Monday, November 30, 2020

With the Beatles

A few years ago, I requested and received The Beatles Anthology, a DVD set containing a television documentary about The Beatles that was broadcast in the US in 1995.

Only recently have I started watching this documentary. So far, it is fantastic. I'm through the first three parts, taking me up to 1964 of their history. The Beatles have returned from conquering America, and released their movie, A Hard Day's Night. The documentary contains footage from television appearances, concerts, and old interviews. From their early days in Germany, to their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, it's a marvel seeing the young John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. In the documentary they're playful, sardonic and seemingly well grounded. There is no interviewer or host or voice-over narration, which somehow makes the footage more immersive.

Growing up, we had the red and blue Beatles compilation albums on vinyl. It would have been something my parents bought as I don't remember clamoring for it. And while I no longer remember the exact moment I heard about The Beatles, I can say with good certainty that the radio brought them to my attention. Radio was still king when I was growing up in the 1970s and 80s.

My appreciation of them has only grown over the years. I have a box set of their music, and I made it a project to listen to every album. Their songs, progressively complex as they grew, are still catchy, potent and accessible. It's effortless to dip into their music. My favorite album of theirs (and a Top Five album of all time) is "Revolver", released in 1966 and featuring "Eleanor Rigby", "Yellow Submarine", and "Taxman".

I'm fond of saying that The Beatles are firmly in humanity's subconsciousness. Their music will be played for centuries, passed on from generation to generation, and constantly interpreted and performed by musicians. Paul McCartney was recently interviewed and when asked about The Beatles he said (in a massive understatement) "It was a great group." Indeed!