December 20, 2007

It All Starts With the Songs. Those Great Songs.

I had Beatlemania when I was little. It was years after the fact and I was maybe 5 or 6 years old, but from the moment I first heard 8 Days a Week, I was hooked. My friend and I used to take wooden tennis raquets, hold them like guitars and play along to that and I Wanna Hold Your Hand, with a little Can't Buy Me Love thrown in. He always pretended to be John. I pretended to be Ringo. I had no idea Ringo was the drummer, I just thought his name was cool. To this day I have no idea what we were listening to. 45s? LPs? An 8-track? And if it was an LP or an 8-track, what album? A hits compilation of some kind? The songs I remember singing are not all on the same album. Or any album in some cases. I would love to know.

Some years later, my family and I frequented Chuck E. Cheese. In one dining room that had no video games there were 4 large, animatronic dogs dressed as the Beatles on Ed Sullivan only in red sequined jackets. Put some quarters in a machine on the wall and an Ed-Sullivanesque voice introduced The Beagles, who sprang to life and pretended to play instruments and sing as early Beatles tunes played. I was sorely disappointed when, after only a year or so, the Beagles were replaced by The Beach Bowsers. (As you might guess, they were the exact same dogs, just in different clothes). I never took to Help Me Rhonda and Surfin USA the way I did to All My Loving.

Even now I feel like getting up grabbing a fake guitar and belting out I Saw Her Standing There. Which is really the difference between Bealtemania and most of the phenomena Kid Seed has tried to compare it too...with Beatlemania, it all started with those great, simple songs. It was about a lot more but it was always the songs that roped you in. Or so it seemed to me jumping around in my friend's basement and strumming my tennis raquet and dreaming of being Ringo Starr.


polchic said...

AYM, did your Beagles stage at Chuck E Cheese have a set of seats that went up and down in front of them? Ours did. The cool kids would actually straddle-stand two seats and try to balance as the stools rose and fell.

I never did. I was afraid I'd get in trouble.

I, too, mourned the passing of the Beagles and introduction of the Beach Boys theme. It coincided with the abrupt change in the game room too - from great pinball and arcade games to the bogus pre-school skill level, ticket spewing "games" that currently exist.


TheAngryYoungMan said...

Yeah, it did. I totally forgot about those seats popping up and down until you mentioned them.