Is It Humanly Possible to Not Like the Beatles? (Or At Least a Few Songs?)

I can’t say I’m surprised by the variety of people from across the universe who contacted me in the wake of the The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A Grammy Salute that aired Sunday on the 50th anniversary of their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

It’s not that anyone contacted me because I’m more of a Beatles authority than any other person who loves their work. It’s just that I’m fortunate to get to write a bit about music for a living and, as such, have “official contact information” at a daily newspaper.

(We know this is true because of the Shania Twain fan in Germany who threatened to kill me some years ago after said fan didn’t agree with my review of Twain’s show at the Mohegan Sun. But I digress … )

In any case, my favorite comment after the Beatles program came from Lisa McGinley, a deputy managing editor here at The Day, who said, “The Beatles are the William Shakespeare of popular music.”

Yeah, they are.

And I’m not sure, in such a context, there are even any acts that could even be considered the Chaucer or Dickens or Tolstoy of popular music. It’s really just not close.

There are geneticists, social scientists and music scholars right now in a secret hall at MIT, slaving 24/7, to figure out how the Beatles happened. Good luck.

What's great is that it did happen: there must be 100 Beatles songs whose melodies and lyrics are absolutely imbedded in the DNA of four generations of humans spanning all demographics including kids today who think LMFAO are genuine artists.

Sunday night, in addition to the music, it was pretty fun to watch the Rich People in the audience bouncing in time to the songs and singing along with the guest performers or video clips of the Beatles themselves

It was also fun to see Paul and Ringo when each would quietly croon along on lyrical snippets of their own sorcery. In some folks, that might be seen as ego-y. But it didn’t come across that way at all. It must be a constant source of amazement and pride – and maybe awe – to Paul McCartney that the music he made with John, George and Ringo is so much more overwhelmingly transcendent than any other band or artist EVER.

(It was less fun to watch Johnny Depp introduce a segment. Why? And, seriously, what’s wrong with that guy?)

Anyway, it’s weird and a bit of great luck to have lived through the ongoing Fab Four greatness – and to still feel goose bumps when I hear any of dozens of Beatles songs, from the simple innocence of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to John Lennon singing about a “Glass Onion.”

But now, with some reluctance, I come to the part of this blog where I answer a question some of you have wondered about: Do I think there are any bad Beatles songs?

My answer: No.

I like some albums better than others, of course, and there are two Beatles songs I don’t like – but it’s the Beatles and, as such, I feel like my lack of affection for “Blue Jay Way” and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is due to my own failings as a human being rather than something the Beatles did wrong.

But, since everything wonderful about the Beatles has been written and re-written, it’s time, as well, for you to come clean.

Are there any Beatles songs you DON’T like?


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