The Beatles and whispering words of wisdom...
It was definitely the count in to “I Saw Her Standing There”, especially the way Paul yelled out “FAH!”, and that memorable opening chord to “Hard Days Night”, which some of us watched and studied and memorised because, just like their songs, there were so many hooks to the movie.
These were the seminal moments when the Beatles entered my life and very probably the lives of millions of others.
There was no need to press a “like” or “share” button. The music of John, Paul, George and Ringo spoke for itself. We listened, we liked what we heard and we spread the word.
Just to be different and appear “cool”, we, at least Steve, my best friend at school and I might have started listening to the Byrds, the Lovin’ Spoonful and some really random bands, but we always got back to the Beatles every time they released a new record. This was where there was always magic. And the creative output for four young guys not much older than us was amazing.
When giving up touring, for the band, it was having the time to write and then write more songs and record and experiment with more and more recordings.
The production wizard that was George Martin guided them through what was available at Abbey Road Studios to help take their ideas further. The boys were quick learners.
They took up the challenge by constantly improving, evolving and competing with each other with the future in mind, but also wanting the present to always be better, better, better.
We learned and were inspired so much from everything they were doing including making experimental films for their videos that invited us to use our imaginations.
This was years before music videos spelt every meaning out for us.
Some of us were inspired enough by them to pick up guitars and try to write our own songs, which usually gave way to embracing other forms of creativity.
Sure, we adopted what we thought were Liverpudlian accents, called girls “luv”, grew our hair a little longer and wore drainpipes, collarless jackets and Beatle boots.
A couple of years later, we passed the audition and graduated to growing our hair longer, trying to grow moustaches and beards, wearing kaftans and experimenting with everything that was available to us in the world we were in.
We also learned from their mistakes.
They were growing up, so were we, and, at least for me and my handful of friends, it was learning about everything- from chords and the intricacies and pitfalls of music publishing and reading the fine print to going out of our way to make things happen- even if they didn’t.
We were at least out there trying and doing our best. We weren’t reminiscing on Facebook or living inside the bubble of some online world.
There was only the real world back then. This was more than fine.
We were older now and, from them, we knew the importance of friendship and loyalty, and understood the importance of magic and the power of a good song.
Their inner circle, after losing the guiding hand of manager Brian Epstein, closed rank and the Beatles depended on Neil Aspinal, Mal Evans and their extremely sharp publicist and confidante Derek Taylor.
When their Apple business fell apart and Allen Klein was brought in to manage affairs, this had much to do with Paul going his own way. Plus, there were now new women around them and life priorities had changed.
We realised that the world was not all lollipops and roses and that even four loveable mop tops who were best friends could take wrong turns and become hurt and crippled inside.
We learned that there’s a very big difference between going to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields and how that Fool On The Hill wouldn’t see eye to eye with Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.
What we never wanted was to be a Nowhere Man or to be hoodwinked by Sexy Sadie.
Beatlemania had come and gone and many of us were about to embark on our own life journeys.
Through their songs, we had learned about love and peace and that it was okay to fail, because all you need is love and to know that there’s something in the way she moves that attracts you like no other lover.
Maybe the Beatles somehow also showed us how to read people and the situation better, love everything worth loving with more passion, and to never be afraid of making your feelings known.
After all, tomorrow never knows...
We had travelled across the universe with a pop group, enjoyed the giddy silliness and silly giddiness of it all, and jumped aboard their yellow submarine sandwich while sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van to come.
We understood real sadness and evil when John was murdered and respected the dignified ways in which George showed us how all things must pass before he, too, left.
Today, there are Paul and Ringo still singing about love and peace and living life to the toppermost of their maximus.
Again, it’s inspiring stuff. It’s the kick in the arse we all need from time to time to get us back on track and leave those Blue Meanies behind.
The Beatles happened for a reason. Why they happened when they did, we’ll never know. Maybe it was a gift.
Maybe it’s the type of gift we need again...
Despite having everything and more, at least for me, there’s a hollowness and shallowness and emptiness around and less substance in the world.
What I’m very sure of however is that everything the Beatles gave us, through their songs, and how they lived their lives without compromising and ever needing to flaunt their wealth, made our lives more interesting- and more real.
Those songs also made us try to let it be and be better people- a little more well-rounded and grounded individuals.
Sometimes, we succeeded. Other times we had to get back to the bottom to get back to the top and go for a ride, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
The Beatles and everything they unselfishly gave the world are still all around me- and in me.
What I miss are those times when everything was possible and how we were nothing without friends and teamwork and going for that Number 9 Dream.
In my life, I loved them all.