The Beatles are my generation’s musical trump card. They were and will always be the world’s greatest band and for a number of reasons. First, they wrote the best and most innovative popular music associated with the rock genre. Their music sparkles and the shine hasn’t and most likely never will wear off, thus their legay lives on in t-shirt sales.
Don’t believe me? Go to the airport and count Beatle t-shirts and while you’re there, count, say, The Hollies ( a great band from the same era) t-shirts. Come back with the results and I will laugh at you for wasting your time while I accomplished…laundry or something equally unfulfilling.
Also, The Beatles had all four genres of band members; the cute one, the smart one, the quiet one and the oddly misshapen one. Boy bands have tried unsuccessfully to fulfill this quota ever since. Sadly, the quiet one usually turns out to be the gay one or the smart one is only wearing glasses, neither of which is innately wrong or without purpose, but it just isn’t the formula. It’s like Coke substituting carcinogens for carrots. Although it might fit in the bottle, people would spit it out and riot in the streets chanting “Hell, No! We don’t want to see better, we want to rot our teeth!” (Kids today aren’t as good as our generation was with chanting, either.)
Lastly, The Beatles are the best band ever because we only had 5 or less channels on our remote-less TVs and, even though Bonanza, which was on the other channel at the time, had four guys: the cute one, the smart one, the one of asian extraction and Hoss, they were not known to waggle their heads and sing OOOH unless they stepped in a camp fire without their boots and that just wasn’t the same. Plus many fans were angry when they fired Adam, their drummer.
The point being, that, as a generation, almost all of us, excluding the kid who turned the TV off after Topo Gigio and has never lived that down, experienced The Beatles together, thus they became part of our culture. Because we are very lucky, they were musical geniuses and innovators in every sense of the word as long as you remove every Ringo led number from every album. Had they not been the coolest guys ever, we might have moved on to The Archies, causing our young men to dye their hair red and part it down the middle rather than grow it until is became a suffocation hazard and eventually base a musical on the subject.
So we rub the Beatles into the face of younger generations which no one enjoys aside from Ringo who, as we have determined is oddly misshapen and less than a genius.
That’s fine. We are right to do so. It’s when we pretend that 96 Tears never happened that we begin that slippery slope to exaggeration and, dare I say, outright lying.
Here’s a little known fact; 96 Tears was written and performed by the son a rich and famous record producer named, Larry Rogers. Larry, hoping his son, Barry would follow him into the recording industry rather than just following him into the bathroom, bought his pride and joy a keyboard for Christmas. Young Barry sat down and immediately wrote the music to 96 Tears, by accidentally leaving the repeat button on. Larry was beside himself and Barry because Barry rarely left his father’s side, thus the bathroom problem.
Larry booked Barry into the studio the next day, although the song still had no viable lyrics. Larry suggested Barry sang whatever gibberish came into his pointy head because, he was of the opinion that rock-n-roll was a passing fad and he might as well make some money off of it.
By the next day Larry had paid oversized men to visit all of the local radio stations to suggest, if they liked their family, and even if they didn’t, they should play the now infamous 96 Tears.
The rest is the stuff of legends and legends are another word for lies. 96 Tears is simply a sucky song which, for whatever reason, still shows up on sixties playlists. I blame people like my husband who not only likes the song but has tried to play it on occasion, putting our marriage in temporary jeopardy.
Here is a short list of songs that were popular in the 1960s: Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, MacArthur Park and Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, (I got love in my tummy.)
I won’t even go into the seventies, when rock-n-roll curled up in a corner and sucked it’s thumb for a decade as a result of The Beatles break up.
So, lest we forget, although The Beatles are to music as Tom Hanks is to everything, a pinnacle too high to attain, the entire decade was not built on gold and stardust except at Woodstock, and not even then really. But for every While My Guitar Gently Weeps is an oh-for-the-love-of-god-turn-it off song like, well…let’s just call and awful song and awful song, Revolution #9.
So next time you feel the need to rub The Beatles into the face of today’s music fans remember two things: 96 Tears and Ringo, who’s had just about enough of that activity.