When I was little, I watched the “Yellow Submarine” animated film on VCR until it practically fell apart. No, seriously – the VCR player would completely reject the movie. This is not to say that it is a good movie, certainly not by any stretch of the imagination. It is a drug-induced, hippy dream/nightmare lasting for a seemingly plotless ninety minutes. Regardless, it was foundational for my childhood. After every viewing, I would run around singing “Hey, Bulldog” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” for hours. I devoured every song in that movie like it was the last time I would ever hear it.
When I got older, “Yellow Submarine” was traded in for “Help” and “A Hard Day’s Night.” Again, the cycle of watching and re-watching continued. At one point in my childhood, my dad could play five seconds of any Beatles song on his guitar and I would proudly identify it with ease. While my abilities have since subsided in that department, my passion has remained.
Moments in my life are earmarked with my favorite Beatles songs. When I was in elementary school, I loved their pop, happy-go-lucky sound captured most in classics like “Twist and Shout.” I can recall a favorite memory from my childhood by the Beatles song that was playing in the background. In high school, after going through a rough break-up, I turned to a moodier side, skipping through playlists until I reached “Yesterday” or “Eleanor Rigby.” To celebrate an academic victory, I blasted “Getting Better” and “Good Day Sunshine” out my car windows. And, stressed for midterms in college, I found myself absorbed in “Revolver.”
No playlist I ever make is complete without – at the very least – one Beatles song. Right now, the pièce de résistance in my summer playlist is “Oh! Darling,” perhaps my current favorite Beatles song, though, to be fair, the title is passed along nearly daily.
The passion does not stop just with relistening to albums. My dad and I often obsessively watch and re-watch concert recordings, discuss fan theories, dig through vinyl record stores for outtakes and, more recently, the mono remastered editions of classic albums and seek out concerts with either Ringo or Paul (both of whom I now can proudly say I have seen live). It is rather an all-encompassing love.
Because of this near-religious devotion, I use the Beatles as the point of comparison between all other albums and songs. I will note the creativity of a modern recording as influenced by the Beatles’s later years and their multitracking practices. Or I will remark that a current music video is obviously inspired by “A Hard Day’s Night,” long before MTV and “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Director Richard Lester was even granted the title of the father of MTV. I wish I could make my passion for the Beatles at least sound less annoying and ever-present, but unfortunately, that would be a lie.
I often tell myself I am not the “fangirl” type. For anything else, my interests remain at a healthy, fairly neutral level. You know, I recognize the names of bands, know many of their albums – the normal kind of attentiveness, but the Beatles seem to take it to a whole different level. I see myself in the girls that fainted during the Beatles concerts, overwhelmed in an almost religious sense. It is a distressing but rather apt fact.
I always knew this article would come. How could I authentically write for a culture section for nearly three years without even mentioning my growing infatuation with the Beatles? Anyways, this is my love letter, my magnum opus if you will, for the band who created my love for music.