Paul McCartney (left) and Ringo Starr at a benefit concert at Radio City Music Hall on April 4, 2009
Thinking of it in that light, we should feel blessed that those screaming teenage girls so frustrated the Beatles in concert that they gave up touring altogether in 1966 and spent their last four years creating not simply great albums but ones that broadly expanded their musical limits.

The most significant rock ’n’ roll band ever?

“I’ve thought about this so long and hard over the years I was a pop critic at the Los Angeles Times,” says Hilburn, who admires Elvis’ and Dylan’s influence greatly. “I think there have been many other great bands that have come along since the Beatles. But no one has assumed a larger importance.”

Beyond the obvious tragedy of John having been killed 10 years after the Beatles parted ways, I’ve thought it’s a shame the group did not perform in the era of three-hour concerts. Of course, Paul continues to make up for that loss, playing 35-song shows filled with Beatles songs. The man who wrote “When I’m Sixty-Four” still needs us and still feeds us music a full seven years after he passed that milestone.

Meanwhile, we are fortunate that the Beatles left behind such a bountiful treasure of records that hold up a half-century later. As for concert memories, those of us of a certain age will always have those nights with family members gathered around primitive television sets to watch four lads from Liverpool play music that would change the world. 

TIM COWLISHAW, a sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News, appears on Around the Horn on ESPN and is the author of the book Drunk On Sports.