Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Beatles: Forever On Their Way to Capistrano

"I think their music could only appeal to adolescents and retarded adults." - Shirley Mair, Macleans Magazine, 1965

There was so much talent that you ignored the raw ambition. How else to explain our willful disregard of their psychotic work regime backed by matching haircuts and suits. The first drip-dry, bespoke boy band.

In (less than) three minute segments, infused with jangling guitars and timpani, Lennon and McCartney delivered truffle-weight paeans to teenage angst. For a brief time, they were the best in the world at it.
Forever winging through the great cosmic clouds

But then something happened. The great space-time tidal bores of fate, talent and time criss-crossed like never before. Drugged-out rock musicians became prominent and respected social icons. And the Beatles reigned from the electronic Olympus of sound reproduction.

But against all expectations, they just got better and better. They actually improved. ‘She Loves You’ was subsumed by the layered dream scape of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ belonged not only to a different band, but a different century, than ‘I Am the Walrus'.

Massive WTF.

The Beatles were embedded gypsies of the day-glo, patchouli-laden 1960s, so hyper-responsive to both their temporal and secular surroundings, that they could move swiftly, without footprints, from Los  Angeles to Rishikesh, from the dank bricks of the Cavern Club to the swirling valleys of the Himalayas.
The absolutely last group photo

By the time an entire generation became lost and despondent on the long and winding road to nowhere, the Beatles themselves had vanished just as fast as they had arrived, leaving few clues to their genius, never to fully reform (anticipating the extreme fragility of collective memory).

Long after their peers have been sealed up silent in tombs of black vinyl, the Beatles are still heard, disembodied melodies, riding the backs of swallows winging through cosmic clouds, forever on their way to San Juan Capistrano. 

It's the next best thing to be...