Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “Before the Beatles there were people like Pat Boone, who had songwriters write the songs for them, and there was a lot more folk stuff on the radio. Then the Beatles came along and the music was more hip and young — and their earlier stuff, they were copying a lot of the music they loved that came from America, like Chuck Berry.”
Brian Blackley remembers well the night the Beatles debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show — because he wanted to watch something else that night.
“Honest to God, I didn’t want to watch it because I would have missed Bonanza,” said Blackley, then an elementary student at St. Mary’s Catholic School. “Bonanza was on Sunday nights and that’s what I wanted to watch. But we only had one TV like everyone else and it was black and white and my parents wanted to watch Ed Sullivan. What I remember most is the very next day at school. All the kids were talking about it and everyone had to get Beatle boots.”
No other entertainers in history had been as popular, as influential, as important or as groundbreaking. By the time they were finished, the Beatles sold 600 million albums worldwide and racked up 20 No. 1 U.S. singles, a Billboard record that still stands.
And with their arrival, the door was opened wide for a number of rock bands from England to soon come and join the Beatles in what came to be known in America as “The British Invasion.” Coming attractions included the Dave Clark Five, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Kinks, the Animals, the Who and the anti-Beatles, the Rolling Stones.
The impact on youths across America, and in Western New York, was immediate.
“All of a sudden, the schools started telling us the way we had to dress, and the boys were told their hair couldn’t touch their collar and they couldn’t wear bangs,” Mrs. McWhorter said. “The boys had to have their hair cut short and everyone started getting all up in arms over the short skirts, because those came out about the same time.”