Dixon Hayes writes a terrific blog called TV When I was Born. He shares his blog with us at the Boomerville,USA facebook group. This week he wrote about The Beatles.
I'm a little older than Dixon, but I was also a too young to remember much. I don't remember the Ed Sullivan show or ever seeing The Beatles appear on television during the first waves of the British Invasion. I do have a memory, the first time I ever heard a Beatles' song. The first time I heard it,in 1964, wasn't from The Beatles, but rather from the lips of my older brother and sister Brooky and Jennie. The song was I Want To Hold Your Hand and I heard it while sitting in the living-room of my aunt Jennie Llew's house in Columbia, South Carolina.
All my aunts and uncles were in the house. Most of them had been trained in classical/traditional music by their mother who was a voice and music teacher. Brook and Jennie weren't performing the song for them, but were just excited children moving about the room singing the song as they played. I remember the reaction from the grown-ups present which was a look of "What kind of song is that?" It had a catchy tune and lyrics a six year old could sing so I started singing it too. The second Beatles song I learned was She Loves You. At six I became a rock and roll fan. Rock and Roll had been around before I was born, but it was The Beatles that moved me.
Growing up I soon realized that the music our generation loved to listen to and sing wasn't what they thought was music. I didn't know that back when I first heard Brooky and Jennie started singing that song. Looking back, to me it's ironic that the first time I heard that song was in a room packed with dad's classical music loving siblings. Throughout my life, whenever they heard me sing a song I wrote, they'd often say I had such a pretty voice to be wasting on such music. I knew they had to have said this to my other singing siblings. Don't get me wrong, they weren't trying to be hateful or discouraging, but rather were trying to encourage us to sing the right kind of music.
It just wasn't going to be. This is the music of my generation. Dad never said much about the music I sang. Rock albums, guitars and amps eventually came into his household. I don't think dad cared for the type of music his children played. I'm sure he had to silently tolerate much of it, but maybe he related. After all, his Pop wasn't a fan of the Swing/Dance music that he drug into the house.
It wouldn't be long until the Jesus Movement influenced Westbrook's children. Our love for Jesus and the music of our generation came together like chocolate and peanut butter. We played our songs youth groups, street corners, coffee houses and eventually before congregations.