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Sunday, February 9, 2014

It was 50 years ago today...

It was 50 years ago today
That The Beatles came to the states to play
They've never gone out of style
and there always sure to bring out a smile
So let me reintroduce to you
A band you've know for all these years
The Beatles, the greatest rock and roll band.

My apologies to those fans of the classic song  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band but today this post celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Beatles arrival across the Atlantic from Britain.  This evening, 50 years ago,  much of the country witnessed the shrieking, boisterous Beatlemania that had taken hold of teens in New York as they viewed the Sunday Evening Ed Sullivan Show.  It certainly marked the end of the quieter portion of the 60's and nothing would ever be the same again. 

Our country just lost its shining, youthful prince only a little over two months previous to the Beatles arrival.  The youth of the country needed something to rally around as an escape, for lack of a better word, from this recent tragedy.  Now, the Beatles arrive in New York, at the airport now named after our slain leader, JFK.  Once again, nothing would ever be the same again. 

What follows is a post I wrote last year with my reflections regarding the Beatles:

What more can be said about the 4 young lads from Liverpool, England who took the world by storm "all those years ago".  My first exposure to the music of the Beatles came several years after their break up.  Capital records produced complilation albums, the famous Red and Blue Albums. 

These two albums were my introduction to the Beatles and looking back on it today, I marvel at the changes in each of the members of the band through those years 1962-1970 (look at the two covers!).  In the late 1970's, Capital released Beatles Love Songs (I believe it's out of print) and all of the Beatle ballads and slower songs were given their rightful spotlight.  I remember an older sister who had that album and I liked many of the songs on that compilation.

As I got older, I clearly remember when John Lennon was assassinated, miles away from my home, on December 8, 1980.  That was quite sad as he was only 40 years old and just coming out of a five year break where he was raising his son Sean having released Double Fantasy with his wife Yoko Ono that October.

I was only 10 years old when John Lennon was killed but at that young age, I began to discover more about the history of the Beatles and the solo careers of each member.  I also set out to own their music.  This was during the late 80s with the release of their music on CD.  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was an essential and first addition to my Beatles discography.  Even today, I can play it and find some subtle nuance I may have missed in previous playings.  I enjoy all of the songs on it and admire the guts they took to retreat from touring completely and making this record.
In the 1990's, the survivng members of the Beatles worked together and the Anthology series of albums were released.  For Anthology 1 and 2, John Lennon demos were completed by Paul, George and Ringo and produced by George's fellow Travelling Wilbury - Jeff Lynn.   Free as a Bird and Real Love were the two songs completed.  The Anthology albums also included alternate tracks and demos of familiar songs.

In 2000, The Beatles "1" was released and it showcased 27 Beatle number 1 songs that hit the US and/or UK charts.  This compilation was released on the 30th anniversary of the bands breakup. The compilation is a great introduction to the band much like I was introduced to them via the Red/Blue albums.  This year, 2014, saw the release of the Beatles US albums.  When the CD's were released, they were released in the format they were released everywhere else but America.  In the USA, the Beatles releases were in a different sequence and now Capitol records have released the US versions.

Flash forward to today and the Beatles continue to remain relevant.  All of their music is now found on I-Tunes.  Paul and Ringo continue to make new music and perform.  George's son Dani Harrison has a band of his own and is following in his Father's footsteps.  Sean Lennon also is a muscian and social activist like his Dad.  He is currently protesting against the process of Fracking in upstate New York. 

I recently came across an Italian musician who has a number of YouTube videos where he dissects the vocal harmonies of Beatle songs.  Galeazzo Frudua truely enjoys what he's doing and it's a fitting tribute to a great band.  His videos are also fun to watch.  Follow him at his YouTube Channel - The Beatles Vocal Harmony and at Twitter - @Frudua


I think the Beatles could be summed up with one word: LOVE.  As in "All You Need is Love".  Sometimes a simple message, such as this, can have a profound effect on the world.  The Beatles were harbingers of the social and consciousness change that occurred in 1960's.  Yes, our world has changed since then, for good, for bad, that's a point to debate, but how we treat others remains relevant today as it did during the Beatles heyday.  I still believe the Beatles will be discussed and studied hundreds of years from now and I'm happy their music remains to inspire and influence the world. 

What's your favorite Beatles song or album?  Do you like their solo efforts?  I'd love to hear back from you so be sure to leave a comment.

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