Friday, May 22, 2009

The Beatles

With Abbey Road on the River (The Largest Beatles Festival in the world!) going on right now about 8 blocks away from where I'm sitting, I thought I'd take today and talk about The Beatles.

I never really know what to say when I try to explain why I love the Beatles so much. I've always said, with the exception of family and friends The Beatles and UofL basketball have had more of an effect on my life then anything else. It's a weird statement but it's extremely true.

For as long as I can remember I have loved the Beatles. There are videos of me playing the drums on pillows and singing, "Twist and Shout" and "Rock and Roll Music" while I'm still wearing a diaper. For my 4th birthday my mom made me a special Paul McCartney sweatshirt. I've become a big fan of some other bands over the years (My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Etc.) but the Beatles will always be held above all else. To put it quite simply, for me The Beatles are music.

So why is it? Why do I love the Beatles?

Well I actually know why and it's three separate reasons, each one I realized at a different point of my life.

1.) The Music. Clearly this is what drew me in from the start. From the time I was 2 I just couldn't get enough of that sound. I still don't know what it is exactly. The harmonies, the lyrics, the melodies? I'm not sure. What I am sure of is this...The Beatles were phenomenal in every aspect. They have a song for everyone. There sound is so diverse, so innovative...even by today's standards. Constantly I find myself listening to the Beatles and noticing a part in a song that never really hit me before. Just recently I realized how much I love the backing vocals on "You Won't See Me" and then I found myself really enjoying the simple sound of "Baby's in Black" I've heard each of those songs 100 times before, but just recently I started to really get into them. Someone snobby little hipster once told me, "I'm just over the Beatles. I mean I've heard all of their songs." I didn't hit him in the face, although I wanted to. I just kept quite and counted myself lucky...because even though I listen to the music over and over again...each listen makes me love it more and offers me something different.

2.) The Legend. I've had the "Beatles vs. Rolling Stones" argument about a million times in my life and while I really like the Stones and think of them as the 2nd greatest band ever, no one could ever convince me that they're better then the Beatles. The reason I think the Beatles are better is because they only recorded for 7 years. The Stones have been recording for over 40. Hell, even My Morning Jacket has been recording for 10. The Beatles put out 13 mind blowing albums in 7 years . Then just like that, they were done. Was it Yoko? Was it Paul? I think it was the fact that there were 3 of the greatest musical minds ever in one band and there were just too many ideas. Anyway, because of the way the Beatles broke up and because of the short recording career, we will always think of them as they were in their prime. I saw the Stones a few years ago and they were awesome...but they're old, they've still got some swagger, but they're not in their prime, they can't be. Sure we see Paul these days on i-pod commercials and he's old too...but when you think of the Beatles as a band you think of mop-tops, creativeness and most of all you think of coolness. No one is cooler then the Beatles, not Miles Davis...not anyone and because of they short era in which they were together and they way they broke up...the Beatles will forever be cool.

3.) The Impact. It wasn't until I attended my first Abbey Road on the River that I realized this one. Three years ago I sat in the lobby of a hotel at 4 a.m. in Louisville, KY. I was surrounded by probably 75 - 100 other people, some had guitars, one was at a piano, all were singing. But the best part is that among those 100 or so people there were people from Greece, Puerto Rico, Germany, Iceland, Finland, France, Japan, America, England, The Czech Republic, Ireland and more. We were there singing these songs together because the songs and the people who wrote them had touched all of our lives in some way. I will always remember the feeling that I felt as I looked around and sang along. I felt amazed. Amazed by the thought that 4 teenagers got together over 40 years ago and started a band because they loved music and over the next 40 years the music that those 4 kids made CHANGED THE ENTIRE FRIGGIN WORLD and will continue to change the world until the end of time. That my friends is something that will never ever happen again.

So this weekend I'll head down the street with my Sgt. Pepper's shirt on (I've had it since I was 8...it still fits) and I'll walk around in Louisville, KY and listen to the music of my favorite band and I'll sing and dance and enjoy it...but most of all I'll be thankful for the genius of those 4 long haired lads from Liverpool and the music they made.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Song of the Weekend: The Beatles - Revolution
Beer of the Weekend: Fullers - London Pride

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