Feb. 5, 2013

Why I'm Still Obsessed With The Beatles...

I am in my early 50's. When I was 5-years-old, I asked for Rubber Soul for Christmas in December, 1965. That is young. I was a fan at a very young age in real time. It was exciting. Everyone else from that moment on was at least one step below my heroes The Beatles.

When Sgt. Pepper came out, I didn't come out of my room for three months. They were my drug, they were my life.

In November, 1968 I worked a full day in my dad's warehouse to earn a copy of the double-sided White Album. There were pictures and a poster. I had them on my wall. It is still my favorite record of all time. Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys is a close 2nd.

Rolling Stone Magazine has 10 Beatles songs listed in the Top 100 Songs of all time. There are so many different lists that put Lennon-McCartney in their top 10 writers of all time, I can't even list them all.

I believe if you ask most people young and old, they would list this band as one of their favorites even in 2013.

Why?

In my opinion it is because of their melody, rhythm and message...In that order.

I have been a songwriter for 35 years and in some way every day I go back to the basics from listening to those Beatles LPs. I still have every one of them on vinyl. I listen to the vinyl versions mostly.

Lennon and McCartney were always ahead of the curve musically in the 1960s. Most acts that followed them, took from them so much so that it became acceptable. McCartney used to believe that songs came out of the air. He looks at the obvious thievery of his work as a compliment. I'm sure that the zillions of dollars he has already made makes it easier to swallow.

The Beatles changed the culture of music and living itself in the 60's. Lennon once remarked how Americans "looked like horses" when the Beatles first arrived in NY in 1964. When they came back in 1965 everyone in America had long hair...That says a lot to me.

Take a look at the beautiful McCartney ballad "She's Leaving Home." Just from a songwriting aspect, it is brilliant. McCartney was 24-years old when he wrote it. Every word, every syllable, every note has a purpose.

"Wednesday morning at five o'clock 
As the day begins 
Silently closing her bedroom door 
Leaving the note that she hoped would say more 

She goes downstairs to the kitchen 
Clutching her handkerchief 
Quietly turning the backdoor key 
Stepping outside, she is free 

She...(we gave her most of our lives) 
Is leaving (sacrified most of our lives) 
Home (we gave her everything money could buy) 
She's leaving home, after living alone, for so many years (bye bye)..."

Lennon's contribution to the song are the replies in the chorus. They are important and complete the cycle in the song. They are the lines that actually made the commentary of the times of the parent's generation. Brilliant song and it is still covered all the time.

The Beatles remind me of the great athlete we idolize, but don't appreciate as much for their real contributions to their craft. These guys were REAL craftsmen and we really have not seen their likes since. The Beatles first started to strike the British subconscious 50 years ago. Next year will mark their 50-year anniversary of landing on American shores. I truly hope we truly celebrate that occasion.

I certainly will. The Beatles were/are still the most important group I have ever known. They are my friends for life. I still feel that "Beatle Rush" whenever I pick up a guitar or hear a great song on the radio.