Life without The Beatles

Opinion Piece


What would the music culture be like today without the tunes of John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul Mccartney and George Harrison?

Of course there would be some other ambitious and innovative artist or band in their place. Perhaps The Rolling Stones, who were in fact their biggest rival, or Pink Floyd, but neither of their efforts and successes would reach the outcome of the famous English rock band.

Hey Jude, Let It Be, Yesterday. These are the songs that have been passed on throughout the generations. The type of songs that energise a room full of friends and the type of songs that bring communities together.

“The movement you need is on your shoulder” wrote Paul Mccartney,  belonging to the lyrics of Hey Jude.

And what a movement it was, with the rock band establishing the culture of music for what it is today.

“Na-na-na, na, yeah…”

After the assassination of US President, John F Kennedy in 1963, Americans found themselves in a time of doubt and worry. No amount of alcohol could prepare them for reality nor could take their minds off what happened in the political scheme. The Beatles began to flourish at this time and with their spirited, bubbly music, Americans had found their purpose again.

Lori, a huge Beatles fan commented on a Quora post late 2017, responding to the same question that is being discussed in this article; what is so special about The Beatles? She too felt that they played a huge role in making her feel as if she had something to belong to again, especially after the assassination.

“I never heard anything like that; they were so upbeat, there was so much emotion and joy in their songs; it was exciting; they were exciting”, Lori commented.

The band accumulated fans upon fans, their followers growing as The Beatles evolved. Their music had its own type of calling, establishing a vibe that no other artist or band was yet to achieve. Their music generated a sense of correspondence to the life of their fans, not only through their lyrics but through their lively vibe which contributed to the success of their tunes.

“They looked different, their hair was longer than anyone we had ever seen before…No music was like that; no clothes were like that; no boots were like that; no haircuts were like that; no sound was like that. I was able to smile again.” 

Now, imagine the lives of all these people (no pun intended) without The Beatles. What beliefs and perspectives would they possess today and what would their attitudes be towards life?

Without doubt we would be singing the tunes of other artists and dancing to the beats of a foreign rhythm. The excitement many fans received through their music would not exist and neither would the budding style that The Beatles established. The band still has a sense of beauty and engagement in their music that no other artist would be able to mimic in today’s tunes. I mean, could you?

Speaking of the music in today’s day and age, if The Beatles were to truly make their grand appearance and first ever tour today, their music would not be about strawberry fields, blackbirds and wanting to hold hands. It would be more like changing the title of Strawberry Fields Forever to ‘Cannabis Backyards Forever’. Bluntly, if you really think about it, most of today’s music is about sex, drugs and heaven knows what else so can you really blame me for having such abstract thoughts?

Put it this way, in today’s world, The Beatles wouldn’t be The Beatles. They’d be just another band singing about how corrupt the government is or how society is continuing to follow in a direction of disaster.

Momentarily we will focus on John Lennon. In 1971, Lennon composed Imagine with  the lyrics of this song surrounding his longing desire and hope for peace without war, death or disaster. 45 years on his words were still being recited, not in his memory but because of the continued existence of violence and social conflict. In 2016, Imagine was the song sung in solidarity by mourners of the Brussels terrorist attack. One man brought a piano to the memorial that was set up at Place de la Bourse, a central square in the city of Brussels, and began performing the tune, soon to be joined by fellow mourners at the scene. Yes, some may refer to it as a beautiful sight, but it is just another reminder towards how far off our society is from fulfilling Lennon’s dream of “living life in peace”.

If Lennon had not composed this song 45 years ago, would the community have still united in this way? Perhaps another song would have been played, but it’s political and emotional meaning would not have addressed the situation in the same manner. Thus, the music created by both Lennon himself and The Beatles as a whole was not just about having fun and engaging musical content, but also about addressing the important social, cultural and political issues that existed within their society – a trait that music today fails to fulfil in it’s entirety.  

Although I have theoretically addressed life without The Beatles in today’s society in accordance with my own beliefs, there is an entire fictional film which visually expresses how one man’s life has changed thanks to the work of The Beatles. Danny Boyle’s new film Yesterday follows the storyline of its main character waking up in an alternate time, where The Beatles are non-existent and he, himself, is the only living being that remembers them. The film addresses the response exhibited by individuals who are unaware of The Beatles and how their music brings change to society.

So, what would the music scheme really be like without The Beatles? That is up to your own interpretation and beliefs. For now, Yesterday is now in cinemas and may even elicit your own thoughts towards how the music culture would be different or perhaps even the same without The Beatles.

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday”.

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