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Your Chicago: WXRT’s Terri Hemmert, The Ultimate Beatles Fan

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(CBS) – This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Who better to talk about the Fab Four than arguably the biggest Beatles fan anywhere? In fact, she’s got a radio show to prove it.

For 12 years now on Sunday mornings, veteran WXRT disc jockey Terri Hemmert has been hosting her labor of love, “Breakfast with The Beatles.”

Hemmert’s been an ‘XRT mainstay for more than 40 years. But it was 50 years ago as an Ohio teenager that she fell in love — really fell in love — with music.

The Beatles’ appearance Sullivan’s show in front of 70 million TV viewers launched the so-called British Invasion, and inadvertently launched her career.

“That’s why I got into radio,” Hemmert tells CBS 2’s Rob Johnson. “I am 16 years old in study hall, supposed to be reading geography. I’ve got my Beatles magazine stuck in there. Really, it was like that a-ha moment.”

That memorable Beatles moment not only solidified her affection for the group, but one of the Beatles in particular. Her favorite was John Lennon.

“Ever since I saw him sing ‘Twist and Shout’ on Ed Sullivan, that was the deal-sealer,” she says.

It was devastating when Hemmert had to go on the air, for hours, after Lennon was murdered back in 1980.

“It was like losing someone we knew,” she says.

Hemmert’s favorite Beatles song is “In My Life,” from the Rubber Soul album.

“That song has gotten me and a lot of other people through a lot of different things,” she says.

Unlike most Beatles fans, she’s gotten to meet and spend time with them, even hosting the Beatles Fan Fest every year.

Why has the fab four endured?

“I think because they were excellent. The music stands on its own. A hundred years from now the Beatles will be like Mozart or George Gershwin,” Hemmert says.

She’s in New York for a Beatles convention but her show will air as scheduled this Sunday. CBS will run a prime-time special that night.

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