I have a confession to make. I don't like the Beatles. In fact, I think they stink. I've tried so hard to like them. Believe me. With all the hoopla around how revolutionary they were, and how they changed everything, I still can't for the life of me figure out what the hype was all about. I mean, I know I am supposed to like them. It's a part of being a modern American born after WWII. It's practically required. Rejecting them is like saying Faulkner was an idiot, or if you are from Medina, that Frank Bianchi wasn't the shit. It's heresy. (In all fairness to Frank Bianchi, I do think he is extremely talented, so please no hate mail on that one).
I can see how the Beatles may have had some kind of cool allure in the early 60's with their mod outfits. I thought Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band was a good album, but I don't think they deserve rock-god status. I've tried looking at their work holistically. I can't see it. Their songs just never resonated with me. I know it was about love and finding harmony with the world and all that, but how was that any different from the stuff by other artists of the time?
As far as individual artists, I think Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were sort of lightweights. The best thing Ringo ever did was narrate the Thomas the Train Engine series. "I think I can, I think I can" was Ringo's finest cultural achievement. John Lennon on his own was fine, and of course George Harrison was talented. In fact, I always thought Sean Lennon, the youngest son of John, was always more talented than his father. His music has more depth. Sean is lucky to have taken after his father instead of his mother, Yoko, in the music department. Yoko's musical ventures have not been pretty.
Maybe you had to be alive at the time. Apparently with the Vietnam War going on and their opposition to it, and their hippy values, they sort of were in touch with the spirit of the age. Being born in 1976, this was long past my time. I don't think it's cultural, though, because I can listen to Bob Dylan and the lyrics give me chills. I see Dylan as being a musical genius. I listen to the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Doors and I can appreciate how awesome the music of the Vietnamese War era was. I really think it was just the Beatles. To me, they were of the same caliber as the Monkees, who overall were a fun band but had as much impact as the New Kids on the Block or maybe Menudo.
Okay, I suppose I am a cultural troglodyte. Next thing you know, I'll be dissing Shakespeare and praising the Sarah Palin reading list, or claiming how I think Joe the Plumber is a deep thinker. I might even start giving away free Milton Friedman books. Watch out.
Of course maybe I'm not so far off. After all, there has to be an English professor somewhere who doesn't like Shakespeare, a musician who doesn't like Mozart, or an athlete who thinks Michael Jordan wasn't so great. If that's the case, I will stick to my guns and continue disliking the Beatles. If you want to play them, fine. I won't run away.
But if you start playing Ringo or Paul, I'm outta here.