What’s the Big Deal About The Beatles?
It was a cold January day when I climbed a snow drift to get to my mailbox, and it was well worth the climb. I smiled to find not one, but two of the last music industry publications – Rolling Stone and Billboard – both with The Beatles prominently plastered across the cover. They were ready.
On February 6, 2014 , when my friend Michael Leach said to me “Tomorrow is a big day in The Beatles Fan Club” (of which he knows I am a card carrying member)… and he was right.
But why? What’s the big deal?
On February 7th, 1964, The Beatles first landed on U.S. soil at the newly re-named John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport in New York and changed everything. Only six days earlier their single “I Want To Hold Your Hand” vaulted to the #1 spot on the U.S. charts, launching them into superstardom.
Still it really isn’t that they had more hit songs, or more hit albums, or broke more records (all of which they did), pretty much all of which they still hold today, fifty years later. It isn’t that they were the first to do so many things in Pop music. As great as all of these things are, and as much bragging rights as The Beatles may have about their achievements, The Beatles are much more than their achievements.
The Beatles are an interesting story.
There are more books written about The Beatles than there are written about any other music artist in any genre ever, and you really should read a few because it’s a great story. I’d definitely advise to read the ones by what Philadelphia DJ and Beatles aficionado Andre Gardner calls “Beatles Royalty”, like Tony Bramwell, George Martin and Geoff Emerick, who were part of The Beatles inner circle (to name a few). Or the book “Ticket To Ride” by author Larry Kane, who was on tour with them and had almost total access. The more you read, the more you’ll learn the characters, and the more you’ll get hooked.
That isn’t to say skip the books and articles written by non Beatles Royalty, like Steve Greenberg’s article in January’s Billboard magazine; an impressively well researched look at the cause and effect that (in the U.S.) took them from unknowns to superstars in six weeks. Or “Revolver” by Robert Rodriguez, which makes a case that the Revolver album is their best work. Great Beatles books are really everywhere, and there’s some really bad ones as well, while others that just aren’t factual. Then there’s rumors that aren’t true, but are like an acceptable myth. It’s all just really, really interesting. And it gets even more interesting, both as time moves forward, and as we look back.
The story of The Beatles involves Bob Dylan, Imelda Marcos, Elvis Presley and Jesus Christ. It takes us from England to America, India and countless places in-between. It would involve epic battles against everything from Apple Computers to the notorious Yoko Ono, and most tragically against one another.
The Big Deal about The Beatles is not only that it happened, but how it happened.
And as an added bonus, the story has an excellent soundtrack.
Image courtesy of Nicole Leigh Photography