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97X Song Of The Daze: “I Want To Hold Your Hand” Was A Dividing Line

Publisher’s note: 97X Song of the Daze has been a Bedrock Sports Hawaii home page feature since the site began in May 2020. This is the first time it is posted in article format. An edited version of the following will also appear separately on the home page. “97X, Bam!, The Future of Rock and Roll” is the entertainment division of


I distinctly remember the first time I heard The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

It was definitely in the winter because I was downstairs in our playroom/TV room and there was no real chance of going to play outside. Too cold. It was a stay inside kind of feeling, normal for Massachusetts at that time of year.

I had just turned 4, and I base this on the fact that Google tells me that the song hit the U.S. airwaves on Jan. 18, 1964. And I’m almost 100 percent sure there was no radio downstairs, either, but I could hear whatever my mom had on the box upstairs.

But the song immediately made an impact on my preschool mind. It was upbeat, feel-good music, totally different than anything else I had heard before.

Click the photo to listen.

In later years, I was always confused when people told me that “She Loves You” and “Please, Please Me” came out before “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” And that is true, but in England only, apparently. I would have known for sure if I had heard those songs previously.

And then came hit after hit after hit after hit by the Beatles, and this was the new guard — or the beginning of what is commonly called “The British Invasion.” During the whole 1960s, any time somebody mentioned Elvis or Frank Sinatra, I would think, “Old fogey, parent-type stuff.” Just not for me and way out of date.

From “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Hard Day’s Night” to “Ticket to Ride” and “We Can Work It Out” to “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” to “Hey Jude” and “Get Back,” I listened joyfully.

But I’ll always look back at “I Want To Hold Your Hand” as the dividing line. Before that, songs were just in the background. This one made me sit up and take notice and think about music and make a choice to say, “I like this.”

And, of course, The Beatles went on to become possibly the greatest band ever.

As late as 2018, 23 percent of U.S. adults said “The Beatles” when asked to name the greatest rock and roll band of all-time, according to a Monmouth University poll.

Amazing longevity in the American collective consciousness. And part of the reason for that is the sheer abundance of great music — not just the hits — churned out by the band and in their solo careers.

I remember in the 1990s, an acquaintance tried to tell me that The Beatles were old-fashioned and pretty much good for not much more than elevator music.

Well, maybe for her.

I countered by giving her a mixed tape that had some of The Beatles’ heavier rock on it — such as “Helter Skelter” and “Revolution.”

I don’t think it convinced her of anything. Not everyone likes The Beatles, of course. That same Monmouth poll found that 8 percent of U.S. adults did not in 2018.

Well, count me in on the 92 percent who do. They’re too deep, melodic and invigorating to ignore.


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