"The Beatles Are Here! 50 Years After the Band Arrived in America, Writers, Musicians, and Other Fans Remember" by Penelope Rowlands, review by Shirley Wells
I was not quite nine years old. My older sister and I were lying on our stomachs, heads propped in hands, mesmerized by what we were seeing on our clunky old black-and-white television. Mom and Dad were watching as well. They were young, so the music didn't bother them, but they made critical comments about the group's unusual hair and clothes. But that didn't matter to us. What I remember so clearly is the look that
passed between my sister and me when the music stopped. No words were necessary. It was ON! We were in love with the Beatles. Yea! Yea! Yea!
Fifty years later, we're still celebrating that night in 1964. Among the books recently published to commemorate the Beatles British invasion is Penelope Rowlands' anthology The Beatles Are Here!, which pays loving tribute to the impact the group has had on those who were there from the beginning up to present-day fans. The author--lucky girl!--is even pictured front and center in the iconic photo on the cover, a screaming thirteen-year-old fan holding a slightly misspelled sign: "Beat(l)es Please Stay Here 4-Ever".
Texts, interviews, and emails from writers, musicians, and fans such as Gay Talese, Roy Blount, Jr., Cyndi Lauper, DJ Cousin Brucie, Billy Joel, Lisa See, Bruce Springsteen, Renee Fleming and others comment on and interpret the cultural revolution that the Beatles and their music engendered.
Reading this collection brought back many fond memories for me as well as giving me insight into the group's musicianship and song-writing abilities. Although they were only together as a group a relatively short time, the Beatles' musical influence and popularity remain unchallenged. "And with a love like that, you know you should be glad."