40 FAB YEARS! - 40 FAB IDEAS!
SUGGESTION OF STORY IDEAS FOR THE ANNIVERSARY


The Beatles' first visit to America lasted just two weeks. They shook the USA and dominated media coverage throughout those 14 days - and for the next few years. The Beatles defined the 1960's - and helped change the face of music, TV, movies, pop-culture, fashion, hair, youth attitudes - and the social and political fabric of the world.

It was also the start of a love affair that has defied the laws of celebrity physics. Unlike most artists and entertainers who fade from popularity after a period of time (especially if they cease to be active) and then perhaps enjoy a revival many years later (eg Tony Bennett) - the Beatles have been evergreen in the public affection. They have never gone out of fashion. And they are still selling vast quantities of CDs, DVDs, books, merchandise etc. And today's kids - born long after the Beatles broke up - now rival their baby-boomer parents in their enthusiasm for the group and its products.

There are multiple aspects of this Beatles 40th anniversary to cover. This document offers a selection of 40 ideas. We are able to provide video, photos and interviewees to assist you.


POP-CULTURAL THEMES

Celebrity Soundbites - What do stars remember about the first time they saw the Beatles?

The Music Revolution - Most major baby-boomer musicians cite seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show as the 'Big Bang' of popular music. The explosion that unleashed the music revolution that changed the 1960's. Many musicians (eg Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel) decided to become rock performers because of that show. Others (such as the Beach Boys and the Byrds) changed their musical direction to follow the path the Beatles were blazing.

Launch Of The British Invasion - The Beatles always remained the kings - but after they successfully stormed the American beaches - they were immediately followed by the British Invasion of pop stars including the Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Kinks, The Dave Clark Five, Herman's Hermits, Freddie & The Dreamers, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, Peter & Gordon and many more.

Championing Black American Music - The Beatles arrived in the US and evangelized about their love for black American music and how it inspired them. Citing rock 'n' roll pioneers such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard (unfashionable names by 1964) and many contemporary Motown performers.

The First Boy Band! - Long before 'N Sync and the Back Street Boys. Before the Jackson Five and The New Kids On The Block - the Beatles were the FIRST kids on the block! And the charm, looks and humor of the early (1963-1965 era) Beatles still weave a magical spell on today's young girls...

How TV changed after the Beatles - The Beatles' appearance on Ed Sullivan was a massive earthquake in the television world. The developments led to increasing exposure for contemporary music and eventually to the creation of MTV.

The Hair Revolution - How American males went from crewcuts to Beatle bangs and long hair

The Clothes Revolution - The Beatles changed the way Americans dressed. Boys wanted to dress like the Beatles. Girls wanted to dress like the English girls lucky enough to catch the Beatles' eyes.

The Revolution In Photography & Design - Celebrity photography prior to the Beatles was primarily controlled and posed. The spontaneous style of the Beatles demanded a new approach. Robert Freeman became the Beatles' favorite photographer and designer - creating five consecutive album jackets for them. Freeman was the official photographer of the first US visit.

Huge Impact Of The Humor Of The Beatles - It wasn't just the Beatles' music and haircuts that endeared them to Americans. Their cheeky sense of humor and spontaneous self-deprecating wit had a massive impact - even on hard-bitten cynical reporters. As seen in their first press conference at Kennedy Airport - just moments after they landed. Just six months later, serious film critics raved over the comedic skills they displayed in their movie debut "A Hard Day's Night" - comparing them favorably with the Marx Brothers.


PERSONAL STORIES OF PARTICIPANTS & CLOSE WITNESSES

Beatle Sister - George Harrison's sister Louise was living in the US in 1963/4 and was invited to spend that historic first week with her brother in New York and Washington. She has great stories about her experiences in the eye of the Beatles hurricane - and also about George's two-week vacation visiting her in Benton, Ilinois in September 1963.

Beatle-For-A-Day! - Vince Calandra is the 29-year-old production assistant on the Ed Sullivan Show who had to step in for George Harrison at camera rehearsals when the guitarist was bed-ridden with strep throat. Wonderful stories from Vince Calandra - a Sicilian-American from Brooklyn who became a Beatle for the day!

The Beatles' Favorite Photographer - Robert Freeman worked with the Beatles between 1963-1966 and was greatly responsible for their iconic visual image. He photographed and designed five consecutive album jackets for them - from "With The Beatles" to "Rubber Soul." He also created the title sequences for their first two films. He was the official photographer of the first US visit.

The American Who Finally Signed The Beatles - A staff member at Capitol Records had rejected the Beatles four times. Finally the Beatles manager Brian Epstein telephoned Capitol's president - Alan Livingston. Livingston was convinced by Epstein and took the plunge. Livingston - and his wife - actress Nancy Olson (Oscar-nominated for "Sunset Boulevard") both have great stories to tell.

Booking The Beatles For Carnegie Hall - New York promoter Sid Bernstein presciently approached Beatles manager Brian Epstein in late 1963 to book the Beatles for a February 1964 Carnegie Hall concert at a time when they were virtually unheard of in America - and before Capitol Records had committed to the promotional effort that launched the Beatles. Bernstein's actions and his choice of the prestigious Carnegie Hall - greatly contributed to the Beatles' breakthrough. Bernstein subsequently promoted their landmark Shea Stadium concerts in 1965 and 1966.

