Sunday, May 21, 2006

On the myth of the Beatles
Let's make one thing absolutely clear: I love the Beatles.
They’re both overrated and one of the greatest bands.
The Beatles were not nice. From their birth as a VD-riddled speed-freak Hamburg show band to their misogynist, acid-addled mumbo-jumbo spouting hippie heyday, the Beatles remained at heart fucked-up, stumbling, nasty little gutter punks — way more Sid Vicious than Pope John Paul II.

For sure, Lennon's solo classic "Imagine" is an ideologically perfect socialist/atheist utopian anthem. But against that you've got to set George Harrison's bourgeois bellyaching on "Taxman" (the government taking money off multimillionaire pop stars to build schools and hospitals? Outrageous!)
Here Mr Wells and I are 180 degrees apart: I’m anti-‘Imagine’ (even more evil and dangerous because musically it is beautiful) and think Harrison sounded libertarian.

But I found the latter hypocritical in two other ways: an apostate Roman Catholic who was fine with elaborate ritual and organised religion when the Hare Krishnas did it but didn’t actually join*, he complained about intrusive fans which was justified up to a point (look what happened to him towards the end of his life and of course what happened to Lennon). But like I’ve written about ‘Imagine’ (search the blog) if it wasn’t for them buying his records (the market) he wouldn’t have had the landed-gentlemanly life he had. If he hated fame and what went with as much as he claimed, he could have given away Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames to me, gone on the dole in Liverpool like he probably would have ended up anyway if not for the Fabs and everybody would have been happy.
...and Paul McCartney's excruciatingly embarrassing support of Dubya's war on brown-skinned people controlling their own oil.
Really? Sorry to hear that.
Rock stars! What don’t they know?
- Homer Simpson after Sir Paul’s guest appearance
Bands were now expected to write their own songs. They were no longer pop musicians; they were "artists."

It should've been obvious at the time that something disastrous had happened. Great songwriters with shit voices murdered their own material. Great singers recorded self-penned drug-drivel that wouldn't have been used for arsewipe back in the Brill Building. And everybody was too stoned to notice.

Has there ever been a branch of show business that's taken itself so absurdly seriously?
In short the Beatles were good at what they did but disaster struck when the less talented tried to emulate them as songwriter-performers and the business indulged them.

Ringo Starr seems nice, like he knows he has modest talent and is genuinely grateful for the big break he got.

*To join, members give up all their goods and give all their money to the group, like monasticism except everybody has to do it.

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