Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Beatles play list
I'm listening to a quickly-constructed play list of some of my favorite Beatles tunes. Here it is:
1. Hey Jude
2. Don't Let Me Down
3. I'm Only Sleeping
4. She Said She Said
5. Martha My Dear
6. Day Tripper
7. I Am the Walrus
8. Helter Skelter
9. I Should Have Known Better
10. I Feel Fine
11. Lovely Rita
There's no such thing as an obscure Beatles tune. And I venture that there are few persons in the English-speaking world that cannot sing at least a few bars from something on this list. But there are also those disaffected souls for whom the Beatles have become so ubiquitous that they can no longer muster interest.
God save me from such a fate!
I can understand how it is with younger people, especially, who were never given the opportunity to discover the Beatles, having had the Fab Four forced upon their aural senses while they rocked in their very cradles. They didn't choose to listen to the Beatles. They came into a Beatles-influenced world.
Unlike so many artists today (and maybe always), the Beatles were never content to rest on their past successes. Listen to Meet the Beatles, the first album released in the United States, and compare it to The "White" Album or Abbey Road. Their artistic evolution is fascinating. (No disrespect intended, but have the Rolling Stones done anything new in the last 25 years?)
The idea that the Beatles is now part of the "establishment," the accepted norm, is ironic when one considers that, in the impassioned '60s, the Beatles were part of the movement that transformed culture. The Beatles, believe it or not, were edgy back in the day. They admitted to experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs, smoked dope more or less openly, went to India to study with an Eastern-tradition holy man. To be a fan of the Beatles implied an open-mindedness, a willingness to examine new ideas and societal mores.
People will sometimes offer that Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Michael Savage have significant influence on our culture. Well, even Rush Limbaugh with his 30 million listeners has a long way to go before he comes close to the influence of the Beatles. And this: what the Beatles gave us was positive, expansive; not like the vitriol of right-wing loudmouths who influence culture through revulsion and disgust.
Apple Music and MTV just released a Beatles version of the popular video game "Rock Band." The advertisements are all over the media. I suppose some of the mystique remains. And I think younger people will one day find themselves humming tunes from their childhood days, Beatles tunes.
I hope so. A world that admires the Beatles is a better world, in my humble opinion.