Publicizing The Beatles - Tony Barrow - the Beatles' longest-serving publicist - represented the Beatles in the UK from 1962-1968. He played a key role in jump-starting the Beatles invasion. He liaised with the UK bureaus of CBS & NBC - which both ran stories about Beatlemania on US TV - as a prelude to the Beatles first US visit. He accompanied the Beatles to the USA as press agent on their 1965 & 1966 tours

The NY Deejays Who Broke The Beatles - Greatly contributing to their warp-speed success was the airplay by iconic New York radio deejays "Cousin Brucie" Morrow and Scott Muni.

The Beatles Tailor! - The Beatles iconic suits were created by father & son tailors. The son tells all.

Documenting the Beatles' trip on film - Documentary maker Albert Maysles and his late brother David (who together made "Gimme Shelter" in 1969) were engaged by Beatles manager Brian Epstein to film the entire visit for US & UK TV. Albert Maysles recalls the experience.

First Person To Welcome The Beatles To America - Charlie Andrews was the Pan Am Passenger Service Rep. selected to board the plane at JFK and bring the Beatles onto US soil. Accompanied them for their first two hours in USA. Seen on all photos & newsreel of the Beatles' arrival. She still has the outfit she wore to greet them in 1964. And she can (and will!) still fit into it for interviews!


MEDIA & SOCIETAL THEMES

The Speed Of Their Breakthrough - On Christmas Day 1963 very few people in America had even heard of the Beatles. Only six weeks later a record 73 MILLION Americans tuned in to watch them on "The Ed Sullivan Show." That was FORTY PERCENT of the US population. (Equivalent in today's population to an audience of 116 MILLION!) They sold several million records within a month. By the first week of April 1964 the top five records in the US charts were all Beatles singles. Unprecedented and unequalled. A variety of factors contributed to this - Beatles historians can explain it all.

Post-JFK Healing - How America's need to heal after the JFK assassination speeded up the inevitable breakthrough of the Beatles. The symbiotic effect on young people and on the US media.

How The News Media Contributed To Beatlemania - America's media became infatuated with the Beatles from the very beginning. Print, radio and TV outlets gave saturation coverage to the Beatles. Even the reserved New York Times devoted no less than TEN major news stories, reviews and features to the phenomenon of Beatlemania in the weeks BEFORE the Beatles arrived in the US.

Photographing The Beatles For News Media - As America fell in love with The Beatles - the group became the center of intense focus by news photographers intrigued with their mischievous antics and what seemed like outrageously long hair. Photo-journalist Harry Benson covered the first US visit

The Surprising Popularity of The Beatles Among Today's Youngsters - Even though the Beatles broke up 34 years ago in 1970 - the group is almost as popular among today's kids as it is with their baby-boomer parents. Over 40% of sales of recent Beatles releases such as "Anthology," "Let It Be… Naked" and their hits compilation "1" - were to people UNDER the age of 30. Over half the attendees at US Beatles fan conventions were born AFTER the group disbanded.


FINANCIAL & LEGAL THEMES

Money! That's What I Want! - The Beatles outsold Elvis and every entertainer. 34 years after their break-up the Beatles are still among the highest earners in the entertainment world. How & why…

The Courtroom Battles over the Beatles - Anticipation of the millions of dollars that might be made from the Beatles resulted in there being no less than THREE major lawsuits being fought simultaneously in American courts BEFORE the Beatles even arrived in the US. In the three weeks immediately before the Beatles' arrival - four record companies and music publishers tussled in courtrooms in New York and Chicago. Beatles author Bruce Spizer - who has documented these legal battles in his definitive new history "The Beatles Are Coming!" is a tax lawyer by day - and can explain the fascinating story in simple layman terms.

The $10 Million Cottage Industry - The evergreen popularity of The Beatles has enabled one entrepreneur to launch a very sizable cottage industry. Mark Lapidos produced the world's first Beatles fan convention in New York in 1974. In the 30 years since then he has produced 98 more conventions in ten American cities and college campuses and is now preparing his 100th Beatles celebration for April 2004. In 1978 he launched a small side business - offering Beatles tee-shirts by mail. That enterprise has turned into the world's largest Beatles mail order business - with Lapidos offering hundreds of licensed products to thousands of Beatles fans. The business has already grossed $10 million.


HUMAN INTEREST THEMES

Stories From Backstage At "The Ed Sullivan Show" - Production Assistant Vince Calandra and Associate Director John Moffitt worked on all four "Ed Sullivan Show" appearances by the Beatles. Both also worked on the 1965 Shea Stadium concert - which was produced for TV by Ed Sullivan.

