Today has been dubbed “Worldwide Beatles Day” by EMI and Apple Corps. and who can really dispute that? The Beatles are arguably the greatest rock band of all time and they’ve earned plenty of accolades. To celebrate, Beatles Rock Band is being released for all major videogame platforms, allowing fans to experience some of John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s classic moments as well as attempt to recreate the harmonies they are known for.
Better yet, The Beatles original catalogue of albums is being reissued today with each album having replicated original UK artwork, original and newly expanded liner notes, rare photos, and each CD will have an embedded brief documentary film about the album. Plus on the same date two Beatles boxed set collections will be released.
What do we think of The Beatles?
The Beatles are the most universally loved band that has ever existed and ever will be. They are the only true case that I can think of where that dumb expression “everyone and their mother listens to them” is true. Virtually all of modern music owes them a huge debt. That is why every few years when they have a new release all of the media goes insane over it. That is why we can invent a day called Worldwide Beatles Day and no one will dispute it.
What I didn’t know at the time, but would come to realize from the brief instruction the tour guide was giving us, is that EMI “Abbey Road” studios is visible from the famous zebra crosswalk. So as I approached from the tube station with the tour group, I was looking for and spied the studio beyond the street even before I realized we had come to the famous spot where thousands pose mid stride like the fabs on the front of Abbey Road. And in a very real sense, the studio, the sparkling moments ‘beyond’ the Beatles is really how the fab fours exist in my life. It’s what John, George Ringo and Paul allowed that make them important to me. A supremely popular pop group boasting their own songwriters, the marriage of fanciful, often times very non-rock and roll instruments with a modern four-piece, concept albums and avant-garde sensibilities and the actual realization of band being so much more then a gigging entity, all this and more is really what the Beatles mean to me.
To me, the Beatles are one part serendipity and another part life story. Some may say, “Hey, the Beatles were big 40 years ago–why do they play a role in your life?” Those people do not understand the power of music.
Every step in my life can be taken with a Beatles song in tow. My freshman English teacher in high school used Beatles lyrics to show us the power of metaphor in song. My father and I have bare minimum matching taste but apparently the Beatles fall into that category. Certain songs, like “Can’t Buy Me Love” define periods of my college career that I cannot apply words to explain; moments like driving around aimlessly screaming song lyrics. The Beatles wrote my life story in a manner one part psychic and another part the communication of universal feelings.
However, the most powerful role they played in my life was the role of “Michelle.” Any music fan can find a song that speaks how they feel about someone. The song was used in my most important relationship as a way of saying everything that would not be said for months more. Without that song, I doubt I would be where I am right now.
That is what the Beatles music does: it speaks the second world of thought. All the things people cannot bring themselves to say, all the things that we may not even know, all the things that we’re too scared to admit. We as a generation look back at the Beatles not because of their role in the past, but because of their constant role in the present.