Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 22, 2013

SINGER: A half century spent with the Beatles

Niagara Gazette — We’ve been celebrating, or really lamenting, the 50th anniversary of the terrible JFK tragedy; but also recognizing via a slew of books, music collections, and programs the Beatles’ first incursion on this side of the Atlantic in that same period, and now a half century old as well.

No one of a certain age in Western New York can forget exactly where he/she was when they first encountered the Beatles’ revolutionary recordings. I myself heard their initial album released over here during the Christmas holidays of 1963-64. It was being played on the turntable at a party, snow petalling the ground outside, and I was completely wowed by each cut.

So apparently was a still youthful Brian Wilson, on top with his Beach Boys, but freaked by how every tune on these early Beatles’ LPs was marvelously done, and for the era, original, if within America’s rock n’ roll lineage the four Brits had absorbed growing up in Liverpool. Wilson now felt his Beach Boys would have to keep up, and due to the Beatles’ originality and standards, the world, and not only the musical world, had suddenly changed enormously.

Hair styles in the general male public began to follow theirs, and somehow, they kept navigating musically ahead of the pack through that revolutionary decade, until at the end of the ‘60s their own end as a group came into view.

All four were important cogs in the wheel, but obviously Lennon and McCartney had a special, symbiotic chemistry — as songwriters and “musical editors” for their iconic group. To most, Lennon seemed the tougher of the two, but Sir Paul has noted that this was only external — on the inside, he was in fact stronger than John. He also said that they touched each other’s souls working up all the incredible tunes they did together.

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