Like a million plus other households, Beatlemania definitely swept through our home. My sisters saw them on the Ed Sullivan show, and records by The Beatles began coming into the house. “She Loves You” on 45, “Meet The Beatles” on LP etc.
Took a while, as this was the first contemporary ‘mania’ that I had encountered – but I eventually wanted my own Beatles records. It was enough for our house that my sisters wanted Beatles records – being the runt of the litter, I came to it a bit later on. The first Beatles LP I motivated the purchase of was the US Capitol LP “Something New” – odd title, as it was not ‘new’ but cobbled together from records that had already been released! I think this record came from a grocery store – somewhere that no longer exists, long ago torn down.
My brother was also buying Beatles albums. I believe he worked as a dish-washer at a Swedish restaurant in downtown Long Beach to get his LP money. In a few short years, he would enlist in the US Air Force. It was my brother that introduced me to imported LP’s – I have no idea how he found out about them.
“Are your hands clean?” was what he asked me, before handing me his British LP of “Sgt. Peppers” to examine. It was shiny, unlike the US LP of it that my sisters had. I obviously did not comprehend that it was manufactured in England – just that it looked very different. Flimsy? Yeah, but aesthetically appealing – it was covered in laminate, “Clarifoil”?
The discussion of records from England might first have been conducted between my brother and myself when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I was told that records from England were “better”, without much (if any) qualification. They just were! He had other British records, mostly by The Rolling Stones (which we will cover next week).
As I was a child, I gravitated towards the 45’s that The Beatles were releasing – hey, they were cheaper than any LP! This was th age of shopping in ‘discount stores’ – Cal Store, White Front, Zody’s…eventually ending up at Wallach’s Music City, where any record in print could be ordered (if it was still in the order book / Phonolog).
I don’t remember what my second Beatles LP was! Maybe “Sgt. Peppers” (Capitol version, unfortunately) or maybe even “Magical Mystery Tour”? But certainly by the time of the end of The Beatles run – it was de rigeur to try and buy whatever Beatles LP’s were around.
I remember riding my bike to Wallach’s Music City in September, 1969 – to get “Abbey Road” on (or near) the day of release. It was inordinately expensive, as I recall – a list price of $6.98, to everything else being mostly $4.98. Somehow, we figured out “$1 off” as a new release, and with a “$1 off” coupon – it was about the cost of a regular stereo LP. Ah, the stuff we had to do to feed the nascent record collector beast!