The other day, I was waiting in line at Blockbuster. Everything was fine until the trailer for Crank 2 came on right above the cash register. My testosterone levels revved up while the older folks in line rolled their eyes like their pupils were hamsters caught in wheels. When Revolutionary Road came on, the ladies were near tears while I ripped out a solid yawn. But when an ad for the new Beatles Rock Band game came on, everyone was watching.
I looked around and saw every person looking intently at the screen, tapping their feet and maybe subtly doing the twist. Whether it was a middle aged dude in a t-shirt and slacks or a twenty-something in a basketball jersey, happiness was permeating the room. Even the kids were admiring the Beatles, though the fact that it was a Rock Band ad probably had something to do with it. Three generations, all happy and content with what they were watching. How often does that happen?
The Beatles are important. Really, really important. Not just because they have a body of work that will rarely be duplicated in terms of quality, but because of what they represented. In fact, you can talk about how great the Beatles are without even mentioning their songs. The Beatles represented nearly every genre of music. They were a pop boy band and a hip rock-n-roll band at the same time. A guy in college and his tween little sister could listen to the Beatles and be captivated for completely different reasons, but they were both enthralled nonetheless.
The idea of pop music has changed so much since the Beach Boys and the Beatles that I can’t even imagine what it was like to live during that era of music. Modern rock has so many superficial genre boundaries that the audience often forgets to just put aside the labels and listen to some good tunes. I’ve been through so many pretenses in modern music that I almost assume that during the late ‘60s, Pink Floyd fans must have been dismissing the Beatles as just pop music.
The Beatles transcended the label “pop.” There was nothing choreographed or pre-written about the Beatles’ music. The songwriting on every Beatles record is so top-notch that its influence is universal. It’s near impossible to find a substantial songwriter over the last 20 years that hasn’t been influenced by the Beatles. Every member of the band had such considerable, unique talent that it was difficult not to be mesmerized by them. They didn’t just make great music — they represented what was great about music.The Beatles have been so significant that you could write pages about the band’s importance without even namedropping a single song. And why would you? The band covered such a giant spectrum of music that singling out anything would be doing a disservice to anyone who hasn’t heard the entire discography. Namedropping albums is mainly because bands have a distinguished peak where the rest of their material seems mediocre in comparison. Such is not the case with the Beatles, as their records are very different but all brilliant in their own way. You can argue any major Beatles album to be their best, and most fans would be respectful of your opinion.
So, let’s forget the fact that these remasters seem like an obvious money grab. It’s nice to have people talk about the Beatles, especially people that haven’t had a chance to listen to them properly. When it comes to the Beatles, there are two types of people: people that love them and people that just haven’t listened to enough of them.