Monday, 4 November 2013

The Beatles

Kate has most of the Beatles' albums on her iPod, which means you can see all of the songs in one big list. It is a reminder of just what an extraordinary career they had - not just that they maintained the level of quality and never really dipped, but that they did so while constantly innovating, constantly taking huge risks, and, most impressively, constantly just working.

I realize that, for some, expressing a love of the Beatles is a rather bland, anodyne non-statement that hugs the mainstream so closely ('everybody likes the Beatles!') as to attest no real discernment. But this is fatuous and self-regarding - who is so pettily narcissistic to imagine that their own taste constitutes an interesting statement in itself? The music produced by the Beatles is far more interesting than the fact of my liking them and someone else not. 

And my reasons for liking them could well be bizarre and outlandish, and far from 'mainstream' appreciation, whatever that is - I'll not have my reasons imputed for me. Especially not by some sneering bloody hipster.

The quality or value of the Beatles' output can nevertheless be contested; but even then, there is no arguing that their musical development (admittedly at a time when everyone and everything else was changing rapidly too) was just extraordinary. Consider:

March 1963      Love Me Do 
July 1964           Hard Day’s Night 
August 1965     You’ve got to Hide your Love Away 
Dec. 1965           Norwegian Wood; Drive My Car 
August 1966     Eleanor Rigby; Tomorrow Never Knows; She Said She Said 
June 1967          A Day in the Life; Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds 
Nov. 1968          Dear Prudence; Happiness is a Warm Gun; Everybody’s got Something to Hide (Except for me and my Monkey) 
Sept. 1969         Come Together; Medley; Something

So they managed to go from Love Me Do (yeah, yeah, yeah - oooooh) to the dark and utterly unique Come Together in just over six years. In just three years they went from Can't Buy me Love and And I Love Her to A Day in the Life. A further two and a bit years later and they were at the lush, extraordinarily new sound of Abbey Rd, thereby kickstarting the seventies before Father Time had got round to it.

Contrast Oasis, a band once (laughably) compared to the Beatles by Britain's execrable rock journalists: Definitely Maybe in August 1997 and then burnt out a mere three years later with the leaden monstrosity that was Be Here Now.

The question now is how many of the 'landmark' songs I chose above were John songs and how many Paul's.

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