We Kept Up the Beat with the Beatles

We Kept Up the Beat with the Beatles

They captured us and wouldn’t let go until the band broke up.

The music had a beat, it had harmony, it had catchy lyrics. We were sixteen, seventeen and we danced to the music at sock hops and mixers. But then photos of the singers, The Beatles, made their way across the pond. The photos ignited a firestorm of worship among teen girls. If many of us had once loved Elvis, we now were dying to see the four British mop-heads and the fan numbers eclipsed anything ever known before. From October of 1962 to October of 1969 the band sold over 150 million albums and 450 million records worldwide.

Paul and John, George and Ringo. They were not just an ordinary British band–they were singer-songwriters who broke into new territory with every album they released. Fans waited in anticipation, knowing that they would be blow away by something totally new, downright lyrical, inventive and sometimes even jocular and funny.

Who can forget The Magical Mystery Tour (Fool on the Hill, Penny Lane, All You Need Is Love) and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, A Little Help from My Friends)? This creativity proclaimed a whole new way of thinking about an album. The songs held up as amazing single hits, but also blended together to tell a story, create an atmosphere, and deliver one wonderful message after another.

At our house, we waited eagerly for each new album to be issued. When that happened, in a matter of days we could sing every song, had partaken of long discussions about the musical arrangement and outlined what new ground had been broken. We talked about the meaning of the lyrics, feeling that some of the songs were tone poems and we argued and discussed the multiple messages in Fixing a Hole, Carry That Weight, Eleanor Rigby, Lady Madonna, I Am The Walrus and Savoy Truffle. 

And while they were creating one amazing album after another the Beatles had great fun with their music. On Abbey Road they created a medley that sometimes promised a story line and sometimes brought the music and lyrics to comical heights:  Mean Mr. Mustard, Polythene Pam, She Came in Through the Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry that Weight and Her Majesty. 

Sadly, the Beatles broke up in 1970. John Lennon’s relationship with Yoko Ono has always been labeled as a major cause of the band’s disintegration. Brilliant and edgy, Lennon could write a song, but for reasons many critics could not comprehend, he thought Yoko to be terribly talented in many areas–music and art among them. Lennon continued to compose until he was shot on Dec. 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman in front of the Dakota building in New York City where he was living. He died later that evening.

Paul McCartney went on to make solo albums with a new band Wings and his first wife, Linda Eastman. Through the years he has collaborated with other artists like Stevie Wonder and has continued to write in the pop, rock and classical genres. His song Yesterday has been covered by more than 2, 200 artists. He is still writing and composing today.

George Harrison also had his solo career writing songs that topped the charts like My Sweet Lord, Give Me Love, Give Me Peace and albums All Things Must Pass and Living in the Material World. He developed brain and lung cancer and at the end of his life enjoyed gardening at his home outside London. He died in LA in 2001.

Ringo Starr had a hit album Ringo in 1973. His incredible skill on the drums has influenced many other musicians. He has traveled with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band and played the Conductor on PBS’s Shining Time Station. 

The Beatles created so many melodic songs, incredible medleys and memorable lyrics that it would take pages for me to list my favorites. But I will mention one and post a You Tube of it here. It was the last song McCartney worked on for the final Beatle album LET IT BE. In the end, he didn’t like the way it was produced, but its lyric, melody and overall creative blend has to be at the top of my list. Such Beatle contributions will live on, as we keep up the beat with the Beatles.

Thanks to Google Images

We Kept Up the Beat with the Beatles

We Kept Up the Beat with the Beatles


12 thoughts on “We Kept Up the Beat with the Beatles

  1. In many ways I’m so jealous of your memories. I was 6 in February of 1964, yet I have no memory of the Beatles invasion. Maybe because I didn’t have any older siblings and I’m sure my father would not have wanted to watch them. But as a Baby Boomer, it feels wrong to not have these memories.

