In article <cS86aDAFoVtyEwLu@blumeani.demon.co.uk>, ANDREW B <ANDREW@blumeani.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>Don'tcha hate it when.......
>a newbie fan (ie someone who has only been a fan since anthology) comes
>up to you at conventions or on IRC and starts wittering on as if they
>have been a fan for years and they then go on to ask that dreadful q
>What's your fav song/Beatle. or Who sings yellow submarine Paul or
>George, or I have this really rare record its called Beatles 20 greatest
No, it doesn't bother me.
The simple reason: all of us were "newbies" once. I recall it pretty well, and I wasn't exactly a musical neophyte when they first burst on the scene. But still: I didn't know their background, didn't understand much about Elvis or Buddy Holly or Chuck Berry besides the surface hits, didn't know the R&B standards that inspired them, didn't appreciate their milieu or their million hours in dim clubs among audacious audiences; their dedication to make it to the top, their passion to write words and music that would make their name.
And I came to them late too! Our esteemed British brethren had the advantage over me. They saw all their music burst forth over a leisurely year, properly, as time meant it to happen. By the time Stateside radio got the sense to pick up on Britain's phenomenal farrago, we were all a year behind and had to learn to swim in the first wave of the British Invasion. We must have seemed impenetrably dense to those who already new the Fabs' marvelous mania.
So if you remember what it was like to be a newbie too, all this current renaissance of interest in the Fabs will become clear. You may find too that there isn't just one way to embrace the Beatles.
There's still a moment when each of us hears the Beatles for the first time...when each of us was ignorant about flanging and Lewisohn and Bernard Purdie and the distinctions between the "Sessions" edit of "Leave My Kitten Alone" and the "Anthology" edit of same.
But think of it the other way...how ponderous some of us (no names, please :-) must seem to those who have just become enraptured by the Fabs for the first time. Experience has its handicap, believe me.
Seemingly, people of a certain age---those who reached their teens during the sixties' sacred borders, and who are marked by its aura--- absorbed the Fabs' influence magically and profoundly. They wear its brand, its pattern, almost as medal. I've often wondered if you could see it encoded in our minds somehow, like whorls of wear on our faces.
It's not merely a *liking* for the Beatles or their music that makes our inner flame so incendiary. It's not a predilection: it's an epiphany, a state of satori, and if you have to say it in rough language (it *will* be rough), all you can say is that somehow this foursome's work transformed the way you listen to *all* music.
But can't that happen at any age? If the Fabs are truly transcendent, oughtn't they light fires in listeners who are two, or twelve, or twenty-two, as well as those antique souls slouching toward their fifties, waiting to be reborn? Or is it inevitable that some meta-experience of the music could only be captured through the real-time evolution of its birth and fruition? Thus the egregious (but perhaps inarguable) "You had to be there."
I don't buy it. It's just logic.
And there's no logic to Beatlemania...never has been. Maybe that's part of what's made it so long-lasting, so visionary. But when has it ever been that art speaks to the logical mind before it hits the soul?
Stand before a painting and you know almost instantly whether you like it, whether it awakens something inside you...and you know this, more miraculously, before you can cogitate over its Deeper Meaning.
You know it, incidentally, no matter what your age. Poetic/romantic tradition tells us, after all, that the embryonic fan of art has the best chance to catch its seminal spark, the message that engendered its meaning before it was embellished with critical theory.
It's almost a cliche, but there's some relevance here. Those who rely on their unschooled intuition, unaffected by a preponderance of analytical maturity, may find more in heaven and earth than they expect to see.
And maybe the lack of background, the innocent capture of aural sensibilities, is at work when younger music fans---who have no connections to the pop environment that first kindled the Fabs' rise to fame---tell us how much they liked "Anthology", or are inspired to ask a question sincerely that all of us has heard (if not asked!) before.
This is the wisdom of youth speaking with its voice, having heard with open ears and an open mind. And maybe they're better off without the historical baggage we bring to the subject, at least initially.
It allows newcomers to hear the Beatles without feeling obligated to translate their accomplishments into something profound...and worse yet, feeling obligated to express what they think in some kind of "intelligent" way, so that veterans like us don't get irritated by it. :-)
Sometimes age can kill youth's burgeoning passion for the very thing we hope they'll love...and can make us forget what encourages young fans to enthuse in the first place.
And what of the Boys themselves? There's a clue for you all: the "boys". They were, more politely, just young men when they first wrote their songs of love and truth. They *were* young, too. When they first began to write songs and play music, they were barely older than some of r.m.b.'s most intrepid younger participants.
Just neophytes in their late teens and early twenties, the Fabs already mastered the miasm of the hit parade. Admirable, but that wasn't all!
They cultivated their own innate cynical innocence. They became eminently quotable, made a few movies, talked and sang on radio and TV, posed for a few pictures, wrote a line or two of copy. Compare these princes of pop to any of the old masters of music and you'll find yourself questioning just what happened. Were they really all they seemed? Are they worth the attention? They were just kids, after all!
Maybe it's no surprise that the Beatles continue to transfix the younger set amongst us.
Maybe this is evidence that, for the Fabs, youth was still predominant. For them, dreams still mattered; belief in oneself was all. And it takes a certain reliance on the child-part of one's soul to make such dreams happen....the prelapsarian era when you can still ask in lyrics how it is that love can happen, how it can be so wonderful, how it can hurt so much, how essential it can be.
Of course later there were more mature, more dramatic expressions about love and its chromatic complexity, but that's miraculous too. It's as if the Beatles made a songbook to measure out every possibly permutation of love, and all potentials exist in one comprehensive body of work.
You pick what matters for the moment you need it. Love is new? "Ask Me Why". Love burns with irresolvable need? "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". She loves you? She's leaving home? No reply? The end?
Interesting how this suggests that there is room in a universe of emotions for the new and the old, innocence and irony, passion and pain. It's your choice.
And if there's room for both, surely in the limited solar system of r.m.b.
there's room for questions and theories from those who already know, as
well as those who yearn to know. Even a grizzled old veteran of the
sixties can still ask a simple question; and a fan of five might well be
able to tell you in mind-numbing detail who it was that lived in Liverpool
and made such glorious music for all ages---and all eras hence---to hear.
"Pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul, from me to you...."
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