When The Beatles Arrived…
Global Beatles Day, a day of celebrating the universal ideals bestowed on us by John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
The time period is 1967, you and your family are gathered around the television to tune into the first international satellite program along with 400 million other families around the world. At the height of the Vietnam War, in response to this catastrophic combat, Our World invites The Beatles to reply with a message of positivity. With John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney dressed in psychedelic apparel, you suddenly notice a small thirteen-piece orchestra accompanying The Beatles. At the same time, the program’s narrator says, “A song that we offer to the whole world, All You Need is Love.”
That day, June 25th, the summer of 1967, has forever become immortalized as a day of celebrating the global ideals that the Beatles have furnished for our worldwide culture. That is to say, in support of providing these, as Timothy Leary describes them, “evolutionary agents sent by God” a token of appreciation, in 2009 Beatles super-fan Faith Cohen bestowed upon the Beatles a day of remembrance.
According to Cohen, Global Beatles Day is not a holiday for aiding the monetary accounts of the Beatles estate, but a holiday that serves as, “…a thank-you and love letter to the Beatles.”
“They were like aliens dropped into the United States of 1964.”
- Todd Leopold, CNN
Across the Beatlesverse
With hopes of someday becoming as influential as the Beatles, I recall being a middle-schooler running for our class Activities Commissioner with a slogan somewhat similar to Timothy Leary’s campaign song for California governor. “Come together, right now, vote for me.” However, unlike Timothy Leary’s campaign, I came out victorious in the polls and was rewarded with the title of Activities Commissioner — without being sent to prison!
In the same muse that inspired my political endeavors, the Beatles single-handedly revolutionized the Russian youth culture by encouraging these rebels to defy the dogma of Communist ideology. To put it another way, the soft and lyrical melodies expressed in the Beatles’ Rubber Soul fueled the uniquely imaginative minds of Russian youth to counteract the political ideals of Soviet Russia.
“They [The Beatles] blew the walls down for everybody else.”
- Barack Obama
One could say that these Russian revolutionaries traded Lenin for Lennon. As mentioned by the former president of the Soviet Union, Michail Gorbachev,
“More than ideology, more than any religion, more than Vietnam or any war or nuclear bomb, the single most important reason for the diffusion of the Cold War was…the Beatles.”
Coupled with this political influence upon Soviet youngsters, the Beatles had a massive impact on the social dynamics of the United States through their ideals expressed in each stimulating melody. Moreover, the hot adulation of the Beatles’ stardom contributed to the coining of a fanaticism labeled as “Beatlemania.”
Songs such as “Please Please Me” and “She Loves You” ignited the swelling subculture of Beatlemania that took hold of a youthful audience who wanted something more sophisticated. Throughout their soulful and enlightening rhapsodies of lyrics, the Beatles verbalized the conditions in which each of us lives by providing a medium for our youthlike culture to stand against the establishment.
The Beatles’ Words of Wisdom
Notably, several Beatles songs created an outlet for political issues and social movements throughout the United States, such as topics ranging from remedying the cataclysms of war with love to the Civil Rights movement. With attention to these meaningful songs, here are a few Beatles songs that highlight these monumental socio-political movements throughout the United States.
“When The Beatles arrived, from then on, a thousand different things arose.”
- Pete Townshend, The Who
All You Need is Love
As has been noted earlier, “All You Need is Love” was initially written by John Lennon with the intent of performing for Our World. Still, Sir Paul McCartney believes otherwise, claiming that, “…I’ve got a feeling it was just one of John’s songs that was coming anyway.” (The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology)
Despite this miscommunication between colleagues, Lennon’s utopian opus illustrates a model of how we ought to, as a community, put forth love in each other’s lives instead of initiating nuclear warfare.
Broadcasting in the wake of the Six-Day War, the Beatles set the stage as an international mediator of peace and love for an entire community living under the hostile climates of the Cold War and the Vietnam War.
“Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.”
Simply put, this empowering line from “All You Need is Love” encourages us not to use force as a coercive tool to intimidate others in opposition to us. In contrast, Lennon suggests that we ought to learn how to be the best version of ourselves and spread love without inciting violence.
Besides being one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar, “Blackbird” offers more than what I thought was worth three days to remember.
Composed by Sir Paul McCartney after hearing the harmonic call of a blackbird, McCartney also drew inspiration following the increasing racial tensions throughout the United States in the 1960s.
“Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life. You were only waiting for this moment to arise.”
McCartney’s “Blackbird,” played by himself in company with the tapping of his heavy foot, performs as a metaphoric pseudonym to exemplify a black woman. The term “bird” in the UK is slang as a reference to an attractive-looking lady — which is similar to the American use of the slang, “[hot] chick.”
So, McCartney, in discussing the strifes of Black Americans in the United States, uses “Blackbird” as a symbol to encourage these Civil Rights activists to break through their struggles and learn to soar into their new future.
As the song’s title entails, this fast and energetic hard rock melody is what, as John Lennon puts it, “I wanted to put out what I feel about revolution…I wanted to say what I thought about revolution.”
For this reason, Lennon reaps his muse following the political climate of the early 1960s, in which Lennon expresses his want for social change but is discouraged by the violent means of the New Left. To Lennon, a destructive ideological discourse is not the answer to achieving change or peace in the world.
In a word, “Revolution” acts as a source of inspiration for people to free their minds instead of supporting the overthrow of social institutions by Marxist-esque social groups.
“But when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out.”
Essentially, this line in the pre-chorus of “Revolution” illustrates Lennon’s inability to support a cause that uses violence as a means of coercion.
Famously put by Lennon in 1980 in reference to his political expression of “Revolution,” “Count me out if it’s for violence. Don’t expect me on the barricades unless it’s with flowers.”
And In The End
Whether you enjoy a few Beatles songs or have not been accustomed to their influential genius, I believe David Luthrssen in his Encyclopedia of Classic Rock accurately summarizes the Beatles’ influence on our culture. Describing the recent popular boy-bands such as One Direction, Luthrssen claims,
“…none of those acts moved pop culture forward or achieved the breadth and depth of the Beatles’ fandom.” (Luhrssen, David; Larson, Michael (2017). Encyclopedia of Classic Rock.)
So, in celebration of the Beatles, I encourage those reading this article to download a few of the songs I mentioned above or maybe even download the entire Rubber Soul album. Perhaps you’re a late bloomer to enjoying the stimulating sound of the Beatles and finally need to listen to the White Album, like Steven Spielberg, to become, “…an instant convert.”