I am currently directing a show for the Arrowtown Entertainers as part of Arrowtown Autumn Festival. It is called Beatlemania 64 and, unsuprisingly, is set in 1964 and features many songs from that era, predominately tunes by The Beatles. I have, therefore, been listening to a lot of their work over the past couple of months and have resumed my erratic relationship with their music.
When I first heard The Beatles, I loved them. They were jolly, had sing-a-long tunes, and were a lot better than most of the disco pap on the radio (I grew up in the 70s). Then I became a fan of punk. The Beatles - especially the hippy trippy stuff - was music for my parents' generation, and no self-respecting teenager listened to their parents' music: we had our own.
In later university years, their stuff was played and plundered and sampled at clubs. I appreciated their talents, thought it made for good cover material, but preferred The Stones. Then Oasis came along - the latest in a long line of Beatlemaniacs, and we had to hear all over again how wonderful they were. Everybody loved the Beatles, and if you wanted an ounce of individuality or point of difference, then they could not be your band of choice.
Now we are trying to get everyday people (who can sing but would be the first to admit they are not 'singers') to imitate their harmonies. And I am struck once again by their talent, but also their energy and enthusiasm. I'm still not a fan of the drug-addled Sgt Pepper days (I can't say I've ever heard a song that I thought would be improved by a sitar, a kazoo, or maracas - or a ukulele for that matter, but that's another story), but I admit they have produced some fine tunes in their time.
5 Favourite Beatles Songs:
- I Saw Her Standing There - one of the first songs of theirs I ever heard, and they made teenage romance sound cool rather than ooky
- If I Fell in Love with You - so simple and effective and honest
- Eight Days a Week - happy, happy, happy, and then they throw in a minor chord or two for the angst
- Eleanor Rigby - I'm a sucker for a cello and the double string quartet arrangement on this track is excellent. Like Simon & Garfunkel's A Most Peculiar Man, the year before, it was quite a shock for a happy go lucky band to sing a song about loneliness, isolation and depression - and it was so good!
- Paperback Writer - love the intro; love the harmonies; love the heavier bass; love the lyrics - as a wannabe writer myself, I would probably have to say this is my favourite!