"I was already into rock 'n' roll and pop music before The Beatles hit America. I remember being a little kid and seeing this guy Elvis Presley on TV - the girls would scream when he came on. That kind of stuck with me.
"The stuff I was into were things like Roy Orbison and the Phil Spector hits. I was definitely a music loving kid. From my earliest days, whenever I heard music, I felt happy and forgot all my problems.
"In fact, I even started playing guitar at a young age. My parents bought me a Silvertone acoustic guitar that cost $12.95 and it came with a little 45 single that said, 'Hold the plectrum with the right hand and the neck with the left.' I'm naturally left-handed, but since that's how the record said to play guitar, that's how I did it - it never occurred to me to change.
"The night The Beatles first played the Ed Sullivan Show, boy, that was something. Seeing them on TV was akin to a national holiday. Talk about an event. I never saw guys looking so cool. I had already heard some of their songs on the radio, but I wasn't prepared by how powerful and totally mesmerizing they were to watch. It changed me completely. I knew something was different in the world that night.
"Next day at school, The Beatles were all anybody could talk about. Us guys had to play it kind of cool, because the girls were so excited and were drawing little hearts on their notebooks - 'I love Paul,' that kind of thing. But I think there was an unspoken thing with the guys that we all dug The Beatles, too. We just couldn't come right out and say it.
"All of that changed when I went to see A Hard Day's Night. I wasn't into sports, I wasn't a great student, I didn't go out for school activities or anything - I was just kind of into my own little world. But seeing The Beatles on screen, running around and laughing, plus seeing them play all these incredible songs, I started to think, 'Hey, I wouldn't mind doing that.' It was like The Beatles were their own gang, and that seemed so cool to me."