“Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.”
As I sit down to write this article about one of my favourite bands of all time, I cannot help but listen to their songs seeking inspiration. I am absolutely ‘gobsmacked’ [they’re British] when I hear my most loved Beatles song, Strawberry Fields Forever. What is it about The Beatles that 50 years since they’re arrival on the music scene still captivates listeners around the world? What was it about them that generates an appreciative hysteria among music lovers?
As I sit here, and try to pen the cult that the Beatles were, the most important point to be made would be the Beatles themselves. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrisson made what can now be deemed a rock and roll classic. While The Beatles beautifully indulged themselves in pop, psychedelic rock, classic rock, and came at a time when Elvis Presly was the rock and roll hero, the focus for rock and roll enthusiasts got conveniently shifted from America to the UK. And just when the Beatles were around, the Bee Gees were crooning Joh Travolta’s story to the disco and subsequent death. People reveled and celebrated the average street monger and his story, and here were four boys in the middle of the most ultimate popularity spiral that music had ever known.
Bringing to birth, ‘Beatlemania’, the band created such an intense mass hysteria even while enjoying a no. 1 position in the UK, much before their touchdown in the U.S. While the band brought about a new style in album covers with Abbey Road, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, White Album, (the covers having been revisited and imitated countless times) it also brought to the fore the creative genius of the band’s most influential members, Lennon and McCartney who perhaps had one of the most successful lyric partnerships of all time. And while the avant-garde music of The Beatles was one of the biggest reasons that made the band so popular, one needs to understand the immense impact the band had on society. While Lennon, a subtle atheist once commented that the Beatles were more popular then Jesus, just perhaps, he had measured the band’s impact just about correctly. Whatever The Beatles did, sang or spoke would be revisited, come what may.
The influence that the Beatles enjoy cannot be mentioned in mere words. During the group’s decline, as Lennon slowly went on to form a partnership with artist Yoko Ono and the others kick-started their own solo careers, they still remained in the news. With their songs enjoying countless covers by esteemed artists like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Elton John, Frank Sinatra among others, they could perhaps be called the most revisited musical band of all time. Lennon’s peace movement with Ono and their “make love bed” made further paths to the hippies culture of 70’s, only to be fueled by their unabashed admittance to drug usage.
Which brings us back to one eternal question- What makes The Beatles eternal?
Beautiful music notwithstanding, lyrics that seems to transcend harsh social realities and enigmatic personalities of Lennon and McCartney can easily be the summarizing factors. Today, music lovers with a conscience cannot seem to not love Yhe Beatles and they still continue to be a cult. And while in another part of the world, people are trolling a heavily criticised young pop-star who claims to be as big as The Beatles, I end this and silently rue, that no he is not, and no, not many can be.