why were the beatles considered the best band of all time?

19 February 2014

for most of last year, i spent my days supporting three young women with intellectual and behavioural challenges. a large portion of my work week was spent driving them to and from their appointments and social opportunities, so i took some time to create a playlist for each client, filled with all of their favourite music.

one client's playlist was almost entirely comprised of one band.

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media has been abuzz this month, as the fiftieth anniversary of one pop culture milestone has passed - beatlemania hits america. in february of 1964, the beatles arrived in the united states, and on february 9, 1964, performed their history-making first performance on the ed sullivan show.

i know quite a few people who say they just don't 'get' what all the fuss is about the four liverpudlians - understandably, fifty years later, they can sound unremarkable in the grand circus that is pop culture and rock and roll. musical ingenuity aside, the beatles were widely seen as an embodiment of the rapid social change surrounding them during the eight years they ruled the world together.

robert lloyd of the LA times summed it up well in his statement - 'it's easy to overstate the influence of a pop band on history, and yet it is hard to understate the importance of this one.'

for those of you who are still mystified about the beatles - allow me to give you a heartfelt, but by no means exhaustive, introduction to the bestselling band of all time. i'm not going to give you facts or a linear biography - there are plenty of books in the library for that. in true delight adventure style, i hope to help you see why the beatles are adored by one special needs girl in my life, close to my own heart, and part of the fabric of millions of lives.

yesterday, love was such an easy game to play
now i need a place to hide away
oh i believe in yesterday... 

when i hear this song, i see my dad sitting on the edge of his bed, playing this for us on his acoustic guitar, while my sister and i looked on in our pajamas... i'm sure i'm not the only one whose first introduction to the beatles was a second-hand one. 

twist and shout

probably the best-loved song from the band's earlier years, this song always gets a strong reaction from guests of all ages when i play it at a dance. however, you didn't have to be alive in 1964 to have this song woven into your nostalgia-fabric - 90s kids will remember it from the epic parade float lip-sync performance by ferris bueller...

hey jude

when paul mccartney performed hey jude at the opening ceremony of the 2012 olympic games in london, i remember watching the camera pan over the crowd to reveal almost every person present singing along. i found it incredible that a stadium full of people from all over the world were all united by a pop song from the 60s, raising voices together at a wave of paul's hand to compose a perfect chorus of the 'na na na na-na-na na' melody towards the end of the song.

here comes the sun
little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
little darling, it feels like years since it's been here... 
little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
little darling, it seems like years since it's been here... 

while writing this post, i found myself getting teary watching a delicate duet performance of this song by george harrison and paul simon. i discovered here comes the sun only about two years ago, at a time when i truly needed to be reminded that the winter will end, and that the smiles will return. i found myself listening to it on repeat, trying to mould george's hope into my own, and truly, it helped. at face value, i hope this song meets you at the tail end of what has been a crazy winter for so much of north america, and for those of you that need it, i hope it resonates a little deeper.
(wikipedia gives some interesting facts about this song, too.)

in my life
there are places i remember all my life, 
though some have changed...
...all these places have their moments
with lovers and friends, i still can recall

in my life is widely regarded as one of lennon's best songs - and has even been voted the best song of all time by numerous panels - and the poignant, reflective lyrics have come to mean something to so many people. while it's a frequent (and fitting) choice for wedding first dances and father-daughter dances, i've also heard of it being often used for funerals and memorials... and, as i'm sure you have experienced, the intersection of a song with such a meaningful life event gives it a permanent place in one's heart.
also, check out covers of in my life by dave matthews, jason mraz, johnny cash, ed sheeran, and even ozzy osbourne

this is where my introduction concludes. if you desire further reading, the new york times made a snappy little summation of beatles facts in this short video, and a concise definition of the beatles' importance in this article, and this collection of videos gives a decent overview of the beatles over the past fifty years.

if you've made it to the end of this post, i hope you've found a melody or lyric that resonates with you, or reminds you of someone you love... do any of you guys have beatles-infused memories? tell me about it in the comments! 

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