By Hans Ebert
Their music has been the soundtrack to many of our lives. We grew up with them. Their songs made us smile, sad, think, forgive, forget, fall in love, fall out of love, stay in love.
They gave us answers when there were none. They inspired us when we needed to be picked up when having been put down. Because of them, some of us picked up guitars and tried to write songs and be musicians. At least we tried.
We travelled with them to magical lands where we met characters and came face to face with our own demons. And beat them. We had their music on our side- their music which became our music.
With them, and through them, we learned to dream. They were our books. Often, they were our schools when those other schools had closed their doors.
They opened our minds. They blew our minds. We understood what was a hard days night, why we should have known better, and about having that girl, but how, she really had you, and why we were handed that ticket to ride before becoming nowhere people living in our nowhere lands making all our nowhere plans for nobody.
We lived, we learned, we unlearned, we moved on knowing what we knew. They and their songs made us that much more wiser, wary and inquisitive.
We’re losing our idols while always trying not to worship false ones, but once in a while losing our way. Put this down to the overgrown groupie in us. At least it shows that some semblance of passion is still alive and total cynicism hasn’t taken over.
Some of the greatest voices in music have been silenced forever. We have lost our greatest musicians- true innovators who changed the sound and course of music forever. But there’s always been the Beatles. And there is still the music of the Beatles and the memories they have given us.
John and George have left us, Paul and Ringo are in their Seventies, still active, still making music, but no one lives forever. What makes us so darn lucky is that we’ll have the music of the Beatles for as long as we’re around. And though there were the Beatles in all their various incarnations who we religiously followed and with which we grew up, there were all their solo recordings, which, in many ways, was and is still “Beatles music”. Like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other. Same with marriage and divorce, I guess.
Who really knows when exactly they stopped being a group and began making their music separately? We might not like to believe that there was big money behind the name “The Beatles”, and what it stood for, but, of course, there was- in publishing, recording rights, mechanical rights and why their original recordings are still so strictly guarded. It’s about protecting a legacy. And for us who grew up with their music, we often see ourselves as stakeholders, protectors in keeping the dream alive and supporting anything and everything new that features their music which are our memories.
We can pretty much guess which were the songs written by Paul and those written by John, and which separate and unfinished bits of their songs the genius of George Martin managed to piece together, and give the world “new” Lennon-McCartney songs and tracks by the Beatles.
This was all about keeping the Number 9 Dream alive. We needed it. The music of the Beatles made us feel something again, often when we were starting to give up hope and enter that tunnel where the light at the end was that of an oncoming train. There was hope even in the despair of what their songs were about.
I guess what’s key is that we can always revisit this soundtrack to our lives. Nothing against the Grammys and Adele and Beyoncé, but what the Beatles were and their music remains is that it’s Soul music- music for the soul and no matter how heavily it was sold, it was never all showbiz. It kept us real even when we made and will continue to make mistakes while doing the walk of life.