Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Lennon speak to reporters after arriving at John F. Kennedy Airport on February 7, 1964
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
Fifty years ago, a milestone in music history: The Beatles stepped onto American soil on February 7th, 1964. Two days later they would perform on "The Ed Sullivan Show," before an audience of 73 million Americans. It launched the group to superstardom.
You can make the argument that the soundtrack of America forever changed with the arrival of John, Paul, George and Ringo; four British lads from Liverpool. It also helped usher in a cultural tidal wave of change on so many fronts. We caught up with two local men who know all about the Beatles' impact on the world and here at home.
"95.7, the greatest hits of all-time. And Bobby Ray live as we celebrate 50 years since the Beatles set foot on our shores. Here's one of my favorites from the lads, "Let It Be." (MUSICAL LYRICS: "When I find myself in times of trouble..." Here inside the 95.7 control room, long-time disc jockey Bobby "Ray" Cook couldn't help but 'wax philosophical' on the Beatles, as he spoke to us during a short break.
Cook is the first to tell you he was actually born the year that the Beatles stepped off the plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and into the history books. But, he described to us his thoughts whenever he watches the footage of the 'Fab Four' getting off that plane. "When you see them coming off that plane it's like, 'this is the beginning, you know. We were embroiled in a lot as a nation from that point on. And, that was kind of a starting point."
Cook says everything about the Beatles, from their unique sound, to their equally unique appearance for the time, influenced other Americans, which ultimately changed how people lived their lives. "They probably made it easier for people like me, for people like Eric Clapton and for people like the Stones to be the renegades and the bad boys; let their hair grow out and put their finger up to the establishment," smiled Cook.
"These rock artists come and go. But the Beatles changed rock history. They actually changed the way we listen to music," said John Matthews, who owns the Campus Collectibles record store next to Centenary College in Shreveport. He boasts a big collection of Beatles records, which he says still sell very well.
And back at the radio station, Cook said it's the music itself which will endure. "The Beatles have influenced everybody. Everybody loves the Beatles and the Beatles will be on the radio as long as there is radio, or any other medium to broadcast music."
Starting at 7 p.m. Central time Sunday night, February 9th, CBS will air "The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles." It's a two-hour TV special, featuring current top artists covering the songs performed by the Beatles on that historic night and through the years, as well as footage from that landmark Sunday evening, 50 years ago.