Saturday, May 16, 2015

Beatles Haters: They Walk Among Us

I personally know several people who will hate this blog post. I apologize in advance to those people, but sometimes certain things need to be written, even if it means some people may feel affronted. I am sure there were some folks who were very upset when the Manga Carta was written in 1215, but that didn’t stop the Archbishop of Canterbury from writing it, because he knew that it was necessary. Now, 800 years later, this blog post needs to be written, and so I have written it.

About four years ago, I was having a conversation with a coworker about music and she mentioned that she hates the Beatles. At 41 years old, I had gone my whole life to that point without ever coming across someone who said that and I was dumbfounded. Before I could edit what was coming out of my mouth I said, “Do you also hate food and people?” Fortunately she laughed, even though I wasn’t necessarily joking. “I know, I know,” she said. “I get that reaction a lot.” She went on to explain that she grew up during the height of the Beatles popularity (she’s about ten years older than me) and everyone loved the Beatles so much that due to her inherently rebellious nature, her reaction was to despise them, if for no other reason than she was expected to love them. I get that to some extent, as I sometimes have that reaction to enormously popular movies. For example, I felt that way about Avatar, but the difference is that whereas Avatar was mediocre, the Beatles were amazing.

That night when I came home from work I told my wife this seemingly unbelievable news about my coworker and she revealed to me that someone on her side of the family (who shall remain nameless) also hates the Beatles. “What!?! You mean there are two people on this planet who feel this way???” I was flabbergasted. Were these people delusional? In denial? Living with an as yet unidentified genetic disorder? I had a hard time wrapping my mind around it.

In the four years since that inauspicious day I have stumbled across a couple of other anti-Beatles people in a rock music chat room I created on Facebook. Every time I learn of someone new who hates on the Beatles I feel a little twinge of pain somewhere down in the core of my being. It’s not like I’m some closed-minded idiot who feels like everyone should like the exact same music I like (indeed, my favorite band is actually Rush, and I’m completely fine with the fact that there is a very large contingent of people who can’t stand them), but rather that the Beatles’ music: a) seems inherently likeable; b) contains such a wide variety of styles that there’s something there for everyone; and c) laid the foundation for all rock and pop music that came after it. To me, saying “I like rock music, but I hate the Beatles,” is akin to saying “I like beds, but I hate mattresses.” It simply doesn’t make sense.

Originally I was going to spend the rest of this post explaining to those who hate the Beatles why they should, in fact, love them, by describing the joy and/or brilliance of specific albums and songs in minute detail. But unfortunately, I believe this would be like trying to explain advanced calculus to a canary (or to me for that matter).  Instead, I’ll just leave off with an appropriate lyric from each one of the Fab Four.

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” –John Lennon, Strawberry Field Forever

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly.” –Paul McCartney, Blackbird

“And the people, who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion, never glimpse the truth.”
– George Harrison, Within You Without You

“Resting our head, on the sea bed, in an octopus's garden near a cave.”
– Ringo Starr, Octopus’s Garden 

Alright, so maybe Ringo wasn’t the world’s most profound lyricist, but that doesn’t mean you should hate the Beatles.