I can’t be the only person who occasionally sits down, listens to the Beatles, and just thinks “what the fuck is this even” for half an hour.
I’m never quite sure what to say about them… I’ll freely admit I’m not a die-hard fan and I don’t know the more popular ones, but the ones I do know are so bizarre I’m usually at a loss when it comes up in conversation.
You have the almost-normal ones – With a Little Help From My Friends and Yesterday are the ones I’ll use as examples. They’re great songs – I’m not using “normal” to mean “average” in this case, so much as “not insane.” There’s nothing in these songs that makes you double-take and give the radio a really weird look.
There are the ones reaching the stage of musically sublime –
Examples: Dear Prudence and Across the Universe. These are the ones that explain the band’s popularity for me. True, they weren’t hugely popular (at least Prudence wasn’t), but everything from lyrics to melody to instrumentals were amazing and seem to reach an almost spiritual level.
Then we have “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which always has and always will sound like it was written by a five-year-old, and not a particularly bright one at that. “When I touch you I feel happy inside. It’s such a feeling that my love, I can’t hide.” And that’s one of the most complex parts.
And finally we have my personal favorites: the off-the-wall three-hits-of-ecstacy stoned-out-of-the-solar-system classics. Examples: I Am the Walrus and Come Together.
I made a comment (in a group with drastically mixed ages) about the Beatles’ “inspiration,” and was amazed to find resistance and even offense by someone present (someone much older than I, although that’s not too difficult). I assumed it was just an accepted fact that a lot of these songs were probably helped along by some happy farmers (really happy farmers).
The protest from the man was that “the Beatles were one of the best bands in history.” Now, I disagree, but it has nothing to do with drug use. A group’s musical ability and recreational habits are separate things for me; a band can be fine lyricists and use drugs, or they can be upstanding-citizen, never-touched-a-cigarette types and still suck (and vice versa on those two scenarios).
The Beatles were fine in some areas, but you can’t tell me lyrics like “he got toe-jam football” and “I am the apeman, they are the apeman, I am the walrus, coo-coo cachoo” were written sober. I think it says a lot about that whole era that those two songs ended up on the radio at all.
Anyway, I’ll request opinions from people who know the band better and maybe were born before the 90s. 🙂 *requests*