If you haven't been hibernating under a secluded rock somewhere, you should now be well aware that this month marks the 50th anniversary of the debut appearance of four charismatic, mop-headed young Brits on the Ed Sullivan Show.
This performance famously set in motion a nationwide rock 'n' roll epidemic - subsequently diagnosed as Beatlemania - and became the cultural touchstone of a generation.
It's unlikely a moment like this could happen again in our brave new pixelated world of individually customized entertainment, but there are those who remember the good ol' days when a harmonized "yeah, yeah, yeah" broadcast on primetime TV could provoke a social revolution.
Tom Kohler and Roy Swindelle are two of the founding members of the Savannah Rocks! music history project, and they remember the moment well. The Ed Sullivan affair was their clarion call, and they're memorializing that moment in time with a rock 'n' roll bacchanalia at the American Legion Ballroom on Feb. 7 with "50 Years Ago Today: A Beatles Celebration."
The event will feature an intergenerational roster of Savannah-bred talent that includes Cusses, The Veraflames, Gam, The Rogues, Voodoo Soup, Jack Sherman and The Bill Avila All-Stars, all of which will play one or more renditions of a Beatles tune in addition to selections from their own catalogues.
"People will hear the Beatles in a way they've never heard them before," Kohler says. "They'll also hear bands they're maybe not familiar with. Less than one percent of everyone in that room will have heard every one of these bands live before."
Of course, this is all in keeping with the fundamental ethos of Savannah Rocks!, which is to bridge the generational gaps in the local music scene and promote the rich history of rock music that exists right here in Savannah.
Swindelle is one of the senior figureheads of the old-school Savannah music scene and consequently, he's quite well respected, so together with Kohler and other key local talents, old and young, they're pulling together a consortium of folks to tell the story of rock music in Savannah.
"There's a lot of really talented people here," Swindelle says. "But it is definitely a process."
The Savannah Rocks! project began last month with a kickoff event at The Sentient Bean, where members of the community brought newspaper clippings, photos and other assorted memorabilia from far and wide to document the various musical eras of Savannah's past and present. The event was a resounding success and the resulting epoch-spanning collage will make an appearance at the American Legion event, as will the indefatigable Ed Sullivan, who must be getting up there in years by now.
You may have already witnessed some of the promotional shenanigans for this show, like the Fab Four themselves perambulating around town in full Sgt. Pepper regalia.
Eventually, the group's goal is to hire an official historian who can document and archive the stories of Savannah music. The money raised from this event will further that cause, so come out and contribute to be a part of Savannah's musical history.