I am in the middle — 57% to be exact, according to my Kindle Keyboard — of reading the first volume of Mark Lewisohn’s exhaustive and outstanding biography, “Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years.” Lewisohn is a Beatles insider, but he does not waver from revealing all of the unflattering, sometimes ugly, nitty-gritty details of their upbringings and struggles to succeed. He refutes numerous Beatles legends, including the true origin of the haircut, which it turns out was not an Astrid creation, and it’s obvious that Ringo replacing Pete Best was inevitable, long before it actually happened.
CBS is giving full coverage to the 50th anniversary of the Beatles arriving in America. In a way the anniversary belongs to CBS, because of the Ed Sullivan Show of course, but the fact is that NBC News beat out CBS by a matter of a few days in TV coverage of Beatlemania in England. As always, Bruce Spizer is the authoritative source for American Beatles-related facts.
NBC was the first American television network to run a story on the Beatles. The network’s “Huntley-Brinkley Report” ran a four-minute story on Monday, November 18, 1963, at 6:53 p.m., with Edwin Newman doing the voice-over of film of the group and its fans. This was followed by CBS-TV’s five-minute story, which first ran on the “CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace” on November 22, 1963. The story was rebroadcast on the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” on December 10, 1963. There is no record of ABC ever running a story of the Beatles until 1964. The concert footage used by the networks was taken at the group’s November 16, 1963, performance at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens. The significance of these television broadcasts is detailed on pages 60-61 and 82-83 of “The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America.”
If not for the assassination of JFK, it seems likely that the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” would have carried Alexander Kendrick’s rather condescending report from the London bureau. Only the audio remains of the NBC report from November 18, 1963.
This is the full Kendrick report from CBS. The interview by Josh Darsa caught the Beatles in a subdued and contemplative mood, which makes Kendrick’s attitude seem all the more ridiculous.
So the reason for the title of this post is an interview with Mark Lewisohn on MSNBC’s “The Cycle.” I can’t stand this silly bunch of hyperactive bubble-brained hosts, but Lewisohn is worth hearing.