Monday, September 1, 2008


My "love" for the "ED SULLIVAN SHOW" was usually limited to comedians like Jackie Mason and Rodney Dangerfield. But my single indelible memory of the show was THE BEATLES first appearance in 1964. I was nine and it seemed awfully odd that the teeny-bopper girls in the audience were going berserk over a bunch of singers--but what was even stranger was, on the sofa next to me, my sister was going nuts too.
From that day, the Beatles formulated my taste for Rock 'N Roll and although I have gathered other favorites down through the years, claiming the Beatles as the greatest...seems right to me.

I was about twelve the first time I used stereo head-phones. It was the SERGEANT PEPPER album and with it, I felt a profound sense of musical importance. Soon I would realize that the Beatles transcended their music and created their own culture, complete with new definitions of art, distinctive haircuts, clothes fashions, religious awakenings, recreational drug use and so much more. Although I was always a "meat and potatoes" kind of fan...their trendy influence pushed countless people into a mop-top hair-cuts, Nehru jackets, Hari Krishna and LSD.
My favorite aspect of the Beatle experience, (even if I was rarely successful and usually relied on other people's interpretations) was trying to unravel the hidden messages in their lyrics. In 1969, this was especially true when the rumor of Paul McCartney's "death"...supported by oodles of cool clues in songs and album covers etc., were discovered.
Its hard to imagine, that John Lennon is dead nearly 28 years and that George Harrison is gone too. Today, Beatle songs are tragically heaped onto the "Classic-Rock" pile or even worse, lowered to the "oldie" classification. However, you loyal Beatle can now rejoice.

In 2007 a smart movie came out called, "ACROSS THE UNIVERSE." Across the Universe got mixed revues (Roger Ebert loved it), but this is an unusual case probably NEED to be an ardent Beatle fan to appreciate it. The movie has a no-name cast, (supported by several cameo appearances by; Bono, Eddie Izzard, Joe Cocker, Salma Hayek and Edwin Freeman) and the love-story plot while far from nonetheless unimpressive.

What makes the movie work, is the music...and how, almost like a Rock-Opera, they lovingly pieced together a mosaic of so many Beatle songs into the story. Then to add more flavor, the time-frame of the film is fit into the era of the "FAB FOUR'S success to include: a social commentary of the early sixties, i. e. the Civil Rights Movement through to the early seventies
i. e. the Anti-Vietnam Movement.

The true beauty of "Across the Universe" is, as a fan you pick-out dozens of references as the movie moves along. Then afterwards, you research it on Wikipedia and find out you missed a hundred others. The reality is, everything you see, hear and feel in the movie are references to the Beatles in one way or another.

When you realize what you missed, you'll feel a need to see the movie again to fill in the blanks.

Rent it with a non-Beatle lover and educate them to the seeds of contemporary culture. Then try to explain why the "butcher" album cover was banned.

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