Thursday, April 7, 2011

How I Learned to Stop Hating and Love the Beatles

I used to think the Beatles were the N'Sync of the '60s.

I had heard many of their vibrant tunes before, but without pinning their name to the sound. I liked them, certainly; I just didn't know their genius. To me it seemed each decade must have its own terrible pop music sung by talentless peons seeking wealth and fame. The Beatles, in my mind, had taken that lackadaisical effort to a new level and made a living of it.

Then I met a certain Boy, later to become Boyfriend, later to become Spousal Unit. I liked Boy, and the Beatles, to him, were the best thing since sliced bread, since the wheel was invented, since we came down out of the trees and said, "Right-o, let's get a move on." The Beatles, in his mind, could do no wrong (except when it came to "Act Naturally").

Who are these bowl-haircut, guitar-plucking youth, that they hold such sway over so many? I thought. Boy was not an average hanger-on; he was intelligent, musically mature, creative. Perhaps I just needed to give Beatles a chance.

Not knowing where to start in the enormous lexicon of illegally downloadable tunes, I chose at random and listened with fervor, as I had with Radiohead when I first discovered them. I was determined to understand. Needless to say, one song at a time was not the way to do that, but it was better than nothing.

I was all prepared, then, so that when Boy glanced through my music and said, "You don't have any Beatles?" I could readily respond, "They're under 'the,' for 'the Beatles.'" (It was not the smartest music program, the one I had.) And he was satisfied with my collection, at least enough to for me to seem an acceptable human being in his eyes.

The Beatles helped me find true love, in several ways. Spousal Unit was one, of course. George (the shy Beatle) easily became my favorite once I discovered their later albums, despite (I Got My Mind) Set on You and entirely because of Something. But they also taught me, through their genius vocals, that harmony is my favorite thing about music. For that, I owe them my undying allegiance and possibly my spleen.

I realized pretty quickly that the Beatles have nothing to do with N'Sync. The Beatles played and wrote their own music. Their lyrics were often just as inventive as the instrumentation and harmonies. Their charming of the masses was based less on performance and more on good looks and musical ability.

They also had better hair. Way better hair.

4 comments:

  1. Haha, this is super cute. I like the way you describe things. Also, do you George's album All Things Must Pass?

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  2. Had I know this…I would have tried to convince you sooner!!!!

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  3. Laura, I don't know that one (at least by the song titles), and it looks like I should. Do you have a copy to share? If not, I'm going hunting for it!

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  4. Your Uncle Jack and 3 friends played the Beatles in high school. Gma has a photo of them with a sign THE BEATLES. Jack was........yup, John Lemon. He had quite the library of albums by the Beatles and I remember riding in his baby blue convertible with All Things Must Pass. What is life is wonderful.

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