Friday, 5 October 2012

50 years of The Beatles - my own reflections

I feel nervous about writing a post about The Beatles. It's a mix of fear that people will know the truth about why I love them so much and that they will judge my thoughts and taint the relationship somehow. This however is a timely post as it's 50 years to the day that The Beatles released their first album.

Please don't take this as a list of my favourite Beatles songs because if you want that then I suggest searching for "the beatles track list" on Google and deleting a few McCartney Ballads and any of the songs Ringo sang (sorry Ringo!).

I was brought up by a family that adored The Beatles. My Dad and my Brother especially. Not that The Beatles featured in a long list of favourite bands; more that they topped any list and the life lessons and memories I have of growing up is so completely embedded in the songs that I sometimes feel like my own memories might have merged with Lennon's lyrics.

In our house we used to have photographs in the hallway. My Dad had taken the prints from the white album and put them in frames in the hall for all visitors to see as soon as they walked through the door. A couple of friends, whose names I will withhold out of pity, had asked if they were my relatives. "No, John Lennon and Paul McCartney are not Uncles of mine" and I won't be inviting you round again, I would think to myself.

This is the first song I remember hearing by The Beatles:

My Dad would sing this to me when I was little to help me go to sleep. It's going to be the song I sing to my children, should I have any, because it's truly magical. In my humble opinion.

When I got older my Brother and my Dad would play lots of guitar and I be so envious that I couldn't do what they did and frustratingly resigned myself to playing Piano. There was never as much satisfaction playing a McCartney track as there would have been nailing this on guitar:

I watched The Beatles films and was in complete awe of the four men that made my favourite songs. Help was for me the best and apart from breaking up with an ex boyfriend to the album (if you look at the track listing you'll see it wasn't my finest or most sensitive moment, sorry about that!) the album is still my favourite.

There are so many great songs on this album I can't even chose one but if I had too then this one I remember for singing at the top of my lungs when my Dad would play it on guitar because he could never remember all the words:

Oh and maybe this one:

As I've got older my opinion of The Beatles has developed. They are not just the songs that my Brother and my Dad used to play and they are not a 60's pop band that so many people refer to as over exposed and overrated. They developed during their career and recorded songs that even now I'm astounded as they were so ahead of their time. (Again, my humble opinion).

This song still makes me want to get on a bar and thrash about:

And this song makes me think if they were still here together and releasing songs that there would be some current bands shaking in their boots watching the masters show them how it's done:

As I was once advised, I listened to this song one day with my friends when the sun was out, there was a little smoke and suddenly it all began to make sense:

When I was a teenager I secretly hoped that should a relationship get into trouble or you had a fight that a real man would pen a song, drive up to your house and sing his lungs out with a declaration of love similar to this. How wrong and disappointed I was...

I've visited The Beatles experience in Liverpool with my Brother and we both went very quiet in the White room with the piano and Imagine playing. When you love a band so much it's impossible to feel nothing when faced with their pictures, instruments and belongings especially when you'll never get to see some of them in person. 

My boyfriend and I went to the Cavern in Liverpool before a Laura Marling gig last year and again, I sobbed my way through the cover set of this song (along with all the other drunk Beatles fans in there I'd like to add):

Finally, and mainly because I could go on all day through the Beatles back catalogue, B sides, Lennon's own songs and their visit to India, I want to finish with this song which still when I play it now puts a lump in my throat. It captures everything that I hope to reflect on and experience one day and that's all the introduction it needs. Enjoy: