The Historical Impact of the Fab Four

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Kenneth Womack, PhD, Beatles Historian and Dean, School of Humanities & Social Services, Monmouth University, who talks about the impact of the Fab Four.

9/5/19 #2240






"Welcome to One on One. I'm Steve Adubato. This is a great show to host because you meet the most interesting people who do the most interesting things, and Dr. Ken Womack is no exception. He is a historian of a little band called the...? The Beatles. From Liverpool, right? That's right. John, Paul, George, Ringo. And he's an author, and he's the Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University. Good to see you. Good to see you too, Steve. Like so many others, you grew up... a little kid... in Newark, New Jersey... Beatles come to Shae Stadium what year? 1965 and 1966. They did it twice? They did it twice. August 15th, each year. Okay. Biggest difference between those two visits? In terms of reaction, response? Ah. By... By the way, did they come into LaGuardia or JFK? They came to JFK in 1964. But by '66, they were on the wrong end of things, you know. They were seeing attendance dwindle by 1966, believe it or not. What?! That's right. Yeah. By the way, the Beatles were in existence '62 to '69? Correct. In '66 things are going south? It was a rough year. You know, it was, uh... John Lennon called it the Jesus Christ Tour. It's when he famously made his remark, and the United States responded in a... in a rather dark way. Tell folks what he said. He said, "The Beatles are bigger than Jesus." He sure did. And what he was really referring to... and I'm not just his apologist here, but what he was really referring to was the fact that they had become so big that they were beginning to dwarf other parts of culture. Did a significant part of our culture resent the Beatles' success? And also because they were not homegrown here in the United States? I don't know that that's true. I think we had become Anglophiles of a certain kind and maybe even... to use the term that the Liverpudlians use - "Scouserphiles". We love their accents. I don't know that there was any kind of blowback. If there was, it was that moment. And it was fairly brief, as history shows us. So it's interesting, during this period of time... culture is often defined by the times and vice versa. That's right. You had social upheaval. You had a whole range of... the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. You had assassinations of John Ken... excuse me, not only of John Kennedy, but Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Did this impact the Beatles' influence? It does and it doesn't. So John Lennon used to like to say that the Beatles were in the crow's nest on the ship. They led the generation in many many ways, but they were in the crow's nest. So they were often..."