Don't get me wrong; I love The Beatles. I just don't LOVE The Beatles. At least, not the way I used to. The 22 year-old in me is probably a bit pissed at my 42 year-old self about this revelation. You see, twenty years ago I was a full-fledged, self-confessed Beatlemaniac. I practically ate, drank, and slept Beatles (it also means I probably shat them out as well.) It all started when a high school friend and I went to see a cover band play--ironically--at our high school. I was 20 years old. Before the band hit the stage, my friend and I were just having a conversation about how absolutely batshit crazy we thought Beatles fans were in the 1960s: crying, screaming, idol-obsessed wackos, beating their hands against their breasts and crotches. Two-and-a-half hours later, I was probably bruising my own private parts with Fab Four-induced delirium. The Beatles bug had bit me--hard. But it wasn't just the fact that they were cute with their little dark moptops. It was the music, man, the music! So. Deep. I quickly took a liking anything they recorded after 1965. Later that year, I learned about a fun phone number called The Beatlephone, run by the late and great Beatles expert extraordinare, Joe Pope. Joe and I became friends and penpals (this was back in the day before email existed, so receiving a typed letter in the mail from Joe was a treat.) I also subscribed to his fanzine publication, the aptly named Strawberry Fields Forever. But the Beatlephone was a unique concept--a Boston-based phone number with a voicebox that Joe had set up where he could record about 2 minutes of the latest Beatles news, and allow fans to leave messages with their own news bits that he often passed along. Joe didn't realize at the time (well, none of us did) that he was pioneering social media with this concept. And Joe was a full-fledged RIOT; a creative, hilarious, talented man--all of which shone through in his magazine and phone commentary. I was a faithful caller and subscriber to SFF until he passed away of cancer in 1999. Joe's death definitely knocked the stuffing out of being a Beatles fan--he was so closely associated with the group in the Beatlemaniac community that it was as if a fifth Beatle or their manager you knew personally had died. After a few years, I moved on. I had no choice. I explored other vintage singers and bands--and became a big Bobby Darin fan as most people know. Once in a while, I did listen to a Beatles album on purpose--and to be honest, it hurt my heart knowing that Joe was no longer with us.
Now the world is getting ready to recognize the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show--Monday, February 9, to be exact. The marquee outside of David Letterman's studio was revised to appear exactly as it did on February 9, 1964, and there will be a tribute show airing on CBS Sunday night called “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America-A Grammy Salute." Yawn. As the anniversary looms closer, I'm realizing how ambivalent I am about the whole occasion. It kind of narrows down to these reasons: No Joe Pope around to provide witty commentary and news about the anniversary. It just plain sucks. No need to elaborate. We only have the Fab Two now. No offense to Paul and Ringo, but that kinda sucks. Even without John Lennon, I'd love to see a Beatles "reunion" on a stage if George were still with us. After The Beatles broke up in 1970, one would occasionally end up in another's music studio to play or sing on each other's songs. It just isn't anything special or remarkable. Paul McCartney's music ever since Linda passed away is pretty meh (in my opinion, anyway.) I mean, have you heard this new "Queenie Eye" song? I'd rather listen to "Temporary Secretary." And "peace and love, peace and love, stop sending me fan mail you mother&^%ers" Ringo...well, we won't go there. I do love "Give Me Back the Beat" though. That should have been a bona fide top 40 hit! Speaking of Linda, things hit the skids after she passed away, too. It took me a while to warm up to Linda but once I did, I admired her for her down-to-earthness and love of animals. After she passed away, the world was introduced to Heather Mills. Enough said. At least we still have Yoko, right? Hmmmm. (Just kidding. I actually have a ton of respect for Yoko, too.) I don't really care for covers of Beatles music. It may be a strange thing, but I never really enjoy it when others cover Beatles music. A friend gave me the soundtrack to I Am Sam years ago and I only listened to it once. I think it's because the group added so many unique nuances to their tunes (unusual instruments, snippets being played backwards, etc.) that the songs are cemented in my cerebral cortex to sound best when played that way. Ain't nothing like the real thing, as the old saying goes. 1964 Wasn't When the Band Was Actually Formed Everyone is acting like the band didn't exist until their Ed Sullivan Show appearance, but in reality the band had already been making waves in the UK a year prior to that. British fans were already stir-crazy over them, and suddenly had to share them with us celebrity-obessed Americans. Ringo joined the band in 1962; hence, the now-infamous line up of the group was formed. But we're talking 1962--how come there wasn't more hoopla over the 50th anniversary of THAT date? Instead of watching the CBS special, I think it would be more interesting to watch the original Ed Sullivan Show that aired that night in its entirety. Besides a young Davy Jones, you get a feel for the torturous wait the producers put Beatles fans through as they had to sit through Ed talking to Topo Gigio and contortionists spinning plates on their heads (OK, I'm speculating on those last acts.) I've always said that The Beatles are classic; you can put them away for a period of time and when you dust off and play one of their records, the songs are just as fresh and new as the first time you heard them. So maybe that's what I'm waiting for. Waiting for that passion to return. Are you excited about the 50th anniversary? Or could you care less?
Hi, I'm Pam - thanks for visiting Go Retro! If you've ever been called an old soul like I have, or you were lucky enough to actually live during the mid-20th century in America, then you're in the right place!
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