8 October 2012

Love, love them do

It is impossible to criticise the Beatles, I find. So elevated is their status as life-changing purveyors of art that altered Britain forever, that any attempt to make a negative comment about them is quickly refuted, shouted down or taken as coming from someone who doesn't know what's good for them.

See, while my mum and dad were exactly the right age to idolise the Beatles, they didn't. Mum thought they were good. Dad thought they were acceptable. Neither thought, even when the bandwagon's tyres had been deflated by the weight of the world jumping on it, that they were this colossal, uber-positive phenomenon that most people of that generation would have us believe.

There were people born in the 1940s and 1950s who disliked the Beatles, there really were. They disliked the hairdos, the repetitive choruses, Lennon's attitude (or McCartney's boyish cheekiness, but probably not both), the domination of the radio when they wanted more Motown or Perry Como or Cliff Richard. They weren't controversial or anarchic, they just had an opinion. It differed from the norm, but an opinion it was. These same people exist today, and their opinions won't have changed. It's just that nobody who controls the flow of information can believe for a moment that their view has relevance. They're the Beatles! Everyone loves the Beatles, don't they? So let's say so!

I get disappointed when people do that excruciating thing of claiming Ringo Starr was a crap drummer, I think I Want To Hold Your Hand was pretty much unrivalled in the trite and twee stakes until the Corrs turned up, and I think John Lennon was disturbed and overrated. Yet I like the Beatles. But, as the stuff written last week about Love Me Do's anniversary showed, we're not allowed to just like them, let alone scorn them, however articulate our argument. We've got to idolise them, adore them, not question them, because, well, that's just what the world does, isn't it?


Lee Slator said...

I see where you are coming from with this. I get and appreciate what they did for art and pop music. However, I don't really enjoy their stuff. Maybe it's because I listened to them too much as a kid because mum loves them.

I know one or two who certainly think they were overrated.

John Medd said...

It's always refreshing to hear from someone who doesn't cite them as an influence, or who doesn't acknowledge that much of what they listen to isn't in anyway infused, in some way, by a Beatles reference, no matter how small.

Mondo said...

I can understand why selective shoulders slump when their name is mentioned. The body of work and Beatles story does suffer from over-exposure.

Although in a list of ways they're actually under-rated: pushing forward recording techniques, ADT, the use of headphones. Breaking away from the Tin Pan Alley songwriting monopoly and being a self-sufficient songwriting team. Steering 'pop' away from the showbiz circuit.

Constant self re-invention. Pre-Beatles, certainly for singers (groups or solo acts), once you'd found a style that made money, you stayed in that spot and drilled it for all it was worth..never prospecting elsewhere for a different style of buried treasure

Kolley Kibber said...

This may sound like I'm saying it for effect, and I'm not - I have always been left completely cold by the Beatles. I've actually made concerted efforts to try and 'get' what everyone else seems to connect with - about fifteen years ago I actually bought four or five of the albums on CD and really tried to find something in them - but I find the music genuinely horrible, whether the 'irresistibly catchy' pop songs (irritating) or the clever-clever 'pop-art' tracks (boring and self-indulgent, and that awful sneery voice of Lennon's...).

It's something to do with the complete lack of sex there...and don't even get me started on their bloody facial hair choices. No, no - give me the Stones any day. Just never put me in an old people's home where they make us sing the bloody Beatles. Please.

John Medd said...

Notwithstanding Lennon's assasination and Harrison's premature merging with the Ganges, had Macca and Ringo called it a day in '73 after Band On The Run and That'll Be The Day, even the sceptics would look at their legacy with a glint in their eye.