A Beatles Refresher Course for Pups and Middle-Aged Rookies
You may have heard that. But how much do you really know?
What I have found over the years, both in the record store and while conversing with my friends, is that most people recognize the Beatles brilliance, but their actual familiarity with the music itself doesn't go very deep into the catalog.
I don't just mean the young pups... I mean middle-aged cats like me. After all, I'm 48 now. That means I was five when The Beatles disbanded. By the time I started paying more serious attention to music, they were a decade gone. The only way to "go deep" once you are that far down the road.. is to do the aural research. Most people don't.
But you should, because it's worth it. You can start by reading the rest of this column.
What Do You Know About the Beatles, Geek?
Let me qualify something: I'm not even in the top realm of Beatles geeks in this world.
In fact, I'm just asking for trouble even writing this. But hey, last week I wrote about women (10 Female Artists That Might Help Guys Understand Girls), so obviously I love trouble. Next week, maybe I'll do Star Trek.
But seriously folks, even beyond the ultra-geeks, there's a whole bunch of baby boomers (of which I am not a member, thank you) that lived through the Beatles, that bought the albums when they came out, saw them in concert, etc. They know more than me too.
But I know more than you (probably.)
Actually, as with all ramblings of this nature, it's all opinion anyway. So here's mine.
Listen to the Albums, My Friends
This is my advice if you are going to explore any artists worth their salt, but it's especially true with the Beatles. The albums are the true path to knowledge.
Like no other band, the Beatles led the charge of turning the album into a piece of art itself, rather than just a collection of songs.
A jaunt through their discography shows the true development of the band. Their fearless exploratory natures. Their willingness, almost their addiction, to reinvent themselves with each new album.
I put the albums in two distinct periods:
Early. Please Please Me through Help! In the most basic terms, these are more song-collections than flowing albums. They were still touring, still in the middle of Beatlemania.
Late. Rubber Soul through Let It Be. This is when they really hit their stride. They stopped touring and started focusing entirely on the studio. Oh yeah, they turned up their drug use another notch. The results were some of the greatest albums of all time, and the greatest pop band of all time turning into a rock band.
Both periods are amazing. That's why The Beatles have earned the opening sentence of this blog. That's why I recommend that you take the journey through a career that will never be matched again in terms of popularity or artistic achievement.