Friday, January 05, 2007

Is It Me?

As my favourite Radio 2 DJ would say.

I have been pondering the fact that though I am probably completely out of tune with the rest of the world and am about to commit a sacreligious act, by even thinking it, let alone saying it, I just don't get the Beatles.

There. Now I feel much better.

Don't get me wrong.

I was born half way through the sixties so the Beatles formed the soundtrack to my early life. When I was a teenager everything was retro sixties, and to those of us who boogied our way through the eighties there was always some slight feeling of having been cheated that being in nappies at the time, we somehow missed out on the biggest decade of the twentieth century. (Mind you, maybe that's just youth - my niece felt the same about the eighties...)

Nearly every party I went to in my teens featured I Want to Hold Your Hand/Hard Day's Night/All You Need is Love etc, so maybe my feeling of bafflement about the Fab Four as I approach middle age is simple ennui. I was overexposed to them at such a tender age, it is no wonder that now I can't bear to listen.

But actually, the simple truth for me was, that once I got to hear the Kinks, the Stones, the Zombies, I just felt the Beatles were overrated. Sure they wrote some catchy numbers, but maybe they only hit the big time because they were there first... I wasn't even born when they had their first no 1 so how should I know. And anything John Lennon wrote on his own was just a pile of crap as far as I'm concerned. I always fantasised about having some rock god writing me a fabulous song when I was young. But Woman would have had me pouring water on his head (Had it been Layla, then you'd be talking...) And as for Imagine. Well. What a load of idealistic nonsense that was. Possibly the most pretentious piece of musical writing in the history of pop music.

Still.

The Beatles.

They are iconic.

And we have just been given the new George Martin remix album for Christmas.

Spouse put it on in the car while we were driving back from Shropshire, and I have to say I listened with great anticipation. Maybe George would reach the aural parts that normal Beatle tracks couldn't...

I have to confess it was a little tricky listening, as the kids were watching a DVD at the time, but I got the general gist, and the answer is ...

Nope.

Sorry George it didn't work.

At least not for me.

All you need is love irritates the hell out of me more then ever.

I am the Walrus is plain stupid.

And Hey Jude sounds even wetter twenty years on. (We always used to hate that one as kids).

Having said that the ones that always worked for me: Eleanor Rigby, Lady Madonna and While My Guitar Gently Weeps still blow my mind.

But - is it me? This album has been hyped to death. Does it really sound so different?

I didn't think so.

But then.

I'm not a big Beatles fan. And I don't really get it.

But then I don't get: Big Brother, Russell Brand or Pop Idol either.

There's obviously no hope for me...

7 comments:

Judy Astley said...

The thing is, with the Beatles, you had to be there and you had to be thirteen. They wrote cute enough songs but the point was that THEY were cute. And then later, when you got towards 15 or so, they moved into their weird and mystical phase and were the first ones to do so. BUT.. the first hearing of 'Come On' by the Stones, and the childhood bit was over. The Beatles were a girly crush. The Stones were hot sex. And then, oh joy, Hendrix....
I can't hear the Beatles now without feeling mildly cringey but Jimi, Cream, Doors, etc, even T.Rex (bless little Mark, RIP) ... they still do it for me.
Judy Astley xxxx

Jane Henry said...

Oh Judy, you've reassured me. You were there and it's not just me. Maybe I was having the girly crush twenty years after you!

I agree about the Stones. My bil who saw them live in Wallington Town Hall reckoned you were either a Stones or a Beatles fan and you couldn't be both.

I saw them at Wembley before they got too creaky and they rocked (the Stones that is)! I agree about all your other choices, and to them would add: Led Zepp, Rush (from my teen years), Bon Jovi, Nirvana, White Snake, Motorhead.
Where do I stop?????

love Jx

h&b said...

Funky remixes that add nothing irritate me.

I saw the John Waters one-man John Lennon Tribute: Looking Through a Glass Onion, which I loved, and I have a soft spot for the Beatles, but then I think I like ALL music.

I grew up with my parents listening to Beatles, Stones, Cream, Doors, Jimi, Simon & Garfunkle, the Moody Blues, Rainbow, Led Zep .. many varied acts. I love them all ;)

Nic said...

Funny isn't it? I was born in 1970, but I like quite a lot of Beatles stuff - particularly Revolver, and my all time favourite Beatles track, For No One (love the French horn).
Never listened to it at home though, as my parents were late 20s when Beatlemania hit and were still listening to Mantovani and Mario Lanza. My other half, who is actually a child of the 60s, being a grand 5 months older than me, doesn't get them at all.
And he thinks that neither of them wrote anything of worth relly iithout the other (with the possible exception of Mull of Kintyre which he has a strange fondness for).

Hey Jude might be worth listening to again, though... at 2:58, if you listen carefully and have adecent sound system, you can hear Lennon shriek "f***ing hell" in the background as he misses a backing vocal cue. always makes me smile, since this is one of my Dad's favourite tracks ever - haven't got the heart to tell him there's an obscenity in it...

And remember, it'd be a very boring place if we all liked the same stuff - there would never be anything to argue drunkenly over with your mates at 3 o'clock in the morning...

mad muthas said...

so with you on the beatles. i quite like some of their stuff now - only really the early stuff. the later oeuvre is still cringeworthy. but the kinks always did (and still do) it for me.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Ok, now I know new blogger is out to get me. I was here earlier this week and posted a comment about that bloody awful Stars on 45 (remember it?) and my comment is GONE.

So, anyway, Stars of 45 - Beatles remix - 1980-somthing. It seemed very pertinent at the time!

Jane Henry said...

Stars on 45? Yeah I remember them. There seemed to be a time at every disco I went to you'd start toe tapping to something you liked (and then it was the Beatles) and the buggers used to switch to something else! I hated it...


Mad Muthas, the Kinks do it for me everytime. We tried to see the gorgeous Ray (I am not worthy, I am not worthy) in October, but he was ill so the concert was cancelled. We're trying again in May. I am not holding out much hope as Spouse tried to see him twenty years ago and the same thing happened. Hmm.... maybe I should go alone...

love Janex