by Kevin Burton
On my Amazon Echo device, Alexa Myers has made me a post-Beatles play list. She calls it Beatles playlist because I couldn’t make her understand the name I wanted for it. No matter.
The list has my favorite tunes from the Fab four after their 1970 breakup.
My first idea for this post was to listen to that list and gather a set of 10 to 12 tunes that could have made a Beatles album.
The four Beatles were not equal in stature but in choosing songs, according to various biographies, any one person could veto a song. It had to pass muster.
So using the 60’s Beatles output as a measuring tool, what fistful of solo songs are so strong that the four would have agreed they were worthy to put on an album.
That idea doesn’t work though. I can’t get that many songs, at least from the ones I am familiar with.
I should have just picked my favorite songs and been done with it. That way something like “Listen To What The Man Said,” by Paul McCartney could be a candidate, even though I doubt any of the other Beatles would have gone for that one.
Here’s what I got that I thought all four Beatles might buy into: “Maybe I’m Amazed,” by McCartney, “It Don’t Come Easy,” written by George Harrison and Ringo Starr, performed by Starr, “Band On The Run,” by McCartney and “Live And Let Die,” by McCartney (a song that would never make my favorites list).
McCartney’s “Let ‘Em In” might have been a concept the lads could have agreed on but it never would have survived as soft rock for AM radio.
And I think Harrison’s “Give Me Love’ would have made the grade. Inasmuch as you could get Lennon to listen to a Harrison song, he would have told George to lose the “take hold of my hand” line and add something better.
That’s all I can get. Not enough for an album. The four individuals, brilliant as their talents were did not approach the level of the group.
Of course it’s possible some of the solo songs would have been elevated to classics because the entire group was making contributions to them.
The Beatles, producer George Martin and their interviewers and biographers have all said when the four of them were together they constituted a whole other entity, some kind of force that elevated them above other bands.
It’s probably way too much to ask a group to maintain that level of brilliance.
So here’s an interesting, unanswerable question: had they continued as a unit what would they have been writing about in the 70s? Would the 1970’s music scene have imposed its will on the Beatles or vice versa?
How would the Beatles speak to a record-buying public that was into “Baby I’m-A Want You.”?
We can assume the group would not have done disco since none of the individuals did. But there is a good chance we would have gotten a great disco send up embedded in a song, the way they nodded to the Beach Boys in “Back In The USSR.”
Would there have been a Watergate song? Though they were English, they did pay attention to America.
The 70s were a different time. The Beatles were perfect for the 60s, but the 70s?
If I do string together may favorite post-Beatles songs, you might as well know now, “Imagine” by John Lennon will not be there. It tops the www.cleveland.com list and I am sure many others.
It’s my least favorite song any Beatle ever touched. It’s my biggest beef with Lennon.
The world being as one is a great notion, but not if you’re eliminating God from the picture in the process. “Imagine there’s no heaven,” he sang. “No hell below us.”
Imagining there was never a John Lennon is a silly enough notion. Eliminating Heaven and Hell just by wishing them away, how unspeakably ridiculous is that?