What I’ve been trying to tell people for years but no one will listen

17 08 2009

Lots of people love the Beatles. Most people that like rock at all at least appreciate them. In my experience, except for the most die-hard Beatles fans, their work before 1967 gets little or no recognition for it’s greatness. I still see or hear people call the early Beatles a “boy band” or “bubble gum pop,” but that notion is seriously flawed.

I just read this bit in the August 2009 edition of  The Word magazine, from an article called “Why the Beatles are Underrated.” About the Beatles work between 1963 and 1966, the writer says:

While that second three-year career (1967 to 1970) is not without its delights, the first period was actually when their collective genius was operating at full tilt. To fully appreciate it from the vantage point of 2009 we have to shrug off our infatuation with fashionable gloom and shed the illusion that true artists are all complex and impenetrable. We must accept the fact that the greatest pop group of them all didn’t consider it beneath them to make their records for 14-year-old girls. When they made their classic records the false opposition between rock and pop hadn’t been invented. This wall between the two has been the refuge of scoundrels and snobs ever since. To appreciate why we still underrate the Beatles you have to shrug off that prejudice and travel back to 1963, when they were far from a done deal.

That about sums it up. The Beatles were a pop band, but all that meant is that they played popular music, as opposed to classical, jazz, pure blues, you name it. Rock was (and is) a form of pop music. Rock was pop. Pop was rock. The Beatles were rock. Get it? It’s that simple.





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