Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Beatles

Because of my late obsession with the Beatles, I've decided to do a post on them. Yes, that's right, I'm going to scratch the surface of my knowledge of the Beatles and what they've done to the world.
We all know John, Paul, George, and Ringo. They've become icons over time because of their music and what they've contributed to rock & roll in general. Is that all they were? Did the extent of their influence end with their music?
No. The Beatles set off a movement that defined the 60's and the 70's and fueled the counterculture movement. They came into America with long hair (we look at their pictures now and think that was long?). The hair they had then was not the norm. The music they played was not your conventional music. The teenage generation (the babyboomers) fell head over heels in love with this band. Girls would faint at their concerts. Guys would scream like girls. For some reason, this generation was looking for someone to follow-- they looked to the Beatles and followed them right into rebellion against social norms.
Now every teenager wanted long hair. They didn't want to listen to classical music, they wanted music that rocked. When the Beatles got into drugs, their fans did too. When Lennon, in the first song ever meant to be listened to while high called Tomorrow Never Knows said "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream" what do you think the fans did? Drugs, and history tells us, were rampant. Promiscuous sex was everywhere. McCartney's "Why Don't We Do it In the Road" may have had something to do with that.
The generation which was once founded on solid principles dissolved into a culture of self satisfaction. Before the Beatles, songs had meanings, told stories, or love songs. The Beatles changed all that. They began the shift from concrete to abstract. You can see this if you look at their early songs. Here is an early song called Eight Days a Week.

"Ooo I need your love, babe guess you know it's true Hope you need my love babe just like I need you".

And here is a later song called I am the Walrus.

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together /See how they run like pigs from a gun see how they fly /I'm crying "

The lyrics went from concrete to abstract. It is not the lyrics that changed culture, it's the idea behind the writing of the lyrics. The idea is this: there is nothing of true value; there are no absolutes; therefore, no one can say that one word is better or worse than the next; I can put any words together that I want to simply because I want to. One message is no more virtuous than the next.
The Beatles came to be an example of lives lived without absolutes. Each one came to their own conclusions of how life should be lived. In the next few blogs, I will be giving brief histories of the individual Beatles' lives, and their searches for meaning in a world with no absolutes.

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