I’m not exactly sure when was the first time I heard them. I know that the first time, their voices stuck. Their tunes were catchy and their words were comforting. Growing up The Beatles were a big deal in my household. Well, that maybe an exaggeration…I mean, I know my mom is going to read this and think… “I don’t care about them”, but My uncle Juan Mario admired them and as a 6 year old, I loved them and they were (and still are) a big deal to me. Their songs “I Want to Hold Your Hand” “Love Me Do” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” were a few of my favorites. Not really understanding what the full concept of these songs were, I sang them, not knowing that these men had played decades before I was born. The Beatles were my first taste of music. In my home, The Beatles played as often as you listen to anything that plays on the radio now. I enjoyed their music so much, that I sang their songs constantly, I would sing their songs as if they were my own and guaranteed to have the best show in my neighborhood if you dared come pay a visit!
As I grew up and at different stages of my life I have been attracted to different songs and have learned new facts about them. For this I am grateful, I mean, can you imagine a six year old Johana asking “What is LSD?” and “Why is Lucy in the Sky and where did the Diamonds come from?”. This also gave me the opportunity to learn about other songs with time. As a teenager, my favorite songs were “And I Love Her” “If I Fell” and “All My Loving”. Things are different now, their music sounds different now. I listen, analyze and critique different parts of different songs now. Now as a grown up, I have fallen in love with songs like “Blackbird” “Hey Jude” “Don’t Let Me Down” “Let It Be” “ Happiness is a Warm Gun” “Sexy Sadie” and many more.
But one thing that has never changed is: I always have and always will associate my uncle with their words, their instruments, their music, with them. Primarily for his lengthy knowledge of their music and admiration of John Lennon’s musical abilities. In all honesty, I have always favored Paul. (If you see my uncle, don’t tell him! He may be disappointed and we don’t want that…)
To me, The Beatles represent a simpler, more complicated era, (I know what an oxymoron) a time where artists had the power to tackle social issues. A “Simpler” time because audiences didn’t have cable tv, cellphones, traffic, internet….FACEBOOK! But the sixties were complicated, tense, and unpredictable as well. With the Coldwar; the Cuban Missile Crisis creating the realistic fear of nuclear warfare and with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. there was complete fear for the future.
To many young people, The Beatles are these four young men with funny hair cuts and Edwardian matching suits, that appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, got famous, drove girls crazy and wrote a few good songs. In my opinion, this isn’t how we should be teaching future generations about them. We need to discuss how “Beatlemania” was considered a feminist movement; how they used their popularity to boycott segregated arenas during the Civil Rights movement and most importantly how their music influenced a postwar era of teenage Baby Boomers, who later became activists, protesters, and hippies that are often discussed.
I constantly feel pity for young people who don’t know who the Beatles are, but have stated that Kayne West is going to make a man named Paul McCartney famous or how great the drummer on the Sketchers commercial is referring to Ringo Starr. This is not how we need to remember these men; The Beatles need to be remembered as the intellectual foursome that changed America and the world.