The Beatles are forever

Sunday, February 21, 2021 - 1:59pm

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It all started in a car. I couldn’t tell you how old I was or where we were going, but I remember distinctly the first time I appreciated The Beatles the way I do now. My dad, now owner of a music publishing company based in Nashville, Tenn., has ingrained a comprehensive music education in me and my siblings — beginning with my bedtime lullaby, “My Girl” by The Temptations. In that car, on that day, I realized something that I will now gladly argue to anyone at any time: The Beatles are forever. 

Since that moment, I have listened to every Beatles song in existence. I’ve had the life-changing opportunity to see Paul McCartney in concert twice and have unforgettable memories belting “Helter Skelter”, “Oh! Darling” and “Eleanor Rigby” with a 70-something-year-old Paul. My laptop, walls and Spotify Wrapped have been eternally overwhelmed by The Fab Four, and I can confidently say that nobody will ever take their place. 

All of this to say that I am my father’s daughter in that I have utilized my appreciation for bands like The Beatles, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, etc., to encourage exploration of all genres and decades of music. Anyone who knows me knows the nature of my Spotify playlists transcends all times and variations of music; from Chance the Rapper’s “Hot Shower” to Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover” and back again. My appreciation for and love of music all is thanks to The Beatles. Therefore, it truly is all thanks to my dad. 

I have met few people in my life who have the audacity to make statements such as “I don’t like The Beatles,” or “Yellow Submarine is a terrible song,” but nonetheless it’s worth addressing for those that have. 

For me, understanding their humble beginnings underscores the magnitude of appreciation they demand. The Beatles began as a group of four young boys from Liverpool, England. 15-year-old Paul McCartney was invited to join 16-year-old John Lennon’s band and after a series of additional member changes, the rest is history. While my short column cannot effectively do justice to this sensational story of the beginning brewings of the British Invasion, I have watched and encourage everyone to watch the plethora of documentaries made about The Beatles. 

In 1964 — coincidentally, the same year my dad was born — The Beatles came to the U.S. and made their first live American television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” But the band’s prolific nature became a problem for its individual members. As George Harrison further pursued his own interest in song-writing, they began to have difficult decisions to make: What songs would be recorded and, even more challenging, what songs would be performed? This led to their hard but historically well-received decision to take a step back from the stage and focus instead on experimenting in the studio. If you have ever listened to the album titled Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, you know exactly what I’m talking about — and if you haven’t, what are you still doing reading this column? 

The Beatles officially broke up in 1970, but years later are revered for the ways in which they permanently changed the game of music. Time and time again, today’s top artists will announce their primary musical inspiration as The Beatles even in the unexpected genre of rap. This article displays it perfectly by citing explicit Beatles references and times that artists such as Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Lil Wayne and Mac Miller paid homage to The Beatles. 

I recognize that not all music is for everyone. Some people exclusively take to one genre or artist or sound, and I respect that perspective. As someone who relies on music to provide a soundtrack to my life in more ways than one, I can understand the specificity that comes with choosing music that speaks to you. 

However, I will argue until the day I die that everyone has a Beatles song that will speak to them. This is simply because The Beatles do not fit in a box; they are a genre within themselves. In this chaotic world we continue to navigate through, take a second to pause whatever it is you’re listening to and play something by The Beatles — anything at all. 

To end this article, I’d like to say something that I’m not sure I say enough about my unmatched love for The Beatles: thank you, Dad. 

Jess D’Agostino can be reached at jessdag@umich.edu.


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