Michael’s Music Blog Volume I: The Beatles

Why I love the Fab Four

Michaels Music Blog Volume I: The Beatles

Michael Rock

Anyone who even remotely knows me knows that I’m a huge Beatles fan. Beatlemaniac would be a more appropriate term. My room is adorned with Beatles posters, I have an extensive collection of their albums and I usually listen to one entire Beatles album everyday.

Like most people, I’ve always had a cursory knowledge of the Beatles’ story, and I would say I’ve always considered myself a fan, but I only became a mega fan in April of 2015.

I remember the circumstances concerning my becoming such a fanatic very well. It was April 1 and I read online that John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia had died. For some reason I was compelled to go to Barnes and Noble and buy a copy of Cynthia’s book “John”, which is a memoir about her life with John Lennon. I devoured the book in less than a week, and by the time I was done I had developed a strong fascination with John Lennon.

Looking back now, almost two years later, I can’t really understand how such a simple event lead to such a strong passion. I doubt I could understand it then. Be it fate or whatever, my obsession with The Beatles began suddenly and developed even faster, like a snowball rolling down a hill.

While the majority of the Beatles songs were credited to Lennon/McCartney, a good amount of those songs were only written by either John Lennon or Paul McCartney, with mostly songs in their early career actually being written 50/50, or “nose to nose” as Lennon often said. Learning this, I discovered that I greatly preferred songs penned by John Lennon. In particular the songs “In My Life”, “Nowhere Man”, “Tomorrow Never Knows”, “Help!” and “Across The Universe” resonated with me.

What appeals to me about John Lennon’s style as opposed to that of Paul McCartney is that Lennon’s music was real and raw, while Paul’s feels fake and less personal. You could feel the emotions of the lyrics in your bones. Listening to his songs, you can tell that Lennon was a genius, albeit a very troubled one. Lennon was plagued by tragedy and misfortune throughout his life. His mother died when he was 16 years old, and his father deserted him when John was born. Consequently John was a very rebellious youth, who smoked, drank and got in fights. His only passion in life was music, and he followed that passion. He turned his pain into art that inspires people across the globe even to this day, 36 years after his untimely death.

Trying to formulate what John Lennon and The Beatles mean to me is not an easy task. The music of the Beatles has impacted me in ways that no other band has. The Beatles sang of hope, love, happiness, compassion and understanding. These emotions are intrinsic to the human experience. Their songs are often optimistic and happy. Try to listen to “She Loves You” or “The Word” without smiling. But they also have songs that explore the darker part of the human psyche. Listen to “Yesterday” or “Yer Blues”, a song that influenced grunge rock nearly 40 years before it was officially invented. These sounds are almost crushingly depressing. Listen to “For No One”, a song about a breakup that’s hidden behind a happy melody. In a way, there’s a Beatles song for every emotion and event a person can experience. There’s no other band I know of that has such an expansive repertoire.

The world of music in 2017 is vastly different from the one that the Beatles were active in. In the 46 years since the Beatles called it a day and broke up, music has gone through many phases and stages of evolution. However, their influence has been felt in each and everyone of those stages. In the 1970’s, punk pioneers the Ramones took the Beatles’s style of pop and added a new, youthful spin on it. The 1980’s saw pop music become infused with disco and funk music. Michael Jackson, the most popular artist of that decade, used the Beatles sense of melody and combined it with the popular music of the day. Jackson even collaborated with Paul McCartney on several songs, such as “The Girl is Mine” from Thriller. In the 1990’s, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana combined the simple yet innovative chord structure of early Beatles songs with the energy of the punk movement. A few months ago, a song called “Black Beatles” tore up the charts. The Beatles’ influence can be felt everywhere, and I think the world is a better place for that. As George Harrison said in the midst of the Beatles’ break up, “The Beatles will exist without us”, and indeed they have.