The Beatles Mystique  by Rosemary McKittrick

Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.”—John Lennon

Friendship and a love of music brought the Beatles together in 1957.  That spark ignited a fire storm and the world was never the same.  It was an era of restlessness.  That much was clear.  A catalyst was in order.  And that’s where the Beatles came in. 

“They’re a passing phase, symptoms of the uncertainty of the times and the confusion about us.”
— Rev. Billy Graham

No frills, no armor.  They simply addressed the world with truth in their lyrics and filled the gap.  

And it wasn’t just a teenage thing.  Even people’s grandparents loved the music.  How do you explain that?   

“I think people who truly can live a life in music are telling the world, 'You can have my love, you can have my smiles. Forget the bad parts, you don't need them. Just take the music, the goodness, because it's the very best, and it's the part I give most willingly,'" said George Harrison.

The Beatles were the possibility of music going forward.  And they were coaxing us to take a closer look at how we actually lived our lives. 

They were already the biggest entertainment phenomena the Brits had ever seen. But no English rock band had ever come close to capturing the American music scene. 

And on the plane flight to America on that chilly February day in 1964 George Harrison had been the only Beatle who had even visited America. 

“They don’t know us Harrison said about the trip.  It’s going to be hard.”

Looking out the plane window at Kennedy airport as it landed The Beatles figured all the commotion outside had to be for somebody else.  Not them.

The group was in America to appear on the Ed Sullivan show.  Sullivan was paying them half of what normal headliners got.  Nothing compared to Elvis.   

More than 70 million viewers were on board for the Liverpool boys and their fateful February 9 appearance, 60 percent of all American television viewers.  It was the largest audience for a non-news event in television history. The group was on stage for 13 and a half minutes performing five songs.

Everything shifted right there.  The 60s movement was on.  And the news media mostly missed it.

“Asexual and homely.”  “The anti-barbershop quartet.”  “An infestation.”  “A fine mass placebo.”  On and on and on went the reviews.

“They’re a passing phase, symptoms of the uncertainty of the times and the confusion about us,” said the Reverend Billy Graham.

Despite all the negative chatter the Beatles went on to become the preeminent pop group in the world, a cultural phenomenon of unrivaled scope. The four Brits were leaving their mark on history in a profound way.

“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer.  It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility,” John Lennon said. 

The Beatles were all about possibilities.

“And, in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.” ― Paul McCartney, “The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics

On April 26-27, Heritage Auctions featured a selection of Beatles memorabilia in it Entertainment auction.

The Beatles

Picture Sleeve; “I Want to Hold Your Hand;” Beatles signed; 16 ½ inches by 16 ½ inches;  $20,000.

Please Please Me album; Beatles signed; obtained by British newspaper on Oct. 31. 1964;  $40,625.   

Beatles Meet the Beatles Stereo LP; First album; Beatles signed; $56,250.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; fan club poster; Beatles Signed; 30 inches by 20 inches;  $59,375.

The Fab Four; inside cover of a foldover photo album; containing early glossy; Beatles signed; Feb. 9, 1964; 12 inches by 10 inches;  $125,000. 


Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller.  For 26 years she has brought the world of collecting to life in her column.  Her website is a mother lode of information about art, antiques and collectibles.  Rosemary received her education in the trenches working as a professional appraiser.

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