Saturday, December 04, 2021

Get Back

Let me refrain from going too long. I was born in 1953 and was pop-music precocious, following it closely from 1963 on. The Beatles were always fun but secondary for me.  I had a 45 of them singing "My Bonnie" with Tony Sheridan that I won at WMUR about that time.  It would be worth about $3000 now, had I kept it.  And I can't even blame me Mum for that.

I liked some songs.  I had friends who were Beatles fanatics. I don't think anything by them was in my church-basement coffeehouse sets, nor in my folk-rock college band's repertoire*. But I didn't hate them. Watching the clips on YouTube it dawns on me that what was so marvelously attractive about them was their humorous and affectionate interaction with each other. I enjoyed the movies "Hard Day's Night," "Help," "Yellow Submarine," and "Magical Mystery Tour."

And it was this, as much as the musical collaboration which was significant but not unprecedented, that was what was so enjoyed, and was thus so much missed when it went away. There was no other band's interactions we were even remotely aware of. To hear rumors that they no longer liked each other (except Ringo who was the perennial lesser talent who was nonetheless loved by all the others and loved them back), and they were going in different directions musically was devastating to their fans, who spun a hundred theories about why and how and what could fix it. They all had someone to blame. Usually Yoko, who is an intellectual and creative cipher, but really irrelevant to the story. No one did this about the Stones, or the Spoonful, or the Byrds, or the Kinks.  Cream, maybe a little.

And so, the perpetual longing for their return was almost like the longing that your parents wouldn't be divorced anymore and would get back together, and it would be Christmas again. If the focus on them seems outsized to those viewing outside who see them for their good but not great musical talent, it was this camaraderie that should explain it to you. And watching hem now, I like them better than their music, watching them fight through to produce that last concert and album. I like them.  I root for them.  I didn't then.

*This gets interesting. I played "Blackbird" in G-tuning solo; jumped in singing harmony on "Here Comes the Sun" on my friend Lew McGehee's  hard work; did a parody of "Rocky Racoon" in high school; and was twice part of one of those closing songs at a concert where all the bands come together for a final number on "Hey Jude." This from someone who supposedly didn't do any Beatles songs. They were so dominant that they took in even those of us who ignored them.


Sam L. said...

I liked Dr. Demento's platter spinning. I vass amussssed.

Christopher B said...

So, the ur-boy band.

(ok, too harsh since they had real musical chops but your description of how personality and internal drama were as important to the fans as the music seems to fit well. Also, clean cut and those accents.)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

And they were young. John was the oldest and they split up the following year just before he turned 30.