If you remember the mid-sixties you may recall the big Beatles flap. In a print interview John Lennon was quoted as saying the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” It led to boycotts and Beatles-record burnings. It was all a bunch of nothing about nothing. A Salt Lake City disk jockey said, “We don't care about what a bunch of nuts are doing in the South...we’re still playing our Beatles records.”
Even in other conservative communities like mine the Beatles were essentially criticism-proof. Their popularity with their audience overwhelmed the religious opposition.
Even Paul got into the spirit of the thing.
A decade earlier there was a similar eruption from church groups, and even the local law in certain areas of the country, over Elvis’s early success. The trouble was over his bump-and-grind moves. I think if Elvis had not caused such loud and frenzied female reactions his gyrations would have been overlooked. Elvis’s style and music were incomprehensible to an older generation, but well understood by his teenage fans. I sat with a group of adults who scoffed at and scorned Elvis’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, while my 15-year-old cousin, Judy, sat in front of the television squealing, then collapsed in tears over the adults' derision of her idol. Me, I didn’t understand the Elvis appeal exactly — not the way Judy did, anyway — but I loved the music.
This first page is from Life in April, 1956, the rest of the pages are from an article from August, 1956 when the Elvis fireworks were exploding all over the world.
Copyright © 1956, 2013 Time-Life