Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Ah, sweet. I didn't catch this Sunday night, the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of The Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. But I caught the encore showing tonight and was glad I did.

Yes, there were missed opportunities, especially when it came to the selection of musical artists who performed some of The Beatles...I was gonna say hits, but most Beatles songs were "hits" Some worked and some didn't. But when they did work, man, it was sweet. And I mean that in every sense.

I used to get into arguments with fans who put down The Beatles for writing songs that weren't edgy enough (obviously that view is highly selective) etc. and preferred The Stones (yeah, that perennial battle). But for me, the most consistently great songwriters and performers of my era (and I'm around the same age as most of The Beatles) were...The Beatles.

And as for The Stones' bad boy image and all that. To me they were posers back when we were all young, though I grew to appreciate them, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts especially.  Yet even though Mick wrote some great rock'n'roll anthems, and could be entertaining, he was a business school major and a major diva who knew how to milk every opportunity (and I'm saying that even from personal experience the few times I was around him).

To me The Beatles were more romantic and sweet and upbeat and optimistic, and all that, because they all had such heavy backgrounds of loss and deprivation and were obviously committed to finding a way to not only survive but transcend all that. And it helped, in my case, that three of them were obviously of Irish descent and displayed the kind of humor I found most fun.

And that's what made the present day part of the tribute to that night half a century ago so great, because every time Paul, and especially Ringo, were on stage, and especially when they were together for their half of a Beatles reunion, they were so loose and warm and open and friendly and joyful and uncalculating or self-centered (and both their voices were amazingly on key almost for every note, Paul even hitting the high ones, despite their being in their 70s!) that the spirit of those earlier times that they had done so much to augment and even generate, that lightness and lack of cynicism (that's what always killed me about The Stones was the cynicism, especially when sung by a business school graduate who was as calculating and at least pretend cynical as any corporate greed head) created a sense of easy elation that brought them back and right into my heart to fulfill the promise that was always implied if not outright stated in their art, the promise of satisfaction.

Musically, mentally and spiritually, I never felt "I can't get no satisfaction" when listening to The Beatles. I just wanted to be one of them.


JenW said...

Hey, I did exactly the same- and was so happy. My mother was from Formby, a little seaside village not far from Liverpool so John, Paul, George & Ringo were called "our boys" in our house. We grew up dancing to Ruby Tuesday too but as you wrote, the Beatles are sweeter & more romantic for sure. RIP John & George. Touching review & spot on in my opinion. Thanks M.

AlamedaTom said...

"And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make."

Preach it brother.

~ Willy