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When the Beatles Brought Psychedelia to Prime Time | The Huffington Post

When the Beatles Brought Psychedelia to Prime Time | The Huffington Post

February 23
10:24 2017

On February 25, 1967, promotional films for the Beatles’ “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” debuted on ABC’s Hollywood Palace. Fans had never seen films like these before, and they hadn’t seen the Beatles look or sound like they did now—in full psychedelic splendor. Whether or not they liked the new look and sound, fans appreciated that the Beatles were “constantly changing,” which “kept them interesting.” A male Beatleness interviewee, born in ’53 recalled, “I was intrigued. I knew I was looking at a piece of art.”One of the most striking things about these films was that the Beatles had grown facial hair, which many fans, especially younger ones, did not like. One female fan, age eight at the time, felt “they weren’t lovable anymore.” Another female fan, age nine at the time, recalled: “The mood was different. Who were these Beatles? What happened to my brothers? I think I went through a brief mourning.”Several female fans, young teens at the time, described their look as “unattractive.” A female fan born in ’46, saw the band’s new look as “a statement that they were sympathetic to the movement and hippie culture.” Like the younger fans, she saw it as “a move away from their original cuteness,” but she wasn’t upset by it. To the contrary, politically involved young people now saw the Beatles as powerful, supportive allies.It would be four months before the Beatles’ drug use was widely known, but several fans “knew those songs were druggy.” Preteens were more likely to express “disappointment” about the band’s possible drug use, feeling that it was “wrong.” Older fans were less judgmental, though many said that at the time they found drugs personally “scary.”Young fans had strong reactions to these short films, especially “Strawberry Fields Forever.” A male fan born in ’61 remembers, “I liked both songs, but I ran out of the room terrified from ‘Strawberry Fields Forever.’ The whole thing was dissonant and strange and it scared me. It gave me the creeps; the loopy sound, the drums getting louder, it was cacophonous.”Those who heard “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the radio, without the film’s “nothing is real” imagery, also found it disturbing: “I was scared when I heard “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the car radio. My mom had to explain to me why I didn’t need to be scared of it,” recalled a male fan born in ’58.

Source: When the Beatles Brought Psychedelia to Prime Time | The Huffington Post

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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