December 08, 2005

Lennon - wither or not?

Little Miss Attila is going to be taking a few days off and has asked me to keep her spot warm... chase out the dustbunnies, alphabetize the cd's ...

Actually I'm going to see what booze she keeps in the cupboards and what magazines are tucked waaaay back in the closet.

In the mean time, let's discuss the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death and the legacy of The Beatles. I confess, I'm a bit agnostic about the Beatles. I was in jr high at the height of their popularity, but I wasn't a fan. Yes, I liked much of their music, some of the popular tunes have passed into classics; however, I can't really read so tedious a piece of writing without wondering if either I'm missing something or if once the full-of-itself Baby Boom generation passes into oblivion, so will go The Beatles. I do like the music but stuff like this makes me shake my head:

Nobody ever pushed the possibilities of rock & roll like John Lennon, and nobody in the music's history has really mattered as much. [...]

He was also self-important enough to believe that he could wrestle with the times he lived in and make a difference -- and the difference he made was immense. [...]

when Lennon applied his hurt and vitriol to his music, the result was transcendent. [...]

The man wrote pop music. Much of it good, a handful of great.

Two hundreds year later and much of Beetoven's work is widely recognizable. Sixty years plus hasn't faded swing. Where will the Beatles' work stand in 2163?

Posted by Darleen Click at December 8, 2005 01:05 PM | TrackBack

Just rent I Wanna Hold Your Hand, early Spielberg/Zemeckis comic gem about Beatlemania. With the divine Wendy Jo Spurber - who just passed away - as a demented Beatles fan who at one point leaps from a moving car to call a radio contest for Ed Sullivan tickets.

Posted by: beautifulatrocities at December 8, 2005 03:10 PM

I had heard she was sick. Hadn't heard she'd passed away. What a shame.

Bosom Buddies castmember too, if I'm remembering correctly.

Posted by: Jeff G at December 8, 2005 04:49 PM

I think the whole Beatles phenomenon was to some degree a case of "right place, right time." But Lennon and McCartney did have a kind of genius: part of the genius, however, was the way their minds worked together. McCarney supplied the hooks and the yin; Lennon gave us the wierdness and the yang.

One can make an argument that it didn't have to be George, or Ringo--any superb guitarist, any stellar drummer would have sufficed. I don't really believe that, but let's pretend I do. No matter what, there's no way to pry Lennon away from McCartney or McCartney away from Lennon and still claim the level of genius (yes, I think the word applies) would have been the same.

And I think the songs are classics, just like Beethoven, Chopin and Bach. We'll be hearing the best of their melodies forever in various forms--and interpreted different ways.

Posted by: Attila Girl at December 8, 2005 06:28 PM

I don't see how you could ever have that kind of revolution again, because the music world is too fractured. In England, the New Wave mania of 77-79 was similar, but it was too raw for corporate US rock stations

(Did you know that for a brief shining moment, KFI playlisted the Ramones & the Sex Pistols?? This was at the same time the old dinosaur station KMET sniffed 'We DON'T play punk'. They were soon gone.)

Posted by: beautifulatrocities at December 9, 2005 10:09 AM

2163? That would be 200 years after the fact, not 60. In 2163, I'm sure there will still be people like you, unfazed and unmoved by the music Lennon and The Beatles gave the world. Of course, they'll be outnumbered by even more happy Beatle fans...

I'm sure Lennon would have plenty to say about the worship and adulation surrounding his name these days. I'm also sure it wouldn't be pretty. As annoying as crying hippies sitting in Central Park with their guitars might seem in 2005, they're not nearly as laughable as writers who dismiss the Beatles with statements amounting to, "I'm so smart, I was above calling myself a fan even in Jr. High".

Posted by: gcarlston at December 9, 2005 11:41 AM


I had a few friends who were the swooning, obsessed fans of the Beatles, playing the music over and over, dominating long conversations that consisted mostly of "Who is cuter? Paul or John?"

I was never that gaagaa over any musical group, and my taste ran more Doors than Beatles.

So where does my agnosticism translate into "I'm so smart" that you charge?

A little hostile, eh?

PS I did mention Beetoven's work -- you know, the long haired dude writing about 200 years ago?

Posted by: Darleen at December 9, 2005 12:21 PM

Here's how to rattle the cage of a classical music fan: when someone mentions Beethoven's name, knit your forehead and say, "Oh, right--didn't he do that "A Fifth of Beethoven" song?"

Wait for the fireworks.

Posted by: Attila Girl at December 11, 2005 01:39 AM

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