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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, on the 10 year anniversary of the release of Al Sussman’s book, ‘Changin’ Times: 101 Days That Shaped A Generation’, the world is still intrigued with the era of Kennedy’s Assassination and the Beatles/British Invasion.
Changin’ Times: 101 Days That Shaped A Generation
For most of us, 1963 was when America lost its youthful leader, as well as a certain amount of innocence. But it was also when, over in Britain, the making of a cultural tsunami was taking shape with the release of The Beatles‘ second album, With The Beatles, and what what would soon be called “England’s Phenomenal Pop Combo.”
The story of the New Frontier giving way to the British Invasion is thus inextricably intertwined in public memory. Sadness and loss were soon eclipsed by joy and exhilaration brought on by this novel act when they arrived in the states months later. On February 9, 1964, it is no exaggeration to say that America was once again united before their television sets in a way they hadn’t been since the awful events of the previous autumn—this time, for more positive reasons.
The Beatles’ debut on The Ed Sullivan Show was a watershed event that quite literally changed countless lives. But in the years since that momentous occasion, conventional wisdom has conflated the two events: the youth of America got over their grief when “these four youngsters from Liverpool” cheered them up with their exuberance and charm. It was as though without a national tragedy first occurring, the road to the group’s success and acceptance here might not have happened—at least not on the same hysterical scale.
As detailed in Changin’ Times: 101 Days That Shaped A Generation, pop culture historian Al Sussman challenges this media-fueled mythology, describing the cultural “British Invasion” already well underway before President Kennedy ever went to Texas. Likewise, the notion that the December 1963 success of The Singing Nun’s “Dominique,” chalked up to a mourning country in no mood for rock ‘n’ roll, is belied by The Kingsmen’s inscrutable “Louie Louie” simultaneously dominating local markets.
Changin’ Times takes you on a journey back to a very singular moment of transformation in American History—for a generation, and for the world as well. Sussman leaves no cultural touchstone unturned, revealing how, in Dylan’s words, “the times they are a-changin’” was no overstatement.
Al Sussman is the Executive Editor of Beatlefan Magazine, a publication that has been chronicling the lives and careers of the Beatles since 1979. He is also a member of the generation that was transformed by the “Big Bang” of the Beatles’ appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
Sussman began writing about the Beatles in the fall of 1968, as a town newspaper columnist, before contributing to Sounds Fine magazine in the mid-1970s, where he wrote a “Collectors’ Q&A” column. In 1979, he became a contributor to Beatlefan Magazine, and he has been with the magazine ever since.
Sussman is a highly respected Beatles expert, and he has written extensively about the group. He has also interviewed many of the Beatles’ associates, including John Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird, and Paul McCartney’s brother, Mike McGear.
In addition to his work with Beatlefan Magazine, Sussman is also a member of the Fest for Beatles Fans, an annual event that celebrates the Beatles. He has also worked as a radio analyst for ASCAP.
Sussman is a passionate Beatles fan, and his work has helped to keep the group’s legacy alive, and his insights and expertise are appreciated by fans all over the world.
Find more from Al Sussman now:
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