By Niyati Gangwar
The small city of Liverpool in England is lesser known for housing the oldest repertory theatre in England and is better known to be the place where the magic of the ‘Fab four’ began. It is the place which witnessed the assimilation of the talents of four young men- namely, John Lennon, the zany, rebellious singer, song-writer, Paul Mc Cartney, vocalist, hearthrob, the most creative song writer, George Harrison the reserved, spiritual guitarist and Ringo Starr, the coy, adorable drummer. Together, they formed the Beatles, the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in the history of popular music.
The Beatles shot up to fame in early 1960’s and reigned over the pop scene for more than a decade and continue to reign over hearts of the young and old. Sixteen year old John Lennon deeply influenced by the Skiffle craze popular during the 1950’s (Skiffle is a type of popular music with jazz, blues, folk, and roots influences, usually using unconventional homemade or improvised instruments like kazoos, washboards or jugs) started a band of his own called the Quarrymen. The story of evolution of the Quarrymen into the Fab fours is quite interesting.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met on July 6, 1957 at a fete organized by the local church. John’s band performed at the fete. Mutual friends introduced them after the show and Paul, who had just turned 15, impressed John with his guitar playing and ability to remember lyrics. Within a week of meeting, Paul had become part of the band.
In early 1958, Paul asked his friend George Harrison to join them. However, since John, Paul, and George all played guitars, they were still looking for someone to play bass guitar and/or the drums.In 1959, Stu Sutcliffe, an art student filled the position of bass guitarist and in 1960, Pete Best became the drummer. They began their musical career by performing in private parties, bars and clubs. In the summer of 1960, the band was offered a two-month gig in Hamburg, Germany.
I have often wondered why the Beatles were named so. It’s quiet an unusual name. In 1960 Stu suggested a new name for the band. He suggested the name ‘Beetles’ to pay tribute to Buddy Holly’s band, the Crickets, of whom Stu was a huge fan. John, a witty and humorous person that he was, changed the spelling of the name to “Beatles” as a pun for “beat music,” another name for rock ‘n’ roll.
On their trip to Germany, Pete quit the band and they asked Ringo Starr who they befriended in Germany to replace Pete as the drummer. Destiny took its own sweet time to bring our Fab four together but when it did, the rest as they say is history.
Till now I have tried to show off my Beatles trivia and who doesn’t know the story of the Beatles? Those who don’t, hit your good old Google search button and you will be loaded with information ranging right from the record breaking hits they made, the British invasion they led which spread far and wide across the world, the ashram they visited in India, the innumerable awards they received, the mad ecstasy they created amongst the audiences, their ever changing hair styles to the love of their lives. What I wish to do through this article is to proclaim my love for the Beatles to the world and try to create as many beatlemaniacs as I can.
People often ask me why I love the Beatles so much or why I am so “obsessed” with them. I silence them by telling them this- I believe true music is that of which the singer’s voice stirs your soul, lyrics of which resonate with your thoughts, the melody of which mesmerizes you, the guitar playing strikes the chords of your heart, and the drum beats of which match with the beating of your heart. This is the effect songs by the Beatles have on me and why each of them means so much to me. They made me laugh when I was sad with humorous songs which had a deep underlying meaning like- ‘Baby you’re a rich man’ and ‘I am the Walrus.’ Songs like ‘lucy in the sky with diamonds’ and ‘Strawberry fields forever’ gave me an other worldly feeling. Songs like ‘Yesterday’, ‘A day in the life’ helped me delve into musings about life. They set even the most gory lyrics like ‘BANG ! BANG ! maxwell’s silver hammer went down’ to melodies which would appeal to generations to come. Songs like ‘Revolution’ strengthened my belief in peace and the fultility of war.I love the way they channelized their feelings into songs through simple yet impactful words, evocative guitar and drum beats.
Many of their songs were about their personal experiences Their very first single ‘Love me do’ was inspired by Lennon and Mc cartney’s affliction to Lewis Caroll’s works and the name of the song was inspired by a line in Alice in Wonderland, which ended with the word ‘do’.
‘Hey jude’,written by Paul Mc Cartney for John Lennon’s son Julian who had been going through a rough patch after his father separated from his mother, Cynthia Lennon, one of the world’s favourites as well as my favourite taught me to stop carrying the world upon my shoulder. Paul immortalized Julian through this song and gave him an anthem for life.
I was so deeply influenced by their music that I began to modify the lyrics of their songs and make verses of my own –
“Words spread across the universe just like the rainbow spreads across the rain-bled sky.
Words dance like fireflies playing about in the merry-go-round of the nightsky.
Words shine bright like the rays of the sun reluctant to rise after the hangover of last night’s ride.”
The following is a verse consisting of names of their song or lyrics from their songs as well as songs composed by them at an individual level after the disintegration of the band.
Let’s see how many can you guess-“I like to IMAGINE I am LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS. Here I can fly ACROSS THE UNIVERSE as FREE AS A BIRD. Here I can fly ACROSS THE UNIVERSE as FREE AS A BIRD. Here I can forget the world where LIVING IS EASY WITH EYES CLOSED, where all my LITTLE PLANS AND SCHEME ARE LOST LIKE FORGOTTEN DREAMS where I can LET IT BE.”