Funny to find another Beatles shot today with almost the same name as yesterday’s ‘Dad and the Beatles‘. This one was taken in 1964 in the States. The poster’s brother is on the far right, poised with notepad and pen. He was one of the first journalists to interview them during their visit. The pic has been cleaned up in Photoshop – looks like a good job. Once upon a time, photos like this one would have languished in a shoebox.
I was born in 1969 so I missed Beatlemania in real time. However, when the rest of the world was transfixed by glamrock and David Bowie, I was immersing myself in my parents’ record collection – starting with albums like ‘Rubber Soul’, ‘With The Beatles’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, and working my way up to ‘Sgt. Peppers’, ‘The White Album’, ‘Abbey Road’ and ‘Let It Be’.
Half way through that magical mystery tour, let’s say by the time that ‘Revolver’ appeared on my playlist, I knew that something special was going on – something that was more than the sum of its parts. I guess I was picking up on the spirit of the 60s and the changes that had been put into motion. The Beatles had soaked all this stuff up from places like India and were channelling it out into the world through their music. The lyrics were metaphysical and allegorical. The song ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, for example, was talking about a world full of sleepwalkers, dialed into the material world at the expense of the spiritual one. But it wasn’t preachy – it rang true and it had pathos. And there were others too: ‘Fool On The Hill’, ‘A Day In The Life’, ‘Strawberry Fields’ – the list just went on and on.
So, at least until the Sex Pistols arrived in 1976, the 1970’s were for me a journey into the decade before. Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones featured on my list but they didn’t capture my imagination in the same way as the Beatles. I couldn’t put into words how important the Beatles were to me during those formative years, both in terms of the power of their music and lyrics, and in terms of what they represented more generally – the ushering in of a new age of possibility.