Pat Terry threw The Beatles’ “Nowhere Man” into the mix of his original songs during a coffeehouse concert in Macon on Sunday evening. He told of catching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 and thinking: “Now that’s what I want to do.”

While Pat tilled the early soil of contemporary Christian music — impacting the spiritual lives of a generation of young people — before carving out a Nashville songwriting career, he found his early musical inspiration in the four boys from Liverpool. These photos show just a bit of Pat’s Beatles memorabilia.

Though less influential on me (I was pushing age 8 with little music talent to nurture), I recall watching that first live performance of The Beatles on American TV as well. My family had walked across the street after evening worship to visit the Jackson family. Their daughter Nancy, a few years older than me, was anxiously anticipating the Fab Four’s debut.

My parents and hers shook their heads in amazement at the shrilling reception the band received from their groupies. I don’t recall all of the adult commentary, but none of it was flattering.

Many years later I heard one older man proclaim: “We wouldn’t have a drug problem in this country if we’d just put those Beatles back on the plane when they first came over here.” I’ve always loved simple solutions from simple minds.

Historical perspective is always helpful. Critics had to look pretty hard to find anything offensive in that history-making, live television performance.

The Beatles wore conservative suits and ties that would have passed the Tennessee Temple dress code — and hair more neatly cropped than your modern-day televangelist. Their lyrics reached the gutter level of: “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah” and “I want to hold your hand.”

For some it was the beginning of the downfall of American civilization. For others it was the inspiration for gifted goodness.

For me, it was not a particularly influential moment. I spent more time during the following years listening to Johnny Cash than the Beatles.

But now, however, I sure do enjoy hearing my daughter playing the piano and singing “Let it be” — just because she finds the song inspiring.

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