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Beatles' first Sullivan appearance made impact on Detroit rockers

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The Beatles' first appearance on CBS' "Ed Sullivan Show" Feb. 9, 1964, has been credited with launching thousands if not tens of thousands of rock 'n' roll bands around the U.S. And it certainly had a profound impact on some of the Detroit area's best-known musicians...

Bob Seger: "The first time I heard 'I Want to Hold Your Hand,' I said, 'Wow, that's good.' Because of the hype over the song and everything, I watched the Sullivan show. It changed the guys in my band more than it changed me, I think. They went crazy, wanted to learn those songs. They heard those girls screaming and said, 'Hey, boss, we've got to do this.' "

Mitch Ryder: "I was aware of the Beatles before their first hit in '64, but I don't think it really affected our music. I was doing a solo act downtown at the Village, really heavy into rhythm and blues. At that time, they were doing cover tunes like we were. When their original material came around, we did a weird marriage of the R&B and their music, mostly because we were curious about why the girls would go crazy for it. When the Rolling Stones came in, doing real heavy R&B, we threw our affections from the Beatles."

Ted Nugent: "I had a band together at the time, but there weren't any four-piece rock 'n' roll ensembles around. We didn't have direction. The Beatles opened the doors for the four- and five-piece rock bands. I would've just stayed right where I was, wondering what to do."

Wayne Kramer (The MC5): "I was very excited to see this band I'd heard so much about, and to tell you the truth my first impression was they were old. (laughs) I was disappointed because they didn't dance together like the bands that I liked, like Motown artists did. But I was really swept up with their musicality. The guitar playing was superior to much of what I knew; the way they put it together was really original and, needless to say, made a huge impression on it."

Marshall Crenshaw: "They started with 'All My Loving' and it just blew my mind. I was transfixed. I look at the film clip now and can't really understand why I was excited as I was at the moment, but I was. One thought that flashed through my mind as I took my first look at them was that they reminded me of President Kennedy; they seemed to have that vibe of being cooler than was humanly possible, like he had. I had been a big fan of President Kennedy and it was still the aftermath of the assassination, so seeing The Beatles made me feel good."

George Clinton: "I was influenced by the Beatles forever. I was crazy about them. After 'Testify'...I said, 'They'll accept...that English

stuff.' "

Wally Palmar, the Romantics: "I was just in awe. I pulled the couch up close and said, 'These guys are really great.' All the girls were screaming. From that time, I'd go stand in front of the mirror and play what they call air guitar now."

Don Was: "I saw them on 'The Jack Paar Show'; that was before Ed Sullivan. My mother hated them, so I hated them, too. Then the next day I went out skating, and the coolest girl at the rink came up to me and said, 'Did you see them last night? Weren't they great?' I said, 'Yeah,' and I've loved the Beatles ever since."

Johnny "Bee" Badanjek (the Detroit Wheels, the Rockets, the Howling Diablos): "The first show we saw them on was Jack Paar's. He had a live tape from England of the Beatles doing 'She Loves You.' We were so young at the time, we were just starting to play. It definitely had an impact on us; we thought right away, let's have a group just like the Beatles."

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