The Beatles were all over television this last weekend in national TV commemorations of their US arrival. Locally, they were celebrated at the South Texas Popular Culture Center. Hundreds gathered to mark the occasion and listen to bands pay homage to the Fab Four. I went there to speak to a couple of notables involved in the effort. The music I've used in my story (hit "listen" above) was the Blue Note Ringos' version of "Strawberry Fields."
I spoke first to Express News Columnist and Krayolas front man Hector Saldaña.
"We’re here to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show," Saldaña said.
The Krayolas are a local band who enjoyed some regional stardom and hits back in the 80s. Next I spoke to Michael Ann Coker, the executive director of the South Texas Popular Culture Center.
"Our purpose is to preserve and celebrate and document the local music," she said.
And on Sunday, February 9, they were all gathered to celebrate the Beatles, and their influence on South Texas and its music.
"That Beatles appearance had impact here, just like it did all over the country," Coker explained.
The popular culture exhibit includes posters, band photos, clothing, the old Teen Canteen sign, and much more.
"Teen Canteen was at Crossroads," Coker said. "Mike Nesmith played folk music there, of course, went on to the Monkees. And of course, Christopher Cross, the Grammy winner."
And that’s not to mention other players in the local music scene featured at the center. People like Doug Sahm, Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers.
"We were lucky enough that during the opening of the Teen Canteen exhibit Billy Gibbons dropped by," Coker said of the famous ZZ Top guitar player.
I asked Saldaña and elemental question about rock 'n' roll: "What is that sizzle that the 60s music has that maybe some of the music now doesn’t?"
"I just saw an old clip of George Harrison trying to explain what the Beatles were about," Saldaña said, "and even he was saying we are a throwback to the old rock 'n' roll. In other words, guitar, bass and drums."
And that’s what they were doing Sunday, honoring the roots of rock 'n' roll, a la Beatles.
- For more on the South Texas Popular Culture Center visit: www.stpcc.org