How Walter Cronkite Triggered The Beatles' US Success - A series of outwardly unconnected events - each having a domino effect - led to the Beatles' breakthrough in America. The elements include the tragedy of the JFK assassination, a key decision by Walter Cronkite, a letter by a 15-year-old schoolgirl, a persistent radio deejay, a helpful airline stewardess and an adventurous record company executive! Without those elements - the Beatles' first Capitol record would have been released three weeks later than it was - and it is highly doubtful that it could have been #1 in time to generate the massive crowds that welcomed the Beatles at Kennedy Airport or the 73 million Americans who tuned in to watch them on TV.

Two Of Us: The Husband & Wife Team Who Live, Breathe & Work Beatles - New Yorker Mark Lapidos met his wife-to-be Carol in 1975. For their second date he took her to the second-ever Beatles convention he produced. Within a year Mark & Carol had married and they became a producing team - starting with the first-ever Beatles fan convention held in Chicago - in 1977. Having launched the mail-order wing of their operation in 1978 - the couple have been working together on their Beatles business ever since. They have also produced two daughters - Michelle (19) and Jessica (15) - who have helped the family business by working at the Beatles conventions as youthful helpers from a very young age.

"Taxman" By Day - "Paperback Writer" By Night! - Bruce Spizer - the respected Beatles historian and author of four acclaimed Beatles books - who has written the definitive new history of the Beatles' American breakthrough ("The Beatles Are Coming!") holds a dark secret! While he is a "Paperback Writer" by night - he labors as a "Taxman" (well - a tax attorney) by day! The 48-year-old native of New Orleans juggles the worlds of the Beatles and tax law. His training as a tax attorney has actually been instrumental in his ability to research and solve long-shrouded mysteries in the Beatles' history.

The Producer Behind The Ed Sullivan Show DVDs - The man behind the release of the new DVD "The Ed Sullivan Shows Featuring The Beatles" is noted director/producer Andrew Solt. He purchased the Ed Sullivan Show library from the Sullivan family in 1990 - and it was he who took the crucial decision that the best way to release the material featuring the Beatles was in its original format rather than merely in a compilation. He undertook a search to find the highest quality tapes of all four original shows and then had them digitally-restored for DVD release. Solt's previous Beatles-related work includes the acclaimed 1988 feature documentary "Imagine: John Lennon" and "Gimme Some Truth" - the Grammy-winning documentary about the making of the "Imagine" album.

The Forgotten Hero Of The Beatles' Success - The late Brian Epstein is the under-sung hero of the events celebrated during the 40th anniversary. The Beatles manager's prescience, flair and passion were directly responsible for their US breakthrough. Though the group had no US record deal at the time - he convinced Ed Sullivan to give the Beatles an unprecedented three consecutive appearances on his show. He even persuaded Sullivan to give them headline billing. He then talked Capitol Records (which had already rejected the group four times) into signing the group. He also insisted that the label spend the then-staggering sum of $40,000 to promote their new artists (equivalent in 2004 terms to $230,000.) Beatles scholar Martin Lewis is an expert on Brian Epstein. Lewis arranged the recent re-publication of Epstein's 1964 autobiography ("A Cellarful Of Noise") and wrote its Companion Narrative. He also spearheads the campaign to have Epstein inducted into the Non-Performers' Section of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Lewis initiated and runs the official BrianEpstein.com website.


FUN IDEAS

The World's First Blog! (web-log) - Story about a brand-new website which is presented as if the internet had been invented in the early 1960's! A 15-year-old schoolgirl in the New York of 1964 writes a daily blog about the Beatles - allowing readers to experience the Beatles explosion from the perspective of a fan from 40 years ago… www.TheBeatlesAreComing.com

Where Are Those Screaming Fans Today?! - A search for some of the 4,000 scream-agers who attended the Beatles' three Ed Sullivan Show appearances. 728 lucky fans saw the first show. 3,500 fans were in the Miami hotel ballroom for the second show. Another 728 saw the third show.

Dr. Joyce Brothers Analyzes The Beatles! - Prior to their arrival the famous psychologist had written a widely-read critique of the Beatles. But the day after their Ed Sullivan Show debut she met and interviewed them in the style of an analytical session. She became an instant convert…

The Food That Fueled The Beatles! - British cuisine is often the butt of jokes. Yet the distinctive Liverpool food that fueled the Beatles' rise to fame has never been given proper credit! "Jam Butties" (a single slice of white bread, butter and strawberry jam folded together) and "chip butties" (the same as a jam buttie - but with hot French fries instead of jam!) - and endless cups of tea inspired them!

The Fan Frenzy In NY, DC & Miami - In New York - thousands of teenagers braved freezing weather to greet the Beatles at JFK, outside the Plaza Hotel, Ed Sullivan's Studio 50 and Carnegie Hall. In Washington DC crowds of fans congregated at the Washington Coliseum. In Miami the Beatles were swamped at the airport, the Deauville Hotel and throughout a week-long beach vacation.

Why The Fab FORTY? - It's the FORTIETH anniversary of the Beatles invasion. FORTY PERCENT is the percentage of the US population that watched the Beatles TV debut in 1964. FORTY PERCENT of purchasers of Beatles product today were born after the Beatles disbanded. And this is the FORTIETH story idea… (but who's counting?!)


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