Reheat the Beatles

February 9, 2014

“Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust … ”
— The Clash, “London Calling”

beatles1-620x400To begin to talk about the Beatles is to begin to talk about water, so pertinent, pervasive and invisible is their influence. So necessary they are.

You can ignore the Beatles, and it is a simple thing to forget about them, but to say that you don’t like them makes no sense. You don’t like water? You are water, amigo.

Or maybe not. There certainly are people who profess to not like the Beatles, although we shouldn’t pretend that those contrarian impulses are any more important than they are. The Beatles — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — are monumental, essential to anyone’s understanding of the second half of the 20th century. For better or worse they changed the meaning of pop music; they have transcended taste.

The sounds they made are imprinted on generations, so that the only real question is — is it is necessary to buy Beatles anymore? The ubiquity of the sound argues against systemic collection. There are radio stations that pump Beatles into the atmosphere 24/7; the choruses hang in our collective consciousness like spun-sugar cobwebs. They stick sweetly on our faces, alternately annoying and delighting us.

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