Nowaday, The Beatles 60Th Anniversary Thank You For The Memories Shirt is so hot and be hunted by The Beatles fans to celebrate 60 years of the Beatles. People will tell you it was good timing because it aligned with societal changes. Or that there was a huge market because of the large population of baby boomers when the Beatles broke. Or that it was due to new trends of commercialization of music toward young people….Or any number of explanations crediting a beneficial alignment of cultural and market forces. Explanations like those miss the mark because they do not acknowledge the fundamental appeal that Beatles music holds for a large segment of humanity.
Granted, here are many people who do not enjoy Beatles music, and who don’t consider it sophisticated, original, or interesting. However in any of the past four generations across much of the world’s cultures it seems like a large enough percentage thinks that the Beatles are special. So it is really those who think that they are special, to whom this question should be asked. Those who do not focus on the music, but talk about peripheral effects, are typically those who have never been gripped by Beatles’ music – So they miss that the heart of the Beatles enduring appeal is the music. The music is what has created a new fan base in in each successive generation.
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Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra each dominated music during their generations, and in fact their music does continue to create a new fan base in successive generations – However it is far more limited. It appears that their appeal is on a diminishing trend. The Beatles, on the other hand, are able to sustain much higher popularity to the present generation. This is a tribute to more than just style, quality of voice, musicianship, and looks. It has to do with how fresh their music still sounds to the modern ear, and to the quality of melodies and harmonies and the large range of musical genres that they used.
Musical analysts can actually explain why their song melodies, harmonies, and rhythm (and for some, lyrics) are particularly beautiful, catchy, unusual, and unexpected. It has to do with surprising but satisfying chords, modulations, time signature changes, etc all overlayed against very appealing and memorable tunes. The melodies themselves would not be sufficient, even though they are memorable. It is the melody blended with the dynamics of the other musical elements in the song that works. Finally, it is the rapid development of their music skills which is fascinating and inspires awe. People can appreciate their earliest songs, but it is unbelievable how the song writing evolves at such a rapid pace through their entire career. There is really no weak period in their career – they go from strength to strength.
They also were extremely prolific, recording an average of about 3 songs per month over their career – and most of the songs were so good that people speak of almost every one like it is a unique gem in a collection of gems. If those songs continue to resonate with a large percentage of new generations of children, their music will never go stale and passe – and their catalogue will live with the ages – just like famous folk songs and the big numbers from Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Chopin.
What did The Beatles teach me? Well, it’s easy for me to say The Beatles taught me that all we need is love, but I will answer this with more practical way. The Beatles consists of 4 different personalities. For me, there is no band in the world whose career story is just as interesting as their work. Their story is our lesson and I think it’s not too much to say The Beatles is philosophers of the 20th century. Gradually I heard the music playing all over the radio. Chicago Loop 97.9 played Beatles A-Z every June. Every Beatles song ever recorded in alphabetical order. Within a year, I began borrowing Magical Mystery Tour and Hard Day’s Night from my brother’s room. Putting the needle on the records, I played and listened and learned every word. From there, I bought the albums. All of them. And taped Beatles A-Z. I had everything within a matter of years. Then came the movies.
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Hard Days Night. I watched and couldn’t get enough of the Fab Four. HBO did a fantastic documentary on the Beatles that I must have watched 100 times. I was hooked and by the time I was 16, they had become my personal God. What hooked me was hard to pinpoint. It was more than their charisma, their charm. The musical explosion that filled my adolescent consciousness carried with it something so alive and real. More real than school. More alive than my parents. I loved them so much it hurt. Every December 8th, I quietly celebrated and remembered John Lennon. That was a holiday for me. Like Martin Luther King Jr. day. I drove around in my car blaring Imagine and singing along. I even quit smoking on this day in 2000 so that I’d never forget the date. I never have.
Always singing those sensitive John lyrics…. Imagine no religion…it’s easy if you try. When Imagine, the movie came out, I could barely move. It was the best documentary and in-depth look of John Lennon I had ever seen. The ending, which depicted his death and tons of fans lamenting was so powerful and I wept in the cinema and for hours after. I thought that no one could understand how much I loved my God, the Beatles- and in particular, John Lennon.
As soon as I was out of college, I moved to London and did all the Beatles tours- there and in Liverpool. I walked around Liverpool and never once got lost- why? Because (I imagined) my John Lennon God was guiding me. I was 22. It was the most exciting trip, like visiting heaven. Then was the death of George, 2001. Oh, my George. My sensitive God George who introduced me to the Maharishi and India and all things spiritual. When he died, I was alone in my grief- driving in my car singing “Give me Love! Give me Love! Give me peace on earth!” at the top of my lungs screaming out my grief. All I could feel was such a deep love for humanity. For life. My heart broke open in a way that some describe around a Guru. It was glorious. It wasn’t until later in my life when I really understood why the Beatles meant so much to me and what they did for humanity. As I watched them play at Shea Stadium on film, August 1966, I began to see the audience as one giant organism that was coming out of a huge shell, crawling out of a traditional mindset- liberating everyone in its path. I saw the Beatles on this crappy little stage playing as vehicles for the largest burst of consciousness the world has ever seen.
The crowd was screaming, girls were crying, grabbing on to the fences and testing the police. Finally, you can buy The Beatles 60Th Anniversary 1960 2020 Thank You For The Memories Shirt at Moteefe, if you love them. I got it. It was more than just four men- it was a fucking Revolution in consciousness. And that is what I was in touch with all along. That Revolution. That freedom from rules and tradition and the mythical God. They were at the center of that. They were the next step after The Renaissance- and oh so post-modern. Another leap away from the hard rule followers, the judgers. And so the Dreamers were born in us. The sensitive self that will always believe in Love.