Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rant #1,106: Beatlemania, 2014 Style

It is amazing that going on 50 years, the Beatles still live.

Next year will be a prime year in the continuous celebration of everything that John, Paul, George and Ringo brought to this world, as a whole slew of celebations and releases will honor the Fab Four's 50th anniversary of becoming popular in the U.S.

It took us a little longer than most of the rest of the world to get this group. The Beatles, in one form or another, were in place since the late 1950s, and in Europe, they were hitmakers starting in 1962 or so, so it took us here nearly two extra years to get them.

And it took some enterprising things to get us to know who the Beatles were.

One was that energetic disk jockey Murry the K started playing their records on the radio. Sure, nobody was buying them before 1964, but their records were being released here to less fanfare than one could believe.

Another was that TV people like Jack Paar were showing films of all the pandemonium that was going on when the Beatles performed. How crass, these people thought the Beatles were.

And, of course, there was JFK's assassination. The country was in a understandable stupor right after this tragic event, and we needed something to lift our spirits again.

Well, the antidote was Ed Sullivan, not necessarily the man, but his show.

Sullivan picked up on what was happening in Europe, and decided that he needed this rag-tag group of long-haired musicians on his show. He saw something the country hadn't seen in these guys at the time, and he figured that he would ride with a wave that his show could, and would, create.

And boy, was he right.

When the boys appeared on that February night in 1964, nothing, and I mean nothing, was ever the same again in music, in culture, in society, in fashion, and even in haircuts.

I remember that night vividly, and you could see the changes the very next day.

Everybody wanted to be a Beatle, everybody wanted to grow their hair long, and everybody wanted Beatles records.

And that last urge hasn't left us in nearly 50 years.

In 2014, to celebrate this monumental occurrence, all the U.S.-released Beatles LPs--they were very different from their British counterparts--are planned for release.

Funny, but just a few years back, when the original British LPs were rereleased, noses were snubbed when mentioning the supposedly inferior U.S. versions, which featured different song lineups, different versions of songs, and were seemingly cobbled together early on simply to get your money.

Now they are being celebrated.

I have all of them in my collection, and those were the records that I listened to during the height of Beatlemania.

I just wish they would rerelease the 45s that we all really listened to during that time, but so far, nothing doing on that front. In England a few years back, Elvis Presley's popularity was celebrated by releasing his singles as single CDs, reproducing the covers from the original 45s. I would love for Capitol Records to do that here with the Beatles' singles.

Also, Apple announced that iTunes would release a slew of previously available only on bootleg versions of many of their songs, and these tunes were released yesterday. These are songs from the early Beatles, right around the time they were recording their first LP.

Why this is only being relegated to iTunes is probably that the powers that be don't think that these recordings will be a big enough seller to release on CD, so they are keeping it there.

Dave Clark did this a few years back with his Dave Clark Five albums and rare tracks, so while the DC5 followed the Beatles to America in 1964, at least this time around, the Beatles are following the DC5's lead.

Anyway, isn't it interesting that through all the musical fads that have popped up during the past 50 years, we all still go back to the Beatles?

Funny, many people thought that they, too, were a fad, and if they are, then it has lasted a half century, the longest-lasting fad in history.

And to that I say--

Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!

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