Beatles fan’s collection has been growing for 50 years
WALTON — “Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles.”
With those five words from legendary talk show host Ed Sullivan, America was introduced to four young men from Liverpool, England, and pop culture hasn’t been the same since.
Walton resident Steve Hoheimer was just a 12-year-old living in Fairmount at the time, but he said he knew there was just something special about John, Paul, George and Ringo.
“I have two older sisters that grew up watching American Bandstand, so from an early age, I was into music,” he said. “When we saw them (The Beatles) on Ed Sullivan, it was really crazy because everybody was screaming on TV.”
Shortly after the performance, Hoheimer went out and bought his first piece of Beatles memorabilia, a 45 rpm single of “Love Me Do.” His mother even bought him a Beatles record player to go along with it.
And it’s been Beatlemania ever since, Hoheimer said laughing.
The album and record player are now part of an even bigger collection of Beatles memorabilia that Hoheimer has on display inside a bedroom of his house. With everything from dolls and figurines to piggy banks and LEGO yellow submarines, Hoheimer said the 50-plus year collection brings a smile to his face and a lot of happy memories.
“When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money or anything,” Hoheimer said, “so it was nice to sit and just listen to music. That’s how I’d spend a lot of my time. And through moves and college and everything, none of this ever got thrown away.”
And although Hoheimer never got to see The Beatles in person — his mother thought he was too young when the group performed at the State Coliseum in Indianapolis in 1964 — he did have a chance to see Ringo Starr in concert in 1992 and Paul McCartney when he came through the area a couple years ago.
But John Lennon, that was Hoheimer’s favorite.
“He was so sarcastic and had such a dry sense of humor about him,” Hoheimer said. “You could just relate to him, and you went through all the different stages with him, from the good old 1964 where he was really clean cut to the drugs and war and Yoko Ono’s influence.”
And that sense of connection is what made Dec. 8, 1980, so tragic, Hoheimer said.
“I was crushed that day,” he said, referring to the day Lennon was shot and killed outside his residence in New York City. “I had a lot of people calling and asking how I was that day, and it was really depressing. And it’s strange because I had no personal connection to him whatsoever, but it still felt like a big loss.”
And in the age of boy bands and one hit wonders who seem to come and go, The Beatles have stood the test of time, Hoheimer said.
“The Beatles were really covered a lot, but I think in some way, they built their fan base and always kept changing,” he said. “Each album was different, and it was such a short time from just 1964-1970. But they were able to stay ahead of the curve. These days, a lot of bands are mostly just followers.”
Hoheimer continued, referencing the culture of the era that The Beatles came into.
“Think about (President) Kennedy and his death, and America was pretty depressed,” he said. “So The Beatles hit the TV at the right time. They were fun and rebellious but not in a negative way. Even with the long hair, they were just still pretty squeaky clean.”
This file photo shows The Beatles, from left, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison.