Sunday, September 7, 2014

Beatles: A wonder Drug

The Beatles with Michele Finney

Beatles:  A wonder Drug
By Michele Finney
Toronto Daily Star
September 8, 1964

There they were -- all four of the Beatles, live and in Toronto and it was marvelous.

It's the queerest feeling sitting there watching the boys perform.  You really don't quite know what to do with yourself.  A terribly happy feeling swelled up inside and I really had to hold on to myself to keep from jumping up and yelling myself silly.  It seemed that almost everybody else did.

Yet, I've never been so proud of Toronto teens.  They made a tremendous noise and shook the place with their foot-stomping; but they were the  best behaved audience the Beatles have had on their whole American tour

Two or three girls raced madly toward the stage at each of the two shows in a desperate attempt to be near their idols; but our efficient police (and they were everywhere you could look) moved in and carted off the weeping maidens before they made it.

What do the Beatles have that make the girls run up like that, fight widly with the police and pass out with hysteria?  The one word that seems to sum up their effect on teenagers is vibration.  It's almost as if all their shaking the gyrating sends out a message that hits you smack in the face.  There's a sort of numb feeling at first and then you feel a surge of energy.

This is beginning to sound like a doctor's report on the effect of a new drug.  Perhaps that's what the Beatles are.  A wonder pill for utter teenage fun.

There is no doubt that they have their fair share of sex appeal, especially Paul (for me, anyway).  But that isn't all.  They also make you feel overjoyed to be young.

Between the two shows, I got to meet the Beatles in person. First at a big jumbled up press conference where the boys posed for pictures and answered questions in their funny way.  Then later, in their dressing room, just before they went on to do their second show.

At the press conference the boys were very patient.  Ringo was the first to tire and at one pint whispered to me and asked me how many more people and questions there were to go.

I think the first thing that struck me about the Beatles was how normal they seemed.  Up close, there's nothing outstandingly glamorous or extremely attractive about them.  They were just four ordinary, rather pale, slightly built young men, who seemed happy and friendly.

Even though they smiled and appeared gay they still showed, evident signs of stress.  John, Paul, George, and Ringo all looked like they needed a good helping of sun and relaxation.

But it didn't affect their good humor.  When I asked about stories in the papers saying that they appealed to the mother instinct in their largely girl audience, John laughed, "It's a dirty lie," he said.

Which did they prefer, England or American girls?  Paul said, "We like them all.  We're all stuck on girls.  But we prefer it here in America, there are more of them."

When I met them later in their dressing room, they were all intently watching TV.   Some battle scene was on.  And the Beatles were wide eyed over it.  But they still chatted easily.

They were all smoking.  Ringo had his feet up, and at one point let out a huge moaning bellow, for no apparent reason at all.  John was chewing on cough pills.

What did they feel was their stronger audience appeal, their music or themselves, I asked them.  John said, "It's definitely the music."

Why does everybody go gaga over them?  "People are always looking for idols," explained George, "in this age, it just happens to be us."

If the trend were to change would they change too?  "It would depend on the trend," John answered.  "If it stays basically the same, sure we'll change."

How did they feel as boys coming form working-class families hobnobbing it with duchesses and such like?  "We don't care," said George.  "They're all the same anyway, aren't they.  The only difference is a little money and education."

How did they feel about having so little formal education?  "Happy," said George.  "I mean if I'd had a formal education, i wouldn't have had this would I?  And this has been a great education for me."

Why are their fans so dedicated?  "I can't think of a any reason at all,"  John said.  "Really, it surprises me.  I've thought of it sometimes, but I've never been able to figure it out."

Were they worried lest the Beatles craze die out?  "No," said Paul.  "We used to worry a lot about money for security.  but we have that now.  We could quit right now and do anything we want.  So, we're not worried any more."

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