Thursday, April 17, 2008

Early Beatles

The Beatles are joyous, pure, agents of good. Even when they were free and young, they were wise. Early Beatles period will always be my favorite because they were new and the world got to fall in love with them for the first time. Oh, I'd kill to have been 12 then!

“I declare that the Beatles are mutants. Prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with a mysterious power to create a new human species, a young race of laughing freemen.”
-Timothy Leary

The whole film, A Hard Day's Night is really funny, but this scene, the most beloved moment of all, is especially heartening. Roger Ebert once commented that "it is possible that scene (during "Can't Buy Me Love'') snowballed into all the love-ins, be-ins and happenings in the park of the later '60s." It seems outlandish to suggest such a thing, but loosing yourself in this moment really is a powerful thing. The film itself is as graceful a transition for the Beatles onto the big screen as anyone could've hoped for. It is an absurdest romp, a day in the life of the Beatles.

Premier of A Hard Day's Night: Fuck the PO-LICE:

When the Beatles first arrived in America they won us over not just because of their music, but their personality and wit. They had an absurdest off-the-cuff humor about them, that always turn the press conferences around on the reporters. It was and is still thrilling to see authority subverted so winningly.

In fact, Beatles humor was so central to their early personae, that they were called "England's answer to the Marx Brothers" by cultural critics who still believed they had no future in music.

Press (to George): Hi, you're not married.
George: No, I'm George.

Press: Beethoven figures in one of your songs. What do you think of Beethoven?
Ringo: I love him. Especially his poems.

Press: What will you do when Beatlemania subsides?
John: Count the money.

John: No more unscheduled public appearances. We've had enough. We're going to stay in our hotel except for concerts.
Press: Won't this make you feel like caged animals?
John: No. We feed ourselves.

Press: Does all the adulation from teenage girls affect you?
John: When I feel my head start to swell, I look at Ringo and know perfectly well we're not supermen.

Press: There`s a "stamp out the Beatles movement" underway in Detroit. What are you going to do about it?
Paul: We`re going to start a campaign to stamp out Detroit.

Press: Does your hair require any special attention?
John: Inattention is the main thing.

"Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry."
- John Lennon, 1963, at the high point of the group's set during the Royal Variety Performance before members of the British Royal Family.

Fan letter from 1964:
Dear Beatles,

You are probably not awair of the mess you are making in every teenage heart. It is a total disaster.

We have just formed a Beatles Anonymous to help all those poor mixed-up girls who cant break the Beatle habit.

We hope it's not too late. On your last visit you really shook up the United States!

Portland, Oregon

1 comment:

Ken said...

The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein later revealed that John Lennon's remark about cheering at the Royal Command Performance was rehearsed, but with more colourful language. Naturally, he was horrified and in fear that Lennon, who was already a bit of a free-spirit, would follow through.

Even the stodgiest Fleet Street newspapers noted at the time that although Lennon's comment was somewhat daring, the royals in attendance were amused.

In the end, the remark, which seems innocent to-day, was a bit of a rebuke at the upper-crust of British society of the 1960s, but delivered with the taste, elegance, and sharpness that was almost Churchillian.