Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted December 7, 2022

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The Next Big Thing

by Terry Broxson

I remember it well, June 1963. I just finished my junior year in high school. Bryce, my best friend, and I were opining about the exciting times in which we lived. Bryce and I were members of the baby boomers born just after WWII.
"Can you believe all the things we have seen in our lifetime? We witnessed the birth of rock 'n' roll. We watched girls swoon over Elvis. We saw a Russian satellite, Sputnik, go into orbit. We saw John Glenn go into space and return."
"Terry, don't forget television and then color television. Just a few months ago, we almost saw the world blow up over some missiles in Cuba."
"It's a good thing we got Kennedy in the White House. You know he wants to land some guys on the moon in just a few years. What do you think is going to happen next?"
"I don't know, but it's going to be big."
A few months later, John Kennedy was assassinated. A few weeks after the world mourned the death of the American President, four lads from Liverpool, England, would take America and the world by storm.
The next big thing was here. Rock 'n' roll had a transformation. Teenagers were infected with Beatlemania. Their parents were convinced it was a transmutation caused by the music and the four young Englishmen. The parents knew this metamorphosis was not good.
The teenagers loved it. 
Before the Beatles, Elvis was King. There were rock bands like Bill Haley and the Comets, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and the Beach Boys. Motown had a stable of successful individuals and groups. There were also rock stars like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and The Everly Brothers.
But these fellas from Liverpool looked different, sounded different, acted different, and most importantly, girls loved Paul, John, George, and Ringo. Boys wanted to be like them. Garage bands started across the country. Guitars, drums, and musical equipment sales soared. 
No one disputed the fact that music and performers changed. In America, the tidal wave was referred to as the "British Invasion." Clothing and hairstyles became "Mod" almost overnight. Rock concerts became major events in big venues. World music tours were booked and sold out.
New American groups like The Turtles and The Doors emerged. Even the stodgy Boston Pops released an album Arthur Fielder, and the Boston Pops Play the Beatles.
The Beatles starred in a couple of movies. Kids all over America lined up to see them in theaters, young girls yelling and screaming just like they were live in concert. Their films gave rise to music videos. Album covers were now works of art. What Elvis did for the 45rpm record sales, the Beatles did for 33 lp albums.
A television show, The Monkees featuring three young Americans and one brit (Davy Jones), was a knockoff of the Beatles. The group became famous, and their music was successful. Micky Dolenz, a Monkee, once thanked Elvis for making rock 'n' roll popular and the Beatles for making it good. 
This next big thing was here to stay. 
As I write this story, I wonder if there are two seventeen-year-olds thinking about what the next big thing will be. Whatever it is, I bet it will be big too.


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