SVSU partnered with Michigan Rock N’ Roll Legends to host a Lunch and Learn on Wednesday, March 27, at noon in the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum.
The lunch discussed how John F. Kennedy made the Beatles famous in the United States, as well as how the state of Michigan became essential in getting him elected and played a part in helping the Beatles rise to superstardom.
Though JFK’s term was abruptly ended, he was beloved by many and did a lot for America even before his presidency. He started the Peace Corps in 1960 at the University of Michigan. That gave him enough to win the presidency by a very slim margin.
Gary Johnson, the lead speaker of the event, described JFK’s days as president as America’s honeymoon, and noted that his assassination left a dark cloud over the country.
Coincidentally, the same day that Kennedy was assassinated, the Beatles made their first television appearance in America.
The Beatles were already monumentally popular in the U.K., but their TV appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” was seen by 73 million people and pushed them into the world’s spotlight.
Johnson noted that the sudden death of JFK led the Beatles to a rise in popularity and brought hope for better times in America.
The Beatles became the world’s first TV band, similar to how JFK became the first TV president. If not for the revolutionary technology that was television, it has been said by many experts that JFK most likely would have lost the presidential race to Richard Nixon.
The rise of the Beatles also cured America of their presidential woes in losing JFK.
Johnson called the Beatles “a cathartic blast of joy… the national anti-depressant in a very crucial time for America.”
Both JFK and the Beatles had a warm presence that made people happy and appealed to the youth of America like not too many public figures can. The charm and quick wit of the Beatles could only be matched by the charisma and the allure that surrounded JFK. They both were a symbol of hope for everyone, and gave the entire world faith that the world could become a better place.
Educational Coordinator Andrea Ondish loved the event’s turnout and was glad to see the audience engage in the presentation by asking questions.
“I was glad to see many young students come out and learn about that very influential time period,” Ondish said. “It was a great event, and I can’t wait to put on many more just like these in the future.”
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