I was in the car today, listening to XM, when She Came In Through the Bathroom Window came on. It started me thinking about The Beatles. I love them!
I was a mere grasshopper when they were at the height of popularity. In fact, I remember exactly where I was (in the car with my dad), and how old I was (7) when we heard on the radio that they had disbanded. The DJ was crushed; my dad was crushed, and so was I.
As I grew older, my devotion to them only strengthened. While everyone in high school was listening to Springsteen, the Police, and .38 Special, I was listening to the Beatles. Back in the late 80’s, I used to think that if I could afford to buy the box set of their cd’s, I’d have made it. I never did manage that, although, now with the advent of inexpensive “albums” on most mp3 sites, I’ve managed to accumulate them all in lovely digital format!
It only made sense for me to raise my kids on their music as well. So it came as no surprise to me when my oldest son, away at boarding school, called and told me that his Am. Lit. class got into a discussion of who was better – the Beatles or the Stones? The majority voted for the Beatles. And why not? The Beatles evolved more drastically than any other band in the last century. They were more innovative, experimenting with various musical instruments, symphonies, sound effects, techniques, and more. Their lyrics ran the gamut, as did their song genres – ballads like The Long and Winding Road, pure rock like Revolution, love songs like Something, and purely new forms of music like Taxman, Polythene Pam, or Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, and the list can go on and on. And their songwriting abilities – to have not one, not two, but three talented songwriters in the band. Sorry, but I just can’t say that Ringo was too impressive in that respect! Sure, it was mostly John and Paul that anchored the lyrics, but each of the four brought something unique to the group.
Obviously, there have been great bands both before and since. And yes, I know that others pioneered the rock n’ roll form, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to think of any group, or even individual that was so varied, so inventive, so iconoclastic as the Beatles. Can you?