Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ob-la-di Ob-la-da

It should not come as a shock to anybody that I love the Beatles. I don't even know if love is the right word. They are so much a part of my life that it is hard to explain to anybody who doesn't have that with a band or musician. They are pretty much the reason I love music and the reason I first wanted to write about music, but I've always tried to get away from writing about the Beatles. It seems like there is a new book about the mop tops from Liverpool every month, and really, what is left to say? What new insights could I bring, considering I was not even alive when they were together.

Then Tim Riley, author of "Tell Me Why," came and spoke to our class, and he changed my mind. He told me to read everything that's been written about the Beatles and find an approach that nobody has taken. I do plan on reading his book and others that he recommended and I've been thinking about what I would even write about.

I've always been fascinated by the idea of Beatles music as children's music, especially the White Album. I could not get enough of that music when I was young (actually I still can't). Although the content is very adult, the music definitely has a childlike quality to it. I think I was actually mentioning this to somebody the other day, so I was surprised to find this article in PopMatters

It is more about the humor of the Beatles, but it also deals extensively with their appeal to children. I was pretty disappointed that somebody beat me to the punch, but I wasn't too impressed with the article, and I mean no disrespect to Iain Ellis. He had some good points, but I'm not sure he expands on them enough to make them original. There were also a few fact errors which somebody already commented on.

Anybody who has seen clips of the boys in their early days knows how charismatic and funny they were. The article touches on various points in the band's career and as a result, does not delve deep enough to offer any new insights. Yes, the Beatles (mainly Sir Paul McCartney) were influenced by music hall variety shows, but so what?

The article is an excerpt from a book from PopMatters/Soft Skull about "rock-related artists who use(d) humor as a primary instrument of rebellion," so perhaps the book will deal more extensively with these issues. I also know that I shouldn't criticize too much because frequently in my own writing I notice that I try to tackle too much and in turn do not say enough (but hey, I'm still learning).

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