By: Christopher Aloysius Mariotti
The original, unabridged article can be found at lonesomenoise.com
There is a dangerous dance between those swirling together in the atmosphere of polarity; more so, those impassioned with their subjectivity can topple mountains; even more so, disagree with someone’s opinion on a band, and oh it’s on girlfriend!
Love music long enough to discuss it, and The Beatles will inevitably arise. In fact, so much so, that discussing The Beatles has become the “No Stairway to Heaven” in a guitar shop: you just don’t do it.
No one wins. The world ends.
The main argument from The Beatles haters is that they believe they are the most overrated band in history, whether it be “Best Band Ever in the History of Sounds,” or “Most Awesome Group of Humans Since Those Guys That Killed The First Mosquito.” They, mostly, think Sgt Peppers is awful, and that John Lennon was undeserving of his Messianic worship.
To an extent, I can see the arguments. Unless you believe The Beatles are the best band ever, good odds are that you will challenge that notion. If someone told me Green Day was the best band ever, I would literally punch him in the kidney. But that’s only because that opinion isn’t my own. And I’m always right. Because aren’t we all? (well, not that Green Day guy, of course.)
Here’s an unscientific fact: my experience is that most people who adore The Beatles grew up listening to them because of their mothers. Now, I say this referring to people who were children born around 1970 or later. To use me as an example: I was born in 1974. My mom always had The Beatles on our 8-track machine. In the car, the “oldies” station would play either Motown or The Beatles. Or, Motown artists covering The Beatles. They were all around me. And the memories are engrained, good and bad, because they were as much of my childhood as Pittsburgh sports teams, He-Man, and Nintendo.
For the Haters, I’ve noticed a frequent commonality: my mom was cool. She didn’t play The Beatles. She played Frank Zappa. She played The Velvet Underground. She played (gasp) Disco! She didn’t like The Beatles, and so neither do I. Additionally, I’ve conversed with more than one person who’s freely admitted to hating The Beatles, not so much because of their music, but because so many people in the world love them so much. Too much. Mindless-worship too much. And so there needs to be balance from these kind martyrs.
Here’s an observational fact: there is only one band in the history of music where you can go see a tribute band of them perform, and the audience will have people from 5 years old to 85 years old singing along. They all know every word to every song. To the songs being sung by a tribute band! One that probably doesn’t even have a left-handed Paul McCartney!
That, my friends, is influence. For better or worse.
Here’s another unscientific fact: most people who defend The Beatles grew up listening to them. Like me, there’s a nostalgia attached to their harmonies, their lyrics, their sound. They were a cultural phenomenon in America. When they came over on the Mayflower and performed on the Ed Sullivan Show, there was nothing quite like it. Sure, Elvis Presley shook his hips and helped us believe that Rock ‘n’ Roll wasn’t just a passing fad. But then these blokes from across the pond came over to mesmerize the panties off America’s teenage girls. And those girls had kids, and those kids heard The Beatles.
Are they the greatest band of all time? No. Probably not. Is Sgt Peppers the greatest album of all time? No. Absolutely not. Are The Beatles overrated? No. Definitely not. At least not to those who love them.