Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ode to the Beatles

Like legions of Beatlemaniacs before me, I grew up on a steady diet of the Fab Four and there was no denying their ubiquity or their ability to write an infectiously catchy song.

Unlike the rest of the world, my introduction to the Beatles came via Alvin, Simon and Theodore. As a very young child, I received a combination cassette and record player for Christmas. The record player was the obvious winner in terms of fun, and my parents had graciously handed down a few of their favorite childhood albums. Mixed in among them was a particularly intriguing record entitled "Alvin and the Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits."

This was at the height of the 1980s Chipmunks Resurrection (Remember The Chipmunk Adventure? That's another blog post for another time...) and here I was unknowingly listening to a genuine Chipmunks artifact that had been released in 1964. All chipmunks aside, the songs they were singing were fantastic and already somewhat familiar to me from listening to the local oldies station. To this day, I can't hear the majority of those early Beatles songs (P.S. I Love You, Love Me Do, Do You Want To Know A Secret, etc.) without hearing the Chipmunks' version in my head.

Having only heard the Beatles catalog that the Chipmunks covered or the radio acknowledged, however, I didn't become a true Beatles fan until one fine summer in the middle of high school. I noticed my local library's extensive Beatles collection and decided to see if there were any other good Beatles songs that I hadn't heard before. Needless to say, there were a few. A few dozen, in fact.

I've spent most of the day with the Beatles in the background, pondering how a band could be so fantastically productive in such a short period of time. Without waxing too poetic, it seems like they have an appropriate song for nearly every emotion and every time of life. It's not just that you can find a happy Beatles song or a sad Beatles song. You can actually find a Beatles song that expresses the exact kind of happy or sad that you happen to be feeling at the time. I can't think of another musical group that even approaches that level of songwriting.

On a day like today, it's got to feel pretty good to be an ex-Beatle. The world is in awe of something you did more than 40 years ago and your creative contributions to culture are still affecting people on a daily basis. With the release of Beatles Rock Band and the remastered Beatles albums , all those never-played-on-the-radio musical gems are going to be revealed to a whole new generation of casual Beatles fans. Heck, I'm still discovering "new" Beatles songs that hadn't struck me before.

At a time when our country and our world are increasingly divided, it's encouraging to see that the Beatles haven't lost their ability to let us Come Together, at least for a day.

Potentially Related Posts:
How Rock Band Changed My Life

The Concert of a Lifetime


ap said...
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ap said...

My first introduction to rock music also came via the Chipmunks but our well-played cassette was "Chipmunk Punk." Imagine "My Sharona" sung in Alvin's voice.