Saturday, June 13, 2009

OPINION: The Magic of the Beatles

The Fab FourImage by Sebastian Niedlich (Grabthar) via Flickr

The Magic of the Beatles by Bill Jerone

The Beatles' early magic lay in their apparent normality; to the public, they appeared to be four lovable, cheerful boys, always ready with a joke and a grin for the camera. During countless press interviews given by the band during the early 60's, the band displayed an irreverent and cheeky charm, born of their longstanding camaraderie.

In essence, the Beatles comprised three school friends, plus newest addition Ringo, who had forged a strong friendship and had already served a long hard apprenticeship around the clubs and dance halls of northern England and notably in the red light district of Hamburg. Their friendship created an almost telepathic bond between them that informed both their music and their shared sense of humor. Although the band later claimed that there had always been an element of friction in their relationships, even in their early days, none of that was evident to the public.

Before the Beatles arrived on the scene, showbiz stars were expected to be polite and fairly serious and to never utter a bad word about any of their peers. The Beatles turned these ideas on their head, often outspoken and cheeky about others in the business (particularly John Lennon) and irreverent in their views. This only served to make them appear more approachable and normal.

In addition, the Beatles appeared to be nonchalant and cool about their achievements; even as they scaled new and dizzying heights and the world fell at their feet, the band appeared unimpressed by their celebrity or the trappings that fame and fortune afforded them.

This may have been a carefully-constructed image and cleverly continued to convey the impression that the Beatles were not taking any of their successes too seriously. My contention is that part of the Beatles magic lay in this facade which fundamentally presented the band as friendly, normal down-to-earth guys, to whom fame was happening rather than portraying them in a less flattering light.

Perhaps the band were every bit as ambitious as their less talented competitors of the time, however, by concealing this fact from their fans, the image of 'carefree mop-tops' was established and served them well during the early part of their career, adding to the magic of the Beatles.

UK based writer and musician, Bill Jerone is a lifelong fan of the Beatles. He is also chairman of the appreciation society for British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Martin Brown. Martin's albums can be heard here:

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