Fresh Ideas: Mom rocks with a new generation of Beatles fans

"It's been a Hard Day's Night and I've been working like a dog." When the Beatles came to Carson City in 1964 they were on celluloid. The opening credits of "A Hard Days Night" rolled. There were the Lads, larger than life, dodging British fans and singing jauntily. And Carson City went nuts.

The packed house of screaming teenyboppers made such a din that Mr. Leonard stopped the film, planted his considerable bulk between us and the silver screen and bellowed, "If you kids can't shut up there isn't gonna be any movie!"

Of course we shut up, sort of.

This little known piece of Carson City lore may not rate with the antics of Mark Twain or the Laxalt Family, but it is true, I swear.

"A Hard Day's Night" had ripple effects across town, especially among the fourth graders at Edith W. Fritsch Elementary. For weeks (heck, years!) afterward we worked hard to copy that particular Beatles carefree charm. We danced and mugged around the playground singing, "money can't buy me love!"

We shook our heads and screamed, "ooooo!" We addressed each other in sarcastic Liverpudlian tones.

So during these long dog days of summer I searched for some new entertainment for my kids. And I stumbled across my old music.

Thirty-seven years after its Carson City premiere, we rented "A Hard Days Night" at JJ's Ear Candy. The young woman behind the counter smiled around her lip studs and eyebrow rings, commented that she was brought up on the Beatles and heartily endorsed the movie.

Back home, the kids were riveted from the opening bars, intrigued to see the Beatles in their early haircuts and Edwardian suits being chased by hoards of crazed girls. At the end our 9-year-old said, "That's a cool movie!" and I had to agree. The first music video holds up well.

For days afterward the kids cross-examined us about the Beatles, music and our childhoods. The conversation touched on fame and its impact on marriage, teenage obsession, Indian religion, Yoko Ono's music, and assassination.

One day I brought over a stack of 45s from my brother's house. "What are those?" demanded the 7-year-old, eyeing them suspiciously. I explained that in the Old Days we'd hear a song we liked on the radio and rush out to buy the 45 for a dollar. I picked out one and positioned it on the record player. "Then I saw her face. Now I'm a believer!" it belted. I felt as though I'd just cranked up Caruso on the Victrola. But my daughter liked it and wanted to hear more Monkees.

It's strange. When I was a kid I wasn't at all interested in my parents' music, apart from musicals that is. I mean when you think about it, the Beatles are to today's kids what the music of 1928 was to us the year "A Hard Day's Night" came out. To us in 1964, even Elvis Presley seemed like a baggy old fuddy-duddy.

But kids today seem more open-minded about accessing the past for inspiration. They embrace swing music and dance, their stars are crooners like the Backstreet Boys as well as rockers like Blink-182.

In some ways, Britney Spears and 'N Sync aren't too different from the Beatles and the Monkees. The songs are catchy and pithy and you can hear the lyrics and sing them back.

And even though Mick Jagger might feel like he's being beaten with a wet noodle when he hears Britney Spears sing it, "Satisfaction" is still grabbing young audiences.

So I encourage parents to take the leap. Share your vinyl with the kids and grandkids. And take a listen to theirs. You may find yourselves moving to the same beat.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment