50 things we learned at rock concert

On the heels of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony in Cleveland, will the name of a band fade into history?

That’s the question that Toronto Rockfest left hanging when they announced last week that the festival’s 10th anniversary is falling on 18 September, celebrating the “coming-of-age story of a U.S. invasion” that “expanded the City of Toronto and made waves worldwide.” I mean, you’ve got to admit that sounds sort of Borscht Belt, doesn’t it?

Consider, however, this: by October of 1964, some 1,100 miles away in Liverpool, England, the Beatles’ popularity was cresting with The Beatles. Their single “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was in the Top 5 in America, the first time a British song had debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since “Burning Love” by The Fifth Dimension.

Still, when I say “roaring success,” I’m not talking about the Beatles and their success–I’m talking about the number of fans who went out to buy their first records, whose songs have since become certified classics. The songs that were to become part of “Those Tube People”–including I Want to Hold Your Hand, I Saw Her Standing There, A Hard Day’s Night, and the aforementioned “Tin Pan Alley”–have sold a combined 230 million copies in the United States alone. “Rock And Roll Music” is number 26 on the Rolling Stone 100 and number 97 on the iTunes 500. “Get Back” is ranked No. 21. “Can’t Buy Me Love” is No. 9.

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