Hard to believe but come this February 9th, it will be 50 years since the Beatles made their memorable first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. As they say, the rest was history. To commemorate that musical milestone, there’s celebrations world wide. But WMBD photographer Ben Dwyer introduces us to some local musicians who are playing in a big Beatles Anniversary concert right here in Peoria.
“It’s almost hard to fathom the effect seeing those guys on television had. They were the coolest thing I ever saw in my life bar none. And they sounded like nothing you’ve ever heard before. It was rock and roll on steroids. It was amazing," said Craig Moore
A record 73 million viewers tuned in that night to watch what would become a pivotal moment in rock history, the beginning of the British invasion.
“So the next day, February 10, 1964 there was probably more boys that ran out and bought guitars than at any time before or since,” said Moore
And sure enough that what sixteen year old Craig Moore did then. Playing in countless bands through the decades and becoming an admired figure on the local music scene. So it was easy to recruit current players for the anniversary concert who share his passion for the music.
“Wow, not bad for the first run through,”said John Hill “They were the pinnacle of what popular music was certainly at that time. And they represent that time. The biggest joy is to share our love and affection for the music and to try to do something for the community. “
But what of the Beatles, themselves? For them Beatlemania was all too much and just two years later they quit touring for good and left the screaming hordes behind, retreating to the studio where their true genius flowered, with help from visionary producer George Martin.
“Every album was a step up from the previous one," said Moore
With Lennon and McCartney’s ever growing talent as songwriters and the band’s increasingly innovative compositions, the Beatles turned Pop into Art, forever changing what was possible in music.
“And they did that intentionally. They consciously tried to top themselves,” said Moore
And as the owner of a record shop for the past 30 years, the Beatles and the ‘60’s have really never left his mind. Just look at the sign above the door named after one of their most famous songs.
Inside there’s cases full of memorabilia from lunchboxes to buttons and all kinds of rare releases, too. But Moore says it’s anything but just nostalgia.
“There are kids coming in here now, ten, twelve, fifteen buying Beatles records. The music still speaks to them. Because whatever it is about what they write, it touches universal chords. And it goes on generation after generation after generation. And it’s going to carry on like that because it has carried on like that for fifty years, already.”
Ben Dwyer, WMBD 31 News