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YESTERDAY


25 years ago, the world lost John Lennon. The world “icon” may be overused nowadays, but nobody will disagree that the crown doesn’t fit this bloke’s head the most. But despite his excellence, the world will relate John Lennon more to the definitive “Beatles” than to his absolutely fantastic solo career post-Beatles with unforgettable gems like “Imagine” (which would make it to any top ten song list anywhere), “Jealous Guy”, “Instant Karma”, “Crippled Inside”, “Give peace a chance”, “Woman”…..I could go on and on, but this is about the aura that was the Beatles. The quartet that would be incomplete without even Ringo in. Obviously it was John and Paul that grabbed the limelight, but so what, that was the charm that was the Beatles, George remained the quiet one, writing just the one song for the Beatles “Here comes the sun”, which turned into one of the biggest classics for the band. Although there were the odd “misunderstandings” between the top 2, it developed into the finest bittersweet competitive rivalry that kept them churning on one classic after the other. Remember the line when Paul showed John the words of “Yesterday” where he said “yes, its ok” where he silently whispered to himself  “Damn, I’l have to better that”.

      

It was a typical beginning to this Rock and Roll Gods. In 1957 Paul McCartney joined John Lennon's Liverpool, England group, The Quarrymen. Within a year, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe joined (the group used a rotating cast of drummers until 1960) and formed the first lineup of the group that would become The Beatles. In 1960 they changed their name to The Silver Beetles, which was then shortened to The Beatles (Lennon joked "a man in a flaming pie appeared and said you shall be Beetles with an a"). This year their first permanent drummer, Pete Best also was enlisted. At this point, the Beatles became the house band for the Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany, playing mostly R&B and Rock 'n' Roll covers.

When the under-age George Harrison was deported in December 1960, The Beatles returned to Liverpool to play regularly at the Cavern Club. The Beatles did return briefly to Germany though to appear at the Top Ten club, and to record their first officially released music, backing Tony Sheridan on his "My Bonnie" single. As The Beatles returned to England, Stuart Sutcliffe stayed in Germany to pursue a painting career, and guitarist Paul McCartney took his place on bass.






In November 1961, Brian Epstein, the manager of a Liverpool record store, became interested in The Beatles because of customer interest in the "My Bonnie" single. He went to see them at the Cavern Club and became their manager. Epstein got The Beatles auditions at a number of record labels, all of them declining the group, until they played for producer George Martin of Parlophone/EMI and were signed in May 1962. A few months later, Pete Best was kicked out for a number of reasons (including Martin's displeasure with his drumming) and replaced by Ringo Starr. Within a few weeks they recorded their first single, "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You," in September 1962. Both songs were Lennon/McCartney originals, and it made it to the lower end of the British Top 20. Their second single, "Please Please Me" topped the British charts in early 1963 and began a string of #1 hits and huge success for the rest of the decade, until The Beatles broke up.

"Beatlemania" spread to America in December 1963 when Capitol (also and EMI subsidiary) released "I Want to Hold Your Hand". Until that point, Capitol had refused to release any Beatles music because no British group had succeeded in the US previously (various independent label had released The Beatles' singles and albums in the US prior to Capitol).
The rest is history mates, one classic followed another. 27 number 1 singles (superseded only by Elvis presley 31 no. 1s), “Hard days night”, “Yesterday”, “From me to you”, “She loves you”, “I want to hold your hand”, “Eight days a week”, “Help!”, “All you need is love”, “Let it be”, “Something”, “Hey Jude” etc etc etc etc etc.

This is what a book writer says in the introduction to their website says as regards the anxiousness of the crowds before a concert, “I have never seen anything like it. Nor heard any noise to approximate the ceaseless, frantic, hysterical scream which met the Beatles when they took the stage after what seemed a hundred years of earlier acts. All very good, all marking time, because no one had come for anything other than the Beatles….Then the theatre went wild. First aid men and police – men in the stalls, women mainly in the balcony – taut and anxious, patrolled the aisles, one to every three rows. Many girls fainted. Thirty were gently carried out, protesting in their hysteria, forlorn and wretched in an unrequited love for four lads who might have lived next door. The youth of Britain surrounded themselves totally.

But all good things come to an end. Beatles broke up on 31st December 1970 (Yup on New Years eve), due to well publicized reasons, which are better left unspoken. But these were talented and had flourishing solo careers unlike members of other popular bands that decide to split. John produced and wrote one of the most brilliant albums “Imagine” and was involved in the peace movement. Paul may be writing a song as you read this. George produced and wrote a few albums, before his unfortunate death a year ago.
As I write this I listen to one of my favorite Lennon songs titled “So, this is Christmas” and I’d wish all you people a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Keep Rockin.





-- Kenneth S. --

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