"I wanted to be them. I wanted to do what they did. I wanted to have my haircut like that and I wanted to be in a rock 'n' roll band," he says. "That was a major, major important event for the youth of America. My parents couldn't have been over 30 years old and they didn't dig the Beatles too much. They didn't dig the long hair."
In 2006, the Smithereens released "Meet the Smithereens," a note-for-note remake of "Meet the Beatles," which was a strong seller online because the Beatles' music wasn't available through iTunes at the time. The Smithereens just released a new disc that is a run-through of the songs the Beatles played during their first concert on American soil, in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 11, 1964.
Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, Johnny's daughter, was 8 years old in 1964. She lived in southern California with her mother, Vivian, who was separated from Johnny by then.
"I loved the Beatles so much it was physically painful," she says. "I knew they were going to be on 'Ed Sullivan' and I counted the minutes. When it was time, I sat in front of the television at least a half-hour before the show started because I was anxious that I might miss even a single second.
"When they were about to come on, my mother kept my sisters in the kitchen to keep them quiet, and I overheard her say, 'SHHH. Rosanne is watching the Beatles.' It was one of the greatest things my mom ever did for me."
Cash has recorded versions of the Beatles' songs "I'm Only Sleeping" and "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party."