In Praise of The Beatles

By Michelle S. RSS Wed, December 8, 2010

Growing up, I always placed myself on the Rolling Stones side of the Stones v. Beatles debate. My mom is a big Stones fan, and I grew up listening to their music quite a bit. Not that I wasn't aware or wasn't a fan of The Beatles--"Yellow Submarine" was a particular childhood favorite, as was "Michelle", of course. But as I got older, I became involved in community theater, making friends with a fantastically quirky bunch of people who liked to spontaneously burst into song--particularly Beatles songs--and I developed a greater appreciation of the fab four. I initially started listening to more of The Beatles simply because I wanted to know the lyrics to the songs my friends were singing and not have to sort of mumble awkwardly and pretend to know what was up.

(True story: One time, everyone started singing "From Me To You," and upon hearing the line, "Everything you want...", I interjected, "You got it!"  Silence. Nope, not the Roy Orbison song. Sigh. I never was much of a fitter-inner!)

But as I continued listening, I REALLY started liking The Beatles, so much so that my mom got a little worried (ha). They have served as the score to significant moments in my life, from sitting in my car on the final day of high school, waching everyone leave and listening to "Let it Be" to kicking off my wedding reception with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" and "With a Little Help From My Friends". As I learned more about the group--about the writers behind the songs--I noticed that John Lennon wrote many of my favorites: "Revolution", "In My Life", "Come Together", etc. Though he can't take credit for my absolute favorite Beatles tune,"Eleanor Rigby", Lennon remains to me one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. It's difficult to believe that he was killed now 30 years ago.

If you're in the mood to re-listen to a few of your favorite Beatles albums, the Free Library has an excellent collection of their music and videorecordings, as well as several books, including the bestselling, authorized biography, The Beatles by Hunter Davies. One of our great librarians would know far better than I which Beatles books are worth checking out. And, though the discussion focuses on her entire body of work, I also recommend Annie Liebovitz's podcast from her 2008 Author Event--she took her iconic photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono mere hours before his death.

(And for the Rolling Stones fans out there, the Free Library also has a great collection of their material, too!)

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Man, I really loved the beatles. This post reminds me of when I was a kid. Too bad that most of the beatles are dead now!
Harry - olney
Sunday, December 12, 2010