Thursday 12 February 2015

The Beatles Were Not Gods

The other day was the anniversary of The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9th 1964 and they were featured the two following Sundays. I remember sitting on the floor in front of the TV mesmerized by what I was seeing. It wasn’t the music that I was amazed by, but more by the reaction of the audience. I didn’t know why, but I knew I was witnessing something extraordinary.
For the next couple of years I tried very hard not to like the Beatles music, mainly because of the reaction teenage girls had to them. They were good looking, talented, rich and were genuinely nice guys. How can a normal kid compete when the mark has been set so high? Like I say, I tried to hate them but the music came from somewhere deep inside the human soul and you couldn’t help but tap your toe to the beat.

It seemed that throughout my formative teen years there was always a Beatles tune on the radio either going up the charts or slowly drifting down that same chart. Most of the important moments of my young life were accompanied by a tune from the Beatles. My first date, my first dance, my first kiss and the first time I experimented with altered states of consciousness had the Beatles as witnesses. In many ways, they are responsible for the man I am today, but I’m told I have no actual grounds for the lawsuit.
I can remember where I was the first time that I heard Abbey Road, down in Dick Palumbo’s basement apartment. Tony Vella came in the day it was released and we listened in amazement at how they were so in tune with us. It was a truly memorable experience that will stay with me always.

Dick and Tony were draft dodgers from the states and much further into the counter culture than I ever was. A few years later, Dick put his hand through a plate glass window and saw God. After that he quit drugs and ran a Christian commune in northern Alberta. Tony and I connected a few years later through astral travel while he was stoned in Florida and I was equally stoned in Toronto.
Today I finished reading “The Beatles Lyrics” edited by Hunter Davies. I have always been fascinated by the song writing process and to catch a glimpse into how my heroes wrote is a dream come true. What is that saying…be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. I always believed that the Beatles had a finger on the pulse of our generation, but it turns out that they produced music to order for whichever album they were contractually obligated to write.

Yes they were and are good songs and how they were written doesn’t take away from the fact that I was moved in positive ways. It doesn’t change that first kiss, date or dance and I probably would have enhanced myself organically anyways. I just wish that my heroes would stay heroes and not allow themselves to be human. To think that anyone given the right timing, circumstances and drive could do what the Beatles did is mind blowing.

Okay, not anyone could have done it and I still have those wonderful memories. The music still speaks to me even if the words actually meant something else entirely. Thank God for the Beatles and maybe we should give thanks that the Beatles were not Gods.

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