Hello fellow Beatle-travelers!
Welcome to the first column of what I confidently expect will be a series that will run for several thousand years. I'm most grateful to Trina the editor of Daytrippin' for offering me this space in which to pontificate on various matters Beatle-ish.
Those of you familiar with me from my TV work as a humorist/commentator (especially on MSNBC and CNBC) my occasional radio and TV appearances talking about the Beatles - or my hosting of many Beatlefest conventions over the years - know that my passionate love of the Beatles is matched by several traits. These include outspokenness (a Lenn-onian trait I'm most proud of) and my love of Beatle-ish humor - a genre which - like the Monty Python comedy which I had the privilege of occasionally producing in the 70's and 80's - shares the common root of having been partly inspired by Britain's 50's radio comedy team The Goons.)
Accordingly, this column will usually be irreverent, sometimes provocative, occasionally irritating and once in a 'C Moon' - sometimes downright exasperating! But I hope it will also always be entertaining, often amusing and never fail to reflect my enduring love for the Fabs.
What does the column title "Beatle-ly Incorrect" mean? Well I coined the expression a couple of years back as a name for a new, irreverent, late-night panel I was going to host at a Beatlefest convention. The panel was a great success - and it's now a staple at all the Beatlefest conventions in America. The title was obviously inspired by the name of the TV show that my good pal (and fellow Beatle fan) Bill Maher hosts. And what it means to me is the freedom to discuss everything to do with the Beatles - without having to worry about the standard or orthodox view to which Beatles fanatics are presumed to adhere.
It's a given that anyone attending a convention or reading this magazine is a Beatles fan. Some more fervent than others.
I happen to be extremely passionate. No better musical artists before or since. Period. Greatest cultural and social impact of all time. Wonderful philosophy. etc. etc. But to be true fans - we must also acknowledge that the Beatles were/are human beings - with the same faults and foibles as we all have. To ignore that is to turn appreciation of them into a blind faith religion. Not a good idea. Or one they'd approve of.
I certainly don't perpetually dwell on the less than perfect things. But I also don't pretend that they don't exist. And in this column (as on my Beatlefest panels) I'm going to throw out a few controversial thoughts. I'd love to receive your responses. By e-mail - or 'a-mail.' ('a-mail' is acoustic mail! It's created by interfacing a good old pen with some paper and then uplinking it to me through a cheery, rebooted-up mailman for 32¢!)
So here I go with just a few Fab things on my mind...
"YOU KNOW THAT WHAT YOU EAT YOU ARE..."
Like every true Beatle fan I greatly admired Linda and I totally respect the 25 year campaign that she and Paul conducted for animal rights. However (also like many Beatle fans) for my sins I'm still a meat-eater. I certainly don't advocate cruelty to animals - but I do like my occasional 'half-pounder' of flesh. Preferably free range of course.
I sometimes wonder... Isn't it the case that the Beatles created the very best of all their fantastic music while still eating meat?! "Rubber Soul," "Revolver" and "Sgt. Pepper" were all made while most of the lads were still happily 'carnivoring' ! And as much as I love their later output and most (not all) of their solo recordings - did their subsequent veggie and macrobiotic-fueled music ever match that artistic pinnacle? I mean not even Paul would claim that "Wings Wild Life" (produced on lettuce) surpasses "Pepper" (created on steak and chips!) !
Is it possible that what is now 'naughty' nosh was actually a factor in the Fab success?! Just some food for thought....
IN THE MIDDLE OF NEGOTIATIONS...
It is not for us to say what goes on behind closed doors in the relationship between two private folks... But there isn't a Beatle fan in the world that doesn't wish that that there would be an outbreak of peace in what appears to be the long-running feud between Paul and Yoko.
We know that both parties feel unhappy about each other. Their public pronouncements and actions (and sometimes inactions) speak volumes. Right now there's a heated battle going on over whether a number of songs which were undisputedly primarily Paul compositions - should be officially re-credited as McCartney-Lennon! (A credit which incidentally was on all their songs on their first UK album - before they settled on the familiar Lennon-McCartney credit.)
Paul feels that it would more fairly reflect the authorship of those particular songs. Yoko feels that it's not for her to reverse an agreement that stood between John and Paul from 1963 till John's death.
Of course they're both right. But isn't it very sad that this even exists as a dispute?
I suspect that what Paul and Yoko are really fighting over is the fact that both of them loved, and were loved by, one of the greatest men of our time. That should be a point of pride and unity for both of them. And yet it seems to divide them.
Paul and John lost so many years of their friendship because of foolish things. Paul has expressed his relief that at least they'd made their peace before the tragedy struck.
No one is getting younger. I hope that common sense prevails and that these trivial pursuits (and other divisions) are swiftly resolved for ever.
THE MUSIC PLAYING IN YOUR HEAD...
I often meet Beatle fans who wonder why Apple won't release on CD all the original American albums - the ones they grew up hearing. Well I certainly understand the sentiment. There's something comforting and very enjoyable about hearing songs in the sequence that meant so much to us when we were younger.
But I'm solidly with Apple and the lads on this one. While I absolutely appreciate that those were the way that the older American fans among you first heard the Fabs' records - it's not the way the Beatles ever wanted them to be.
With the exception of the US-compiled "Magical Mystery Tour" album (and the necessary two "Past Masters" compilations of stray singles and E.P. tracks) what the Beatles originally wanted was the original British album configurations.
That is why when they settled their long dispute with EMI and sanctioned all the CD releases in the mid-80's - they insisted on a worldwide standardization of their catalogue - with everything being presented in the original UK formats and sequences.
I say that we must respect the wishes of the artists. There are cassette recorders and recordable CD's on which fans can makeup Beatle compilations to their heart's content. Just because fans became (understandably) fond of what they first heard - should not blind us to the fact that Capitol in the 60's cavalierly carved up the band's albums in ways which deeply (and understandably) upset the Fabs and George Martin.
AND IN THE END....
Congratulations to Paul and George Martin on their well-deserved and long overdue election to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame. Now it's Brian Epstein's turn. If you haven't already signed the "MBE!" petition - Please Please Me and do so. And try and secure as many other signatures as you can. Thanks!
This column has been Martinized for your protection!