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Letter: A new generation emerges

When I was a junior in high school in 1962-63 in Florida, Tommy Sykes and I often barreled down the dirt roads between Clearwater and Dunedin in his 1950 Merc, a cloud of dust billowing behind us. Tommy was editor of the school paper, and I was his assistant. The radio was tuned to WLCY – Elsie, for short – with volume up loud.

The next year, as editor, I followed the same route at the same speed in my two-tone ’57 Chev. Elsie’s DJs weren’t fools. In the 15 minutes between school and the print shop, I’d hear at least three Beatles songs – and sing along badly.

“I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” – the Beatles turned out hit after hit during those early months. The words were catchy, the melodies easy to pick up.

The point is that the Beatles were well known to us teenagers months before they showed up on Ed Sullivan on Feb. 9, 1964.

That night, I watched the Beatles from the carpeted floor of our TV room. My parents watched, too, but it was no use talking with them about the Beatles. The Beatles were to them what punk and rap later became to me.

So, in a daze, I got up and walked to the end of the street. Many other teenagers in the neighborhood had had the same experience. There were seven or eight of us. The most profound comment any of us made was “Wow!”

I don’t think the Beatles changed the world, but more than the other early rock-’n’-rollers, they signaled that a new generation was emerging and an old one fading.



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