankar was a darling of the hippie movement, gaining widespread attention through memorable performances at the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh.
Harrison called him “the godfather of world music,” and the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin once compared the sitarist’s genius to Mozart’s. Shankar continued to give virtuoso performances into his 90s, including one in 2011 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Shankar, 92, who introduced Indian music to much of the Western world, died Tuesday at a hospital near his home in Encinitas. Stuart Wolferman, a publicist for his record label Unfinished Side Productions, said Shankar had undergone heart valve replacement surgery last week.