My response to the naysayers (some who are rather close to my
home and heart) of the Beatles is, “Really? Have you watched
their beginnings?” Three short months after the assassination of
United States President, John F. Kennedy, (and its devastating
aftermath) along came the introduction of these four young men.
Musicians, artists and poets known as the Beatles. They were
like a ‘breath of fresh air.’
I have a good male friend and one of my best female friends that
like to yank my chains by saying, “I don’t ‘get’ the Beatles.”
I respond, “Why have they endured?”
Were you there to see the changes and evolution from their
playful selves? As our country was fighting for Civil Rights
and the strife of riots in the streets of the South, church
burnings and other side effects that moved us to action, the
Beatles ‘changed their tune.’ They had started their career,
writing original love songs that had fun and simple themes.
I will always feel one of the best love songs they sang was,
“There’s Something in the Way She Moves Me.”
Then, in the 70’s they moved forward to write and sing “Revolution.”
The Peace movement created, “Let It Be.” “Imagine” and “Give Peace
A Chance.” These songs were John Lennon’s answer to ending wars,
like the Viet Nam ‘skirmish,’ which ended up having casualties of
58,200 of our American soldiers.
Again, I understand if you were too young or are still not
able to “get” the Beatles.” It is sometimes how deeply they
made, some of us, think and feel. How they touched our hearts
and, despite the frantic atmosphere we were growing up, they
were part of a generational movement.
By lighting the candles for us of Hope, Inspiration and Endless
Possibilities, we all endured.
They did not stand still and stay one kind of musician.
The Beatles are known for continuing to move forward and
‘evolving.’ They met the way times were changing head on,
filling their lyrics with the news.
There are plenty of examples of popular musical groups, like
the Herman’s Hermits, The Byrds and others who were similar.
They did have wonderful examples of lyrics and songs that
became part of our popular culture. There are the also more
strident and rollicking songs of the Rolling Stones and harder
driving musical groups that may be more the taste you prefer.
But, to be honest, what makes me respect a lot of these groups
is they came from hard working roots and they overcame them.
They had average families brought up in the Catholic church,
in small towns.
They developed character, through humor, respect, and their
continuing, abiding faith. Some of the members left Catholicism
and chose to embrace a universal faith. They consulted with the
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They looked beyond their families’ faith
and sought other levels of enlightenment. They came from England
yet became persons who believed in uniting the world, overcoming
and making it a better place and becoming personally better.
When Linda McCartney chose to eat vegan, that was years before
it became well known or a popular choice, at least among my
friends. The Linda McCartney Foods line is produced by Hain
Celestial, UK Ltd. There have been places on the internet that
focus on ‘voting’ to get this line of meat less meals to the
United States and Canada.
My parents liked and respected the Beatles. We had all of their
albums, while I played Apple 45’s on my little record player.
My father, particularly, liked listening to them. My Mom told us
that in Europe, there wasn’t the same “evils of blacks being
persecuted by whites,” that class structure was different, that
we were not as ‘advanced’ (sometimes she even used the words,
‘less civilized’) as they were. I do know that there was a lot
better examples of inclusion in the musical world, embracing
Motown Sound, starting rock n’ roll with Elvis’ influences.
By adding different styles to make it sound more interesting.
Here are three Beatles’ songs that reflect Motown influences:
“You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Money” (That’s What I Want), and
“Please Mr. Postman,” all were included in the Beatle’s 2nd album.
There was a professor of Music at University of California,
Berkeley, who recently spoke on CBS Sunday Morning, February 2,
She was telling the viewers, Berkeley has three Beatle courses,
that have been offered “for over fifteen years.” They are centered
on different aspects of the Beatles’ music.
One college course focuses on using the same chords, different
guitar skills and styles used or emphasized by the Beatles. The
second one deals or analyzes the Beatles’ poetry and writings
in their music. What it was that transferred their words into
becoming legendary songs. This course uses the Beatles as the
impetus to invention of students’ own original lyrics.
The final course is for musicians who wish to learn about the
art of performance. In my mind, the Beatles led others in this
area. Their usage of their natural abilities and personalities
to perform solidly made them popular. They had an innate sense
of how to behave appropriately in their first interviews, showing
humor, lovable and comical characters. They learned to transfer
their lighter weight style by including deeper thoughts, following
their changing beliefs.
This Berkeley Music professor said they recently had a sold
out campus musical performance that played the entire Beatles’
“White Album.” She said their music was able to stand up
against the “Test of Time,” evidenced by the 3 courses filling
up as soon as they are posted at Berkeley for the next semester.
Motown Sound members include “We Can Work It Out,” as one of
their own, using rhythm and blues, with jazz influences.
When a song can be heard years later, performed with a
different dimension of the sound, this is true artistry.
Several of the Beatles’ tunes, as soon as the first notes or
chords are played, I am transferred, taken back in time,
through the years, and my heart strings are again tugged on.
I can be reduced to tears by the beauty of the Beatles’ lyrics.
Fifty years have passed: I still hold the Beatles in high regard.