Sunday, February 9, 2014

Tomorrow Never Knows

The first time I ever heard them was on the radio, kept on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen.
"I Wanna Hold Your Hand."
I had never heard anything like the Beatles before. First I just froze and listened, then I wanted to dance, it was amazing to me.
My favorite Beatles album;
 For me, this is when the Beatles really got interesting. It is still my favorite album, ever. One of the first psychedelic albums. There are so many layers and textures on Revolver, I still get something new from it.
It's a bittersweet feeling this anniversary. My favorite Beatles have passed away, the irony of Johns death,  because of a handgun is not lost on me.
Thanks a lot 2nd amendment, loonies can shoot rock stars and just about anyone else they point their guns at.
It is hard to put into words what the Beatles meant to me. How much they inspired me. Listening to their music changed me, changed the world. Music would never be the same. That's power.
The Beatles changed more than music, they challenged the way we thought. There was a lot of truth in their music, usually the best art has that as a foundation.
I guess when the Beatles blasted onto our TV sets it was the perfect storm, the birth of our culture of consumerism. We had the financial wherewithal to spend money on albums, posters. Economically, these were good times considering the boom we were having after WW2. There was a lot of optimism in those days. Affluence, youth, equality, pop culture and the "generation gap." The sad Eleanor Rigby, a song about a lonely old woman., who keeps the" face in a jar by a door" a dull and boring older generation whose funerals no one goes too is  a "generation gap" song. I know I experienced this difference in generation every time my parents would play their Perry Como or Mitch Miller records that I detested. There were no Beatles albums.
By the time Revolver came out in 1966, The Hippie movement was taking off and George Harrison experienced this in San Francisco, with weird results. There was a movement for human rights not seen before that was gaining traction.These were exciting times when actual social progress was made. Sgt. Pepper, (the first concept album) the White Album and so much more came out of this creative, experimental time. With Revolver and Harrison's "Taxman" was the first social criticism  The Beatles made with their music. I don't think it's any secret that the Beatles didn't grow up rich, however they never made an issue of that when they sang "I Want To hold Your Hand." It must have surprised them to end up so wealthy.  The Beatles are still most famous as a band than any of them are as individuals. What I really admired was John Lennon's activism and George Harrison's work for the poor in Concert for Bangladesh. I admired their work for social justice. I am old enough to remember the Beatles influence 50 years ago, change was coming, or so we thought.
 The Beatles 50th anniversary should be something to celebrate. I wonder what this generation, this "lost" generation has to be happy about? Do they have same advantages as my generation did 50 years ago? We are still wrestling with issues that should have been overcome a long time ago. Rampant commercialism that propelled the Beatles to their fame and fortune now threatens us with no end in sight. The change that we all believed in has retrograded and become stagnant, because we have allowed corporations and profit to become more important than our kids and they should be really pissed off about that.
One thing I do believe in is that change is possible, because "Tomorrow Never Knows."


  1. Yes, this album, and for me, Norwegian Wood as well.

  2. Oh yeah, from Rubber Soul, groundbreaking, music and lyrics!

  3. When it comes to art that is "groundbreaking" I have to be there when it happens to truly regard it that way. Unfortunately, I was born in late 1961, which means that when I finally did become aware of the Beatles, I experienced all their songs, as well as songs of the '60s in general, out of order. So I guess I'm left with the default position that the Beatles were the greates rock and roll band ever, maybe the greatest band period. As default positions go, it's not a bad one to have, don't you think?

    I like just about every song they ever recorded, but I have to say my favorites are the ones Lennon and McCartney did when they they were truly a songwriting team. I think by the time they did Sgt. Pepper they were working seperately (despite the "Lennon-McCartney" credits.) I like those songs, too, just not as much. None of this is to say they SHOULDN'T have worked apart, or for that matter, the Beatles shouldn't have split up when they grew apart. I'm strongly believe in individuality and artistic freedom, even if I sometimes don't like the results as much.

    One final thought. When I was a kid--before high school and before I fully understood the band's dynamics--I assumed Ringo Starr was the most important Beatle, because he seemed to play the lead in all the movies!

    1. Kirk, I think that's funny about Ringo, I think he would assure you that he was and is the most important Beatle.

    2. Also, as far as groundbreaking and being there, that would be the Clash, I saw them with the Who, it was that exact same feeling that I had listening to the Beatles for the first time. It's amazing and delightful and happy all at once. I'm sure it's going to happen again! Can't wait to find out who it's going to be!

  4. For me, Rubber Soul is their seminal album, the one where they stepped up onto a new level. But they're all 'favorites.' I was four and a half on this day fifty years ago but I can remember it. More the buzz around it and how big a deal the adults were making of it than actually remembering the show. I'll be watching tonight too. ; )

  5. I don't know if my parents watched that show. I was not allowed to stay up that late. My parents didn't own any Beatles albums. I kind of doubt they watched it. They lived in a very strange, religious and Victorian world. It was like the 60's never happened.