On February 9, 1964, The Beatles made their first appearance on American TV on The Ed Sullivan Show. Just three months before, President Kennedy was slain in Dallas; prior to 9/11, that was the seminal historical even of my life. America desperately needed to sing, and the Beatles were more than happy to give us the songs:
I was 10 years old and, along with most of America, I was in front of the old Black and White witnessing history, once again, unfolding in front of me. Even at that young age, I knew I was seeing something very, very special. RIP, John Lennon and George Harrison, you're missed more than you know.
As for popular music, it's still something of an echo of Elvis and the Beatles. You young folk can argue that point all you like, but it's true. All Hail Rock and Roll!