News Stories / Beatles Always A Hit


By Mark Howell

That American media has gotten gobsmacked over the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first arrival on our shores is no surprise considering that a full 40 percent of the entire U.S. population watched the group live on the Ed Sullivan show on Feb. 9, 1964.


Which far exceeds the number of Britons able to tune in their TVs to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II just a decade earlier (speaking of which, our family had to watch it upside down, so primitive were the sets at that time).




Current music stats: British music acts now sell one in eight records in the U.S., according to a Los Angeles ratings company called Q Scores. Forty-four years after they broke up, the Beatles remain the most popular group in U.S. history, known by 86 percent of Americans, claims Q Scores’ marketing poll.




Beyoncé, whose self-titled latest album has become her fifth consecutive No. 1 in the country, is known by 86 percent of Americans but liked by only 16 percent. The Beatles, says the poll, are trusted by 29 percent.




The late John Lennon remains the best-known pop name in America; his familiarity score remains at 96 percent. Paul McCartney is known by 82 percent of Americans and viewed positively by 23 percent, just slightly ahead of the late George Harrison, who’s trusted for his “spiritual values.”




Led Zeppelin are at No. 5 on the Q Score music list and the Rolling Stones are at No. 25.




The Q Scores company also reveals that Sir Sean Connery, 83, is still the most revered British actor in the U.S.




A new book from Little Brown, “All These Years,” by Mark Lewisohn, reveals new information on the awful death of John Lennon’s mother, Julia. In July 1958, an off-duty Liverpool policeman named Eric Clague, a learner driver at the time, knocked down Julia, just 44, outside Lennon’s home. Friends and neighbors saw it happen and she died instantly from internal wounds. There was no proof that Clague was drunk, but Lennon certainly thought so and said so. And that belief would color his view of the police and the “establishment” for the rest of his life.




Back at art college, his behavior and his outrageous impressions and coruscating put-downs even of close friends became more and more disturbing. For months, he kept the death of his mother to himself; the hurt was raw and ultimately enduring. (The song “My Mummy’s Dead” and the line “Mother, you had me / But I never had you” come from his 1970s album with the Plastic Ono Band).




During John Lennon’s radical years with Yoko Ono in New York City, where he performed a concert in support of Detroit activist John Sinclair who was serving a 10-year sentence for possession of two joints of marijuana, the FBI under President Nixon’s orders became frantic in its efforts to bust him for drugs. A second drug conviction would mean the end of the outspoken Beatle’s green-card ambitions.




Another new book, “The Walrus and the Elephants: John Lennon’s years of Revolution” by James A. Mitchell, reveals how spectacularly incompetent the agency, despite all its stakeouts and phone-taps, had become in its efforts to make a case for his deportation.




“Lennon was, in fact, smoking so much weed they could have picked him up any time… The agency instead distributed a poster to local law enforcement agencies that contained all Lennon’s personal details but included a picture of David Peel, a New York musician then best known for his album, “The Pope Smokes Dope.”





The Way We Live Now: Federal laws do not prevent the blind from owning guns, the issue to be decided locally on a state-by-state basis.




Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), the Connecticut poet who wrote “The Idea of Order in Key West”— and, too, “The Emperor of Ice Cream” — never learned to drive. He composed his poems as he walked the two-mile route from his home in Hartford’s West End to his office, where he was vice president of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company. His route is now memorialized with 24 markers that quote his poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”




There is enough salt in the oceans of the world to cover all the continents with a layer 500 feet thick.




Quote for the Week:


Chaos is a friend of mine.”


Bob Dylan


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