Monday, August 11, 2008

There you go, hiding behind a smokescreen of bourgeois cliches.

Taking Jess Wundrun's long anti-Beatles rant from last week (I'll See You In Hell John Lennon) at face value I have a confession of my own to make- I'm a Beatles fan. I've loved the Fab Four since I was a little kid and had just worn out my little 45 of Phil Harris singing the "Bear Necessities." I played that "Jungle Book" song in a sugar-infused marathon of howling and dancing that must have driven my parents to distraction.

Without anything to dance around my bedroom to singing I decided to nip one of my parent''s albums. I'm pretty sure it was A Hard Day's Night because it had "Can't Buy Me Love" on it. I was hooked and never went back to that Disney crap.

This last weekend I got my grubby little mitts on the DVD The Four Complete Historic Ed Sullivan Shows featuring the Beatles and other Artists. This thing is in a word; "awesome." Not only does it feature the Beatles but each of the four shows is packaged as they originally aired. This means we get to see acrobats, musicians and commercials for dinner rolls that promised to contain "real butter."

So far we've only watched the first appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and there are a couple of things I find striking. The first is how darned nervous they all look. McCartney and Harrison put on a brave show but they have happy feet. They don't seem all that comfortable on stage.

Lennon is really the one that looks like he wants to crawl out of his own skin. Picture this shot below with Lennon essentially standing rooted on the spot bouncing up and down like some sort of angry gorilla. It's very uncomfortable to watch the big galoot.

Why I find that interesting is that when I think of the Beatles I usually think of the later years when they were a bunch of supremely confident guys who couldn't give a rat's ass what the world thought of them. "We are more popular than Jesus Christ" and all that.

The other thing that struck me about this television performance is the realization of what a sea change these guys were to middle America. These days the Beatles are considered mellow, retro-rock. Evidence of a kinder time.

Here they were sandwiched between a magician doing card tricks and and Frank Gershin doing impressions of Burt Lancaster. The Fab Four must have looked like Hendrix setting his guitar on fire or Ozzy biting off the head of a bird to the people watching at the time. Maniacs with long hair playing impossible sounds.

I can see why they scared the hell out of the parents of our parents. The Beatles didn't just represent a new sound, they represented a new world. Today their music may seem trite and more appropriate for elevators, but there's no denying what they were.

I can see not liking their music, but you damned well better respect it.

(Except you Jess. You're too cool for me to try and boss around. :-p )


mwb said...

You and me both. I can't wait until they release their catalog re-mastered for digital download as they promised.

Randal Graves said...

I like and respect the Beatles, but you moptop cultists frighten me with your rock and/or roll.

Kup said...

I'm with Randal on this one...

Ubermilf said...

Only one thing keeps running through my mind after reading this post:

"Look for the BARE NECESSITIES the simple bare necessities... forget about your worries and your strife"

Unconventional Conventionist said...

I like the Beatles, but must admit that I am quite taken with the Rutles.

Dean Wormer said...


Me too. Some of the stuff that's out there is still mono. wtf.


That's because you're not down with the groove of our hip scene.


You too daddyo.




Some of those guys look familiar!

Swinebread said...

"I can see why they scared the hell out of the parents of our parents. The Beatles didn't just represent a new sound, they represented a new world."

They should have been more worried about Nuclear War

Dean Wormer said...


That's kind of interesting. It seems to me the generation that grew up loving the Beatles were also the generation that spent their childhood hiding under a desk at school in duck and cover drills.

Fran said...

Um - old enough (although I was 5 it is clear) to remember seeing this with my own eyes on the tv in our living room!