Monday, March 20, 2006
A "Really Big Shewww" in a Really Small Room
Here's one photo I'd love to know more about. This has the appearance of an unlikely meeting of the minds... perhaps it's an early "Battle of the Bands" with Ed Sullivan serving as referee between The Beatles and Peter, Paul & Mary. As a fan of both folk music and the Fab Four, my curiosity is whetted.
Clearly this is February 1964, either before or after the Sullivan broadcast of February 9; the one that shattered audience records and even led Rev. Billy Graham to break a lifetime's rule and watch the tube on the Sabbath. Perhaps it's Valentine's Day, on which the Beatles would give two concerts at Carnegie Hall. Did P,P&M attend one (or both) of those, sensing it would be at least as momentous as the one the Weavers gave there in 1955?
And what's with the body language? This pic is wallowing in it! Is Paul McCartney trying to give Mary Travers a not-so-subtle suggestion for later on? Mary, meanwhile, is deep in conversation with Ringo... judging by her hands, perhaps she's querying about the percussive use of clapping in "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Peter Yarrow, hand on chin, is focused on Sullivan, as if to even acknowledge the four Liverpool lads would be beneath his dignity. Meanwhile, Noel Paul Stookey seems to be on his knees. Is he worshipping at the Merseybeat altar, or was that the only way to get him into the shot? Maybe he's just envying their hair. As for John Lennon, I like to think that he's asking the photog to take Ed, Peter and Paul and cruise around Central Park for about an hour.
Perhaps the five living participants (six, depending on who the photographer is) might have more valid observations about this event. If so, that's what the comments section is for.