My Story of How I Became A Fan

By: Kristi N. Zanker

Yep, this is my page dedicated to the Beatles. I know what you're thinking...not another page about them. Well, you are in for a surprise! This page will not have a biography, song list or anything of the usual things seen on other Beatle web pages.

The Beatles story has been told and retold for the past thirty years; it does not need to be repeated here. However, if you want to learn more about the Beatles story--check out The Beatles Anthology. It's definitely worth a look or two. :)

Instead of sharing the Beatles story with you, I will share mine. (now, now don't all run off at once!) :) Being 23 years old, I was not around to experience Beatlemania first hand. (Darn it!)The next few sections on this page will take you on a 'Magical Mystery Tour' of how I became a Beatles fan. (If you're still reading by this point) Enjoy! :)


'Twist and Shout'....

While growing up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, during the eighties, I knew three things about the Beatles. I knew of a group called the Beatles, they were broken up and one of them was dead. I knew about four songs as I grew older. They were 'I Want to Hold Your Hand', 'She Loves You', 'Let It Be', and 'Twist and Shout.' I have a fairly vivid memory of me at a "Taste of Palatine"--(those summer carnival/band parties)--dancing with one of my mom's friends to 'Twist and Shout.' There was a Beatles cover band playing (I did not know this at the time but the band was most likely American English). I was very tired and whining to go home, but she pulled me up from where I was sitting and tried to get me to dance. The only thing I remember saying about the Beatles that night was, "Mom? Are those the real Beatles?" I don't even remember her answer...which was probably "no." As I grew older I would hear other Beatles songs but would not realize that it was them until much later.


'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' sounded vague to me....
While at a friend's house during eighth grade, she told me about a CD entitled Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Asking if I'd heard of that I told her "no" and that the name was long and weird. She then asked if I'd heard the song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.' The songtitle sounded vague to me. After listening to it, I realized that I had heard that song before...but it still seemed vague. We may have listened to it twice and then my mom came to pick me up. I mentioned the song to her and she told me she remembered when it came out. I tried to keep that song in my head for as long as possible. I liked 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' and wanted to remember it. The next day the song was gone. I had forgotten the title of it and the name of the album. The only thing I did remember was that the cover had the Beatles spelt in pink flowers. It would be two years before I would get a cassette tape of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Until then, I sat by the radio, went up and down the dial trying to find that song. I may not have known the title, but I would have recognized it if I heard it.


During spring break in 1994, my family took a trip to Florida to visit my grandparents. One day my grandma put on a tape of Beatles songs. While listening to the tape, I'd never realized the Beatles made so many songs. The tape was the Beatles playing live (or so I thought). I liked that tape so much that my grandma let me take it home to make a copy. On the way home from Florida, I did not take that tape out of my walkman. It was played over and over. I remember thinking: Who is singing this song? What do they look like? On the next trip to Florida, I was looking through my grandma's 8-track collection (yes, they actually had an 8-track player that still worked). I found an 8-track called, "Beatlemania: Live at Wintergarden Theater." Toward the bottom of the cover written in tiny white print was: not the Beatles, but close...or something along the lines of that. That tape I had been listening to was a copy from that 8-track. Soon I realized that the tape I had was not The Beatles at all. Later on, I would read about a play called 'Beatlemania' that appeared at the Wintergarden Theater in 1978. Now, I was ready to discover the real Beatles.


"...records, LPs, long players...or electronic noise..." -John (1965)
The first thing I did to discover the Beatles was go through my mom's record collection to see if she had any of their albums. I found the "Red" and "Blue" albums, which were released in 1973. With the "Red" album I remember playing 'You've Got to Hide Your Love Away,' and 'Girl' over and over. For the "Blue" album, it was 'Across the Universe,' 'Let It Be,' and 'Something.' Later when I acquired Love Songs and Beatles 65 from my aunt, the songs were 'I'll Be Back,' and 'No Reply.' I remember playing 'No Reply' five times in a row on the living room record player. One time, while digging through the mounds of records I came across one with an all-white cover. I was unable to find a name to it, so I opened the inside of the sleeve and found four black and white pictures along with songtitles. Inside the sleeves I found two 8x10 color pictures of two men (head shots). I did not know this was the Beatles at that time. I had yet to learn about the different phases of hairstyles and clothing throughout their career; also who was who! Eventually, I did find the name of the album...THE BEATLES. I remember thinking how neat it was for the lettering to be raised and somewhat puffy. For a while after that, I tried to guess which two color Beatles I had. I soon found out that they were George and Ringo (who are still hanging on the back of my bedroom door). John and Paul were no where to be found.


Beatles fans who grew up in the sixties remember waiting patiently for the next single or album. When The Beatles Anthology aired on ABC in 1995, I understood how many of those people felt. It was very exciting the hear "The Beatles" Free as a Bird and Real Love. Even though it was not exactly physically all four of the Beatles on the song (with the use of John's demo tape), it was still interesting to hear. When Anthology 3 was released in early 1996, my mother and I stood in line at Best Buy around midnight. She was there to get Toy Story on video and I was there for the Beatles Anthology 3. The next day was a school day, but I stayed up until 2 a.m. listening to it anyway.


Paul is Dead?....
There was one time in my life when I actually thought Paul McCartney was dead. Back when I was a freshmen in high school (in 1994), I had checked out a book from the library called Rumors. One of them was the Paul is Dead hoax from 1969. The author (who's name I cannot remember) wrote that this rumor was not true. They told about all the clues in certain album covers and backwards recordings. I thought that this book was wrong...Paul was dead because I knew that one of the Beatles was dead. When I got home that day, I told my mom about the book and the Paul is Dead rumor. She corrected me and said that Paul was alive and that it was John who was dead. I don't know why, but I never asked why or how John died. I just assumed he died of a drug overdose. During the summer of 1994, I would find out the truth....
The rest of my Beatles 'magical mystery tour' continues on my John Lennon Remembered page.


Copyright © 2011 by Kristi N. Zanker