On Saturday, the Detroit Red Wings will play their 6,000th game in team history, and it’s against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa.
On Sunday, the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show that sent Beatlemania on a whirlwind adventure throughout the United States.
What do these two milestones have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing.
So why mention them in the same article? Because I can. And I’m going to have some fun with this. Two of my main obsessions are hockey and classic rock music, so let the great experiment begin!
Where do you even begin describing the history of these two groups? Both have accomplished so much, it’s tough to find a starting point.
View from 30,000 Feet
The Detroit Red Wings: 11 Stanley Cups, 6 conference championships, 6 Presidents’ Trophies, 19 division championships, 22 playoff appearances in a row (the longest current streak of post-season appearances in all of North American professional sports), last team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.
The Beatles: 12 studio albums (let’s keep it simple), 20 #1 hits on the Hot 100 chart (most by an artist), ten Grammy awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Score (Let It Be), 6 Diamond albums, 24 Multi-Platinum albums, 39 Platinum albums, 45 Gold albums, named the best artist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004.
The Red Wings’ playoff appearances streak is outstanding. It’s one of the few things fans wish to hold onto for as long as possible. We’re gunning for that 29 seasons record held by the Boston Bruins (1967-68 through 1995-96). With the decent streak the team has been on as of late, fans are breathing a little easier about making the playoffs (though we’re still very much concerned)
April 4, 1964 is a date engrained into my brain by my dad. It’s the only time in history that one band/artist has held the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The closest since then is 50 Cent in March 2005 when he had three of the top five. Much like the Red Wings’ playoff streak, it’s a title that needs to be held onto. Actually, if you want to really get into it, the Beatles had twelve spots in the Hot 100 that week and fourteen in the Hot 100 the following week.
Dominating Arrival Creates a Higher Standard
The Beatles’ arrival in the US brought about the British Invasion. Soon the airwaves and concert venues were packed with the likes of the Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, The Kinks, and Gerry and the Pacemakers to name only a few. The Brit Pop beat was the wave of the future! It’s all the teens of the Sixties wanted to hear on the radio! When Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came out, there were some radio stations that just played it on loop for days because people kept requesting it.
The Red Wings’ domination in the last two decades has brought about a lot of competition, solely because other teams have built themselves to compete at the “Red Wings Standard” of the game. Remember whenever the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Red Wings in the regular season and their coach commented about using the Red Wings as a measuring stick to their own success? The team of the last two decades has raised the bar incredibly high.
You’ve probably always heard it as The Beatles versus The Rolling Stones (it’s even a book!). They were two of the biggest super groups of that era (fandom- and media-wise, not in the literal sense like Cream). The media pitted the bands against each other when they weren’t always in direct competition. The Beatles were the cute, loveable boys from Liverpool and the Stones were the unkempt, bad boys from England. The bands were actually good friends.
In all actuality, back in 1964, it was more The Beatles versus the Dave Clark Five. Their sounds were very similar and their arrivals in the Colonies were also very close. The Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over” knocked The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” from the top of the UK singles chart in January 1964.
Similarly, NBC Sports likes to make up rivalries that aren’t always there. In recent years, they’ve tried to ramp up the Red Wings/Pittsburgh Penguins rivalry, which was only there for a short amount of time (2008-2010, more or less). They try to do the same with the Red Wings/Colorado Avalanche rivalry when none of the same players are on the team anymore that were there in the 1990s heyday. Of course, fans still feel strongly about the Avs, but that doesn’t mean the teams are at each others’ throats anymore.
Now, they’ve latched onto the Red Wings against the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s true to an extent. As the Red Wings’ greatness has slipped down into just being a standard “good” team, the Blackhawks have become the new, consistent “Stanley Cup Contender” team. Especially when the Red Wings were still in the Western Conference and the Blackhawks were division rivals.
This list of accomplishments and comparisons for both the Red Wings and The Beatles could seriously go on for quite a while.
There are far too many reasons to celebrate this weekend. Whether it’s for the Red Wings 6000th game or the Beatles coming to America, you can’t go wrong celebrating either. Or both. Both is good.