10.9.08

Why The Beatles?


Monday marked the 40th anniversary of The Beatles last live performance on television, when they rocked "Hey Jude" on the David Frost show.



I was born in 1976 (you know, the year when they had those cool quarters with the drummer dude on the back of them. Well, they used to be cool until they started releasing quarters with peaches and corn and cows on them. Now they don't seem as special...but I digress...), so by the time I started listening to music, The Beatles were more history than anything else. They were still relevant of course, but it's not like they were getting played on the local Top 40 radio station between Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance" and Janet Jackson's "Miss You Much".

To be honest, in my teen years the only thing I knew about The Beatles was they were the group everyone was comparing New Kids on the Block too (hey, I did grow up in Massachusetts, home of NKOTB). "Will they be as popular as The Beatles?" "Can they stick around as long as The Beatles?" The questions seem preposterous now, but back then, people were asking them without laughing, I swear.

More than enjoying the music of the Beatles, which I do, I've always liked listening to their songs because of the history. They were so good for so long, so influential, and so iconic, when I listen to their songs it feels like I'm experiencing a piece of history. I love hearing about the meaning behind the songs (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is about LSD? cool!), and I love it that so many people have strong opinions about the band.

So I was wondering, what can you tell me about the Beatles? Is there a favorite song backstory that you like to tell? A favorite live performance that you personally experienced? A favorite album or song that you feel is overlooked? A fact about the band I can bring up at the water cooler to dazzle my coworkers?

I could probably spend an entire day in Wikipedia learning things about the band, but I thought it would be fun to get some personalized input from the Burnside faithful. So if anything comes to mind, fire away!

10 comments:

  1. This post is stunning for many different reasons. I really have no idea what to say.

    This is like if someone came up to me and said, "Hey! I keep hearing America is a cool country. Do you mind telling me about it and describing some of your favorite American memories?"

    Bryan, if the water cooler talk goes in the direction of The Beatles, just stand there and nod.

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  2. haha. wow, am I that out of touch with life? Are the Beatles really that grandiose that trying to nail down specifics is like trying to explain the importance of water in 10 words or less?

    Ask me about any of the bands that I love and I can tell you a little bit about why I love them. My story for each band will be different and unique.

    I just figured with so many people claiming The Beatles are the best band of all time, there should be a lot of passionate opinions out there.

    But maybe that's like asking people to tell me why the Sun is their favorite star in the universe? I don't know. I'm gonna go listen to some more New Kids now...

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  3. Jordan Green looks a bit like John Lennon.

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  4. Bryan said: "wow, am I that out of touch with life? Are the Beatles really that grandiose that trying to nail down specifics is like trying to explain the importance of water in 10 words or less?"

    Yes, and yes. I hate to say it, but the Beatles are an act so transcendent in their songwriting that there's really no explaining the specifics of what make them great.

    However, to participate in the delightful memories of the Beatles thread you attempted to start, Bryan, I went to see Jars of Clay (opening for PFR in a city park, of all things, back when their debut came out) wearing a Rubber Soul t-shirt. Several of the Jars guys mentioned how cool they thought the shirt was, and we ended up talking about power pop for an hour.

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  5. @John: They're like the Christian Beatles. Check 'em out.

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  6. You know, I too am a child of the 70's and while I had an intense oldies phase as a teenager that naturally included the Beatles, I didn't get the weeping girls and total mania until I watched that video you posted. Sir Paul had a wonderful way of looking into the camera in a soulful way that...well let's just say, I get it.

    So my favorite Beatles moment is all the close-ups on Paul in the video you just posted.

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  7. I have a bazillion memories of The Beatles. They were a huge part of my childhood...

    Such a huge part that when my parents told us they were pregnant with their fourth child, the first thing my sisters and I said was, "Oh good--someone to be Ringo." Because our favorite game involved pretending we were the fab four.

    I remember the first time they were on Ed Sullivan...which was electrifying, and the time they reappeared on American Bandstand, via music video (this was entirely revolutionary) and we cried because they looked so different--it was after their Maharajah experience in India.

    The Beatles rocked the music world. I am grateful to be old enough to remember.

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  8. I remember going to see Men in Black and being the only one in the theatre that laughed at Tommy Lee Jones joke about having to buy the White Album again.

    Also the best way to listen to the Beatles is on vinyl. It sounds amazing.

    And Jars of Clay and the Beatles? I hate to disagree, but that is just wrong.

    thanks
    Mark S

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  9. **pokes head up long enough to possibly get it chewed up and spat upon**

    To borrow from Mr. Gibson, "I hate to say it, but the Beatles are an act so transcendent in their songwriting that there's really no explaining the specifics of what make them great."

    That's how I feel about The Beatles -- I think they're amazing songwriters who changed rock music in the '60s and they just might be the greatest band of all time (a designation that really only considers musical acts from the past 50-60 years at most). But I'm just not the biggest fan of The Beatles. Maybe it's an era thing. I grew up listening to my mother play The White Album on vinyl, but when I went through my "Explore the Past" era in the late '90s when entering college, I spent MUCH more time with Led Zeppelin & Pink Floyd.

    Simply put, I like The Beatles, but I don't "like like" The Beatles.

    Does that make me a bad person?

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