The Beatles are on iTunes!

10 12 2010

The  Beatles seem to make a come back every so often, and iTunes is this generation’s Beatles comeback.  So I decided to reprise the Beatles and rediscover them for the umpteenth time for this blog post.  The Beatles made an impact on my life when I was a child.  I don’t remember all the details but I do remember the way-out disconnectedness and psychedelia that sent my mind to unfamiliar places and even gave me nightmares with the experimental, boundary breaking A Day In The  Life.  That  song freaked me out and I loved it!

Strawberry fields, nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about.  That’s what the Beatles are telling me right now.  They say it’s hard to be someone when you misunderstand what you see.  And in the Blue Jay Way they say, ‘Please don’t be long, please don’t you be very long.  Or I may be asleep’ over and over again but what I heard them saying to me as the song builds is ‘Please don’t belong’.  The Timothy Leary message comes through loud and clear.  LSD is a powerful drug and when used in making music the trip can certainly be sent through to the listener, especially when the listener is tripping too.  Those boys were tricky, but I don’t think they quite meant to do everything they did, they were just messing around.

When you set out to send a message to the masses you have to know that you’re actually going to get to some of them, and some minds will be blown.  And when you blow minds, you’re no longer just another person; you’re an icon for breaking some new ground.  The Beatles surely blew minds, and people followed them like lemmings, putting meaning to the artists’ lyrics and music wherever they would fit conveniently into their lives to provide a sense of belonging to the movement.  Charlie Manson and company unfortunately used Helter Skelter and Piggies as marching orders for their madness.  Would Charlie’s death guild have come to pass if the Beatles had not recorded those tracks?  It’s a question to be asked, but impossible to answer correctly.

The Beatles were victims themselves to the LSD trap, and that screwed them.  Sure it opened windows to new ideas and broke them free from the sappy love songs that brought them pop stardom and helped propel them to greater heights, but just like every burnout hippie, they found out that LSD takes you down mysterious and tricky paths that all lead to dead ends.  No mortal is powerful enough to tame that beast, but while they were there, they wired it for sound with the technology of the time and gave us The Magical Mystery Tour.

The introspection of the trips and the way they turned their insights back on one another changed the pop hit makers into studio trippers experimenting with sound pushing the evolution of music to new extremes.  By the time they recorded Abbey Road and Let it Be, they were done, grizzled old men ready to walk away from it all, but at that same time they were perfectly ripe with brilliance and genius dripping from their finger tips and with the new sound it was just too much and too good to be able  to carry on.

If only they could have come together and kept it together for a few more albums with the new studio and let John be John and Yoko and let the Beatles evolve we would have surely had some majestically mature Beatles recordings with the wisdom of experience, but all of that energy was too much to handle and it pulled them apart.  And when it came apart we got Paul McCartney, the solo artist.  If only John Lennon were still around to keep him in check.  John’s tormented soul was rock and roll; Paul was just a song writer who smoked pot.  Wings was OK and rocked a little bit but that was in the 70s so he got away with it.  Much of music in the 70s sucked, especially in the early 70s.  And Paul was there, sucking at the forefront.

It would be nice if the kids today could understand, if it were possible, what the Beatles did for music, to kick rock and roll up a notch or two and completely tweak all possibilities.  Listen to ‘Rock and Roll Music’ then ‘I’ll Follow the Sun’ followed up with ‘Mr. Moonlight’.  Sure, they took the lead from artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, but they brought their own irreverent rock and roll attitudes to us and even did their own weird brand of children’s music at times.  And they took it to the studio and, for the first time, recorded more than four tracks, they threw in recordings from home, playing them backwards and inside-out, creating layers that had never been thought of before, they even used synthesizers, and that broke open a new psychedelic music explosion that flipped the early 70s on its head and completely changed the direction music would take.  Everything was on tape in those days; digital was not a word at that time.  Check out ‘Revolution 9’.  They actually had to work to get it right.  And they did things like the intro to ‘Honey Pie’.

The Beatles were pop music and happy good times but that turned dark and twisted, they were tripped out, sometimes they wrote for children like with Yellow Submarine but then that  listening child was sent on a trip to new discoveries with ‘Hey Bulldog’ and ‘It’s All Too Much’ and then were brought back to that happy, safe place with ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Pepperland’.  They connected to everyone on some level because they worked to create music as art and not just to write love songs and make hits.  They showed us that we can do whatever we want to do when it comes to creating music, because it’s what we feel.  Just listen to ‘Dig a Pony’, ‘I Me Mine’ or ‘For You Blue’.  If we can express it through our instruments and then lay it down in some sort of order, track after track with our technology, we must thank the Beatles for what they did before we came around.

(image altered and used without permission)

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