by Kevin Burton
My Beatles wish is not like yours I’m guessing.
I am a big fan of Beatles music. If granted the power to rewrite music history it would be tempting to undo the Beatles breakup, but I wouldn’t.
I would want to keep the post Beatles individual work of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Or, in order of how much I like the solo work it would be Paul, Ringo, George and John, in that order.
My wish calls for longer lives for John and George.
What I would wish for is one last album from the lads. While I’m at it, I’ll ask for a double album, maybe 20 songs.
I wish the four had lived long enough and gotten along well enough to sum it all up for us.
The Beatles are the most rated band in history. They are vastly underrated and vastly overrated. Their work has just been examined so much, under multiple microscopes, some of them cloudy, rose-colored or both.
I wish we could hear it from them. Not the individual them in interviews, we have that. I want to hear the collective them in song.
Pick a year, 1985 or so. That would be 20-plus years after playing their first Ed Sullivan show, 15 years after the breakup.
It would be so great to hear from them, the long view of (in no particular order) Beatlemania, working together, fighting together, imitator bands, marathon nights in Hamburg Germany, what they would change, the art, the drugs, the money, the women, the Cavern Club, what they miss and didn’t miss about being The Fab Four.
What do you suppose that would sound like? Imagine.
My wife asked me why I like the Beatles so much. I was amazed to realize I couldn’t answer.
And this wasn’t even the “make the case” question. You know, make the case for the Beatles as the best band of all time. That’s the question that makes you go through all that Rolling Stones stuff that I can’t be bothered with. For me the question is settled. Number two band of all time is a lofty goal for the Stones and others to aspire to.
This question was just why I like the Beatles.
So maybe I’m overthinking it because that’s just what we do with the Beatles. Or maybe I just don’t know where to start.
So I tried to list my favorite tunes, the essential ones, to see what qualities I could pick out from them.
Without trying very hard I came up with 48 songs from “A Day in the Life” to “Yesterday” and just now added another. Might as well add something else to make it an even 50. If I try that though, before long I’ll be aiming for an even 60.
Too many songs, too much variety to use that approach.
Then I started cheating, looking up other people’s answers through Google search, but that hasn’t helped either.
Articles with titles such as “Ten reasons you’re an idiot if you don’t like the Beatles” and “Nine reasons why I like the Beatles” go into things I don’t care about.
So here’s my keep it simple answer. I like the lyrics (mostly) and the fact that I can understand them. I love the harmony and the variety. It’s hard to ignore just how good and how innovative the music is.
So I’m trying to think of other artists, bands that check all those boxes and coming up with nothing.
Let’s say you could take Stevie Wonder’s musicianship, Mamas and Papas’ harmony, Steely Dan lyrics and give them all to one band, I’m still not sure you could match the Beatles.
One more Beatles record is out of the question of course. One more column overthinking the Beatles, well that can be done.