She loves you — still! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Destinite remembers her brush with the Beatles

Deronda Redden, Beatlemaniac
Destin’s Deronda Redden still treasure the first album she ever bought, “Meet the Beatles.”

Was it really 50 years ago that my young life, along with the rest of America, was invaded by the Beatles? 

Every teenager in America was awestruck by the shaggy haired English lads. Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964: I remember it well!

We had heard rumors of this amazing singing group scheduled to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I plotted how I could see the show, as I doubted that my parents would be into this questionable new music.  Well, with really good timing, I managed to peer in our neighbors’ living room picture window as those four beautiful Brits consumed the black and white TV screen.  Mesmerized, I immediately fell in love with Paul.

“Meet the Beatles!’ the first Capitol record album by England’s pop combo, was the first record album I recall buying. And I continue to treasure it today!

Jump forward a couple of years to Aug. 21, 1966. How on earth was I so lucky to be invited to see the dynamic foursome play Busch stadium in St. Louis? This is still a mystery to me, but it happened. A junior high classmate invited me to travel a hundred miles north to see the Beatles. The whole thing was surreal! 

As my friend’s parents dropped us off at the stadium, they instructed us to leave by a remote back door exit.  We entered the massive arena with thousands of fans, shoving and pushing, while trying to match their tickets to their assigned seats.

As the lights dimmed and the concert began, the crowd went wild!  Girls were jumping up and down and screaming and before the night was over, some were carried out on stretchers.  Funny... when I visualize the experience, I see it in black and white, just like the news reels.  Shortly after each song began, the audience’s voices took over the lyrics, as we sang along. The noise level was deafening! And exhilarating!  

After the concert, hot, sweaty, hoarse and exhausted, we pushed our way through the crowds to that rear exit of Bush Stadium to locate Pam’s parents' car. Familiar with the stadium, they had chosen an isolated meeting place.  Outside that same back door, in an almost deserted parking area, sat a mysterious automobile. 

Speechless, with our eyes wide open, we stood frozen next to that long black limousine, as Paul, John, George and Ringo climbed inside. We stretched out our hands and touched the magical carriage before it sped off!

It’s hard to choose my favorite Beatles’ tunes.  "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," "It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night," "Hey Jude," "Come Together," "Here Comes the Sun," "Love Me Do," and "Yesterday" are only a few, of so many, with meaningful words that we memorized and cherished!

To this day, my first concert easily trumps all others! And how much were those priceless tickets? $5.50!

Deronda Redden is a longtime Destin resident and owner of She is a member of the Destin Area and Walton County chambers, a past president of Republican Women of Okaloosa Federated, and supporter of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge and Feline Friends.