It’s impossible to overstate the influence the Beatles had on us Baby Boomers. Well, I guess it IS possible, if you mention a certain Son of God ;-). But much more than their mere music affected us.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and within weeks of their arrival in New York, the hair of young men was allowed to grow longer than it had ever been before. And it wouldn’t be cut short again for a very long time, stints in the military excluded.
Prior to this, guys were still greasing up and making ducktails. Even if hair was allowed to grow a bit long, it was slicked back to stay above the ears.
Then, out of the distant east, four British lads stepped off a plane and the slick look vanished, seemingly overnight.
By the time I entered school in 1965, there were many sons of tolerant parents in my class with hair that crept over the tops of their ears. I was decidedly NOT among them. Dad insisted I come home from the corner barber shop (within walking distance) with one of two styles: a flattop, or a crewcut.
The flattop allowed me to have just a tad of hair left to comb, so it was my usual choice. By the way, a flattop would be completely impossible for me today ;-).
Intervals between haircuts for me were generally longer in the summer. My parents equated well-shorn hair as a school-related phenomenon. So when I walked into the barber shop around August of 1966, the time was right for me to spread my wings.
“What’ll it be today, Ronnie? Flattop, or crewcut?” asked Paul.
“Give me a Beatle” were my daring words.
Paul looked at me a little funny, as I recall, but granted my request. He cut a pretty decent Beatle for an old school guy. I went home proudly sporting my longer locks.
Dad hit the roof. He was livid that I would waste three dollars of his hard-earned money on a haircut that looked like it barely shortened my already-too-long hair. I was back in the shop getting my flattop within minutes.
I was in junior high in the 70’s before my hair finally started creeping over my ears. And that was as long as it ever got. Some of my schoolmates ended up with two-foot-long ponytails. Hair on the shoulders was a common 1970’s sight.
It wasn’t until the 80’s that guys finally started cutting their hair short again. The Beatle haircut began a trend that lasted twenty years.
That’s a lot longer than my one and only Beatle lasted.