I recently read various news reports noting the 50th anniversary of the Beatles rock band coming from Liverpool, England, to perform in America for the very first time in February 1964. Half a century later, it is obvious that the Beatles’ songs boosted the spirits of people in Kansas and worldwide.
The Beatles initially re-made songs by other artists, including such tunes as “Twist and Shout” performed earlier by the Isley Brothers. Later, the two most vocal Beatles, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, co-wrote numerous hit songs.
Even my former girlfriend, whose family was more tolerant than others, liked such songs as “Please Please Me,” “All You Need Is Love” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” As I drove out to see her, it was appropriate that ironically I took a “Long and Winding Road” to get there. When we broke-up in a friendly and amicable way, we both chose to “Let It Be.” Back then, song-lyrics had messages that everyday people could relate to. I think that is why, although the group now is disbanded, and two band members deceased, the music lives on in our hearts.
McCartney sang about “All the Lonely People,” and with our current rugged wintertime, I have a greater appreciation of George Harrison singing “Here Comes the Sun.” Even as solo performers, such songs as “Band on the Run” and “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You” have a beat that can’t be beat. I saw Ringo Starr perform in person and probably the most appropriate tune was “With a Little Help From My Friends.” In today’s America, we need more friends, fewer hecklers, and more unity. I’m not suggesting that “Silly Love Songs” is the sole answer to domestic gridlock and polarization. However, peace and prosperity begins at home.
Our mottos should be: “We Can Work It Out” and “Imagine” (the possibilities of a unified, cooperative population that doesn’t gripe when they “Listen to What the Man Said” — whether it be an employer or politician or composer).
People who listen to music are comparable to voters. They respond when they hear a clear message imparted. Lennon paid tribute to his wife and, indeed all women, by his song “Woman” and sadly he was shot when another song came out “Starting Over.” I think Americans need to be starting over with a clean slate — looking for goodness wherever they can find it, instead of being fault-finders.
We are a diverse nation with many religious and ethnic groups, yet most people look to Almighty God, Our Creator, for guidance. People should be inspired by George Harrison’s song “My Sweet Lord” and apply what common-ground they can find in it to themselves and not quibble over the singer’s own beliefs. People can walk in unity without walking in lockstep.
As Ringo Starr sang, “You got to pay the dues if you want to sing the blues, and you know it don’t come easy.” That individualism is what made the Beatles great.
— James A. Marples,