I know a little late with this post, but I wanted to make sure I got it right. First, let me explain a little something about The Beatles. It may be tempting for Gen X and Yers to disregard The Beatles as just another important ‘60s pop band, although an influential one. Wrong. There is so much more to The Beatles than meets the eye. It is so easy for those of us born long after the band dissolved to take their heavy influence on pop culture for granted. We shouldn’t. We largely grew up in a pop culture shaped by The Beatles and everything around them. They were among the first pop bands to write their own songs. They also pioneered the concept album. If you aren’t extremely familiar with the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, do yourself a favor and become familiar with it. It is the original concept album. And now for Beatleology…
There are a few definitions of Beatleology, check out the Urban Dictionary definition if you want to have some fun, but for the purposes of this post, we will consider it to be the study of anything and everything related to The Beatles. There are thousands of books, websites, etc. dedicated to The Beatles as a band and as solo artists. There are biographies, authorized and unauthorized, anthologies, books of photography, children’s books, and so much more. It is impossible to keep tabs on all of the new information, much less read/listen to all of the new books, interviews, etc. produced each and every year.
After a while it gets to be a bit of a game. Actually, if you really wanted to get into it, you could easily play a version of The 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon with anything relating to The Beatles, including music, movies, books, etc. So, as a tribute to The Beatles’ massive influence on all aspects of pop culture on both sides of the Atlantic, I’ll leave you with a few items to explore.
- Through their Apple Records venture, The Beatles helped launch the careers of James Taylor and Badfinger. A few Badfinger songs sound as though they belong on a Beatles album! See for yourself.
- While The Beatles themselves did not play at Woodstock, Joe Cocker did play With A Little Help From My Friends at the festival. He used the lyrics of Lennon/McCartney, but completely reinterpreted the music, making it completely his own. It later became the theme song to popular 1980s sitcom The Wonder Years. They used different parts of the Joe Cocker version of the song for the various opening credits to the series – with very different effects.
- Paul McCartney supposedly saw Jimi Hendrix play in a London club a few days after the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Jimi Hendrix had already learned several of the songs on the album.
- The creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groeing, is a huge Beatles fan. Paul McCartney guest starred on the animated series more than once. During his first appearance on the show, along with his late wife Linda McCartney, Lisa becomes a vegetarian. As part of the stipulation for the McCartneys appearing on the show, Lisa is to remain a vegetarian for the rest of the series. There are hundreds of references to the Beatles in The Simpsons. My personal favorite is the huge Beatles collection of Homer’s frenemy – Ned Flanders!
- Saturday Night Live producer Loren Michaels once jokingly offered Paul McCartney and John Lennon $1,000 each to reunite on the show. They happened to be watching and seriously considered doing it as a stunt.
- The American band Cheap Trick was heavily influenced by the Beatles, and even did their own remake of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 2009. Cheap Trick influenced a generations of 90s alternative bands, many of which I grew up with, including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Gin Blossoms, Foo Fighters, among many others.
- While Yoko Ono popularly gets all of the credit for breaking up the band, a combination of things actually broke up The Beatles, including Paul McCartney’s desire to release a solo album and disagreement over financial management of the band.
I could go on indefinitely, but I won’t. There is always something new to learn when it comes to The Beatles and pop culture. The Beatles and macca-central.com offer tons of great information to get started. While macca-central.com concentrates on Paul McCartney, there is tons of Beatles related information there as well.
For extra credit, watch the video below. In this incredibly so-cheesy-its-good video from 1980, Paul McCartney parodies several people, including former band mates, musical influences, and even himself. Name them! By the way, the video only includes Paul, his wife Linda, and a Wings band mate or two. The band name on the drum set is pretty priceless too. I wonder how he convinced Linda to do this video! Very funny. No cheating. There are discussions of this very topic in the comments section of YouTube.
- 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge: Beatles Edition (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- Sir Peter Blake reworks iconic Beatles cover for 80th birthday – video (digitalspy.co.uk)
- Paul McCartney, The Fresh Air Interview (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- Rock N’ Roll Diary: April 2 (wzlx.radio.com)
- Godfather of pop art recreates Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover with his own Brit cultural icons (mirror.co.uk)
- Birthday makeover for Sgt Pepper cover (yorkshirepost.co.uk)
- RIP Paul McCartney, Twitter Hoax Kills Off Beatle (Don’t Worry, He’s Alive And Well) (huffingtonpost.co.uk)
- Macca’s worn in the USA… Former Beatle wears star-spangled footwear in LA (mirror.co.uk)
- Sgt Pepper Album Cover Gets 2012 Makeover (news.sky.com)
- Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ Artist Remakes Iconic Cover With Fresh Faces (spin.com)