Fifty years ago music sensations the Beatles changed our world forever.
By: Lynne Harpst Koen
I was raised an only child in an ultra conservative household. I learned to appreciate all types of music from a very early age. My Dad was a professional musician, and Mom loved most types of music. On any given day our stereo would be blasting Perry Como, Sinatra, Andy Williams, All Things Classical, and on Saturdays, always Opera. It was the early 1960’s. There was one type of music never ever played in our household, and that was “Rock & Roll” I took classical piano lessons. I had no idea there was even such a thing as Rock music!
Then, in the summer of 1965, everything changed. I was sent to Honolulu to spend the summer with the family of my beloved babysitter, Pearl. Their family lived in Navy housing at Pearl Harbor. The atmosphere there was completely opposite from my tiny little life in Coronado. I was a very shy child, but I quickly became aware that this place was Camelot for kids! Pearl had two daughters. Her younger daughter Caroline was my age. Together, Caroline and I ran all over the place visiting families, hanging out at the beach, just being kids having fun. This new freedom was incredible! It was pretty close quarters there, so there wasn’t much privacy. Kids don’t care about things like that anyway. Everybody kept their windows open, and nobody locked their doors.
Every day, the older girls would be blasting their transistor radios. The music was wild. I loved walking down the streets hearing the fast, pounding drums and wild guitars. It was my very first taste of Rock! The music would echo off the buildings and I really couldn’t get enough. I started learning the names of some of the groups. There was one group in particular that all the girls were ultra crazy about-The Beatles! Whenever a Beatles song came on the radio, the already loud music would be turned up to the maximum limits. I learned the songs and sang along. I became a Beatles fan!
Then one day there was a huge commotion there in Navy housing. All the teenage girls were running around screaming hysterically, jumping up and down, hugging each other in excitement. The Beatles were coming to Honolulu! It really was a wild phenomenon, one that I’d never before seen or will ever see again. It was like these girls were possessed. The energy was so powerful! We little gals just watched from a safe distance, careful to keep out of the way. Fact of the matter is, The Beatles were not scheduled to come to Honolulu. You won’t find that last minute concert on any recorded docket. I think the spontaneity was definitely part of the whole frenzy. And a frenzy it was! It was the first time in my life I’d ever witnessed a “Crowd Mentality” I didn’t understand it then, but I certainly knew there was something extra special about this band. I could actually feel history in the making.
I feel so very blessed to have been at the right place at the right time. Whenever I think back to that incredible summer I still have instant recall of all that immense energy! Of course, once a Beatles fan, always a Beatles fan. They’re still my favorite band of all time. I feel like I had an extra special “initiation” to their music.