American music changed dramatically with the arrival of the Beatles in New York City on February 7, 1964. Although the British boy band had tried to gain this country’s attention the year before with songs like “Love Me Do”, “From Me to You”, “Please Please Me”, and “She Loves You”, their music had gone nowhere once released throughout the United States. However, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy had shaken American teenagers and left them feeling depressed, hopeless, and in a state of absolute shock, disbelief, and fear. With their cheeky sense of humor and catchy, upbeat pop songs along with their unusual style of dress and mop-top haircuts parents disliked, the Beatles seemed to be just what American teenagers needed to return to a state of normalcy. By the time they played their latest song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, on the Ed Sullivan Show two days later (February 9, 1964), it was clear that the U.S was struck by British fever and the doors swung wide open for additional British groups and individual singers. Some of the groups and singers that followed in the Beatles’ success included: The Who, The Dave Clark Five, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Kinks, Petula Clark, The Zombies, The Swingin’ Blue Jeans, The Hollies, Manfred Mann, The Moody Blues, Lulu, The Mindbenders, The Searchers, The Troggs, Herman’s Hermits, Dusty Springfield, in addition to many, many others. For the next several years, these British musicians would dominate American music charts.
In a nod to the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion, the Katharine Brush Library has put up a display of materials about these music groups on the second floor. We invite you to scan one of the QR Codes with your smart phone to bring up one of the e-books we have in our collection on the topic, check out a hard copy book, or pick up a DVD about the Beatles! In the event that this is a topic of interest to you, we also want to mention that there is a Grammy Beatles special that will air on CBS stations on Sunday, February 9, 2014.
Throughout November, and most especially on the 22nd of this month, people all over the United States will come together to remember President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. The first Catholic and the youngest man ever elected president, John F. Kennedy is remembered for his charismatic personality and personal flaws as much as he is for his presidential accomplishments. In the three year period he was president, Kennedy sought peace at home and abroad, even going so far as to establish the Peace Corps with the intention of sending Americans all over the world on the mission of helping the needy. The 35th president of the United States is credited with diverting a nuclear war with the Soviet Union and removing missiles from Cuba. He signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. John F. Kennedy was committed to the space program and wanted to see a man on the moon, even though it did not happen until after his death. Under John F. Kennedy’s administration, laws were put into place ending segregation and he paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Kennedy also supported the early women’s rights movement, signing the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination against women with regard to workplace wages.
Over the next few weeks, the Katharine Brush Library will display books about John F. Kennedy and his presidency on the first floor. We encourage you to explore this unique time in history by reading one or more of these great books! There are several more upstairs, on the second floor of the library, and we will be happy to help you find one of those as well! The Dallas Morning News is running a year long series entitled JFK50 and is a great website worth checking out: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/jfk50/. There are some really great photos, videos, articles, and discussion sections for those who want to really immerse themselves in Kennedy material. You can also catch some new movies on television this month, from The National Geographic Channel’s Killing Kennedy special (airs on November 10th) to a CNN documentary entitled The Assassination of JFK (1963).