    • Ah, Jennifer, all I can suggest is that you make new ones. Get some Beatle music in whatever form works and listen, share and discuss. Watch their films. They were a revolution in music and they made us laugh, cry and be amazed. There really has been nothing like them since. Beth

  2. I love that medley in Abbey Road. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to an entire Beatles album all the way through. Today feels like an Abbey Road day! Thanks for the reminder.

    • You are so welcome. That is my all time favorite and being a lover of Queen Elizabeth, the HER MAJESTY just cracks me up. Enjoy.

  3. Yes! I remember the excitement of a new record, and trying to memorize the lyrics right away. What joy they brought to our lives!

    • It’s so true. We were mesmerized by FOOL ON A HILL, thoughtful when hearing ELEANOR RIGBY, amazed and our hearts lifted over ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE. The emotions and feelings were numerous and different. How didi they do it? Thanks for writing, Beth

  4. Love their music – love the memories. I have been listening all day. Though I was a toddler when they arrived here, I appreciate what their role in the music world was, and I appreciate them more now than ever.

    • Hi Lynne, they did start a music revolution and no one else could ever duplicate the work they did. Some tried. THE WHITE ALBUM is very inventive, ABBEY ROAD probably my favorite, but there is so much to listen to–it constantly amazes me. Thanks for your comment, Beth

  5. I enjoyed your post very much because you were a little older than me, so your memories as a teen differ from mine as a 5 year old in 1964. But our love is the same!

    I do remember that whenever an album was about to be released, me and my brothers would force our mom to take us to Korvette’s to buy it on the day of its release. I can still remember where most of the skips occurred!

    • Hi Cathy, thanks for your comment. I enjoy all of your FB posts. You are a busy woman! And ah Korvette’s haven’t thought of them in years. Things change so much. When my first daughter was little we shopped at Venture. Long gone. The Beatles were a major part of our youth and even my mother loved them. Of course we had to sing to her: When I’m Sixty-Five and Your Mother Should Know. In the LA Times this morning they had excerpts from various major publications–all saying the Beatles would never last!! Beth

  6. I may not have been around for the Beatles invasion, I was born in 1973 BUT at our house everyday was a Beatles invasion. The Beatles were the first band I EVER listened too. My earliest music memories are of early Beatles songs, which my mother favored and as I grew up, I would sit for hours with my Dad listening to the later Beatles songs. I connected with those songs, I loved their lyrics, their melodies, the sounds their voices made as they belted out tune after tune.
    When I was in 6th grade, my siblings and I, (there were four of us) played the Beatles in the school talent show. I was John and I was so proud to be wearing a little Beanie hat like he did and ‘humming’ away on my harmonica. Of course it was all lip synched but that didn’t matter we were The Beatles! The parents loved us and the school kids thought it was neat that we found costumes that were so much like the clothing of The Beatles! It was all my mother of course…she stayed up countless evenings putting together outfits that would represent them even going so far as to find wigs that looked like their lovable mop tops. Her greatest contribution to our musical talent was in the instruments, she designed poster board cut outs of their bass, guitar and the famous BEATLES drum cover and attached them to tennis rackets and a toy drum set my brother had AND we strummed away and made Kolmar School music history.
    I still listen to The Beatles, I’ve watched “A Hard Day’s Night” hundreds of times, I’ve read every biography and book ever written about The Beatles as a band and each member as an individual.
    I find it heartbreaking that they parted in such a difficult way and that they never came to terms with what happened. They are considered the first band to create that kind of super stardom and I imagine with all the temptations of money and fame they just couldn’t deal with it all…
    I love their music though and although I wasn’t there, because of their presence in our household I feel like I lived it!

  7. I think you did. Reading so many books about them certainly filled in the blanks that you might have missed when you were younger. AND WE HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON, I was John Lennon once too. At the fund raiser at IJP in Flossmoor. We practiced our lip synching too and it was great fun. I know I wore some tight pants and a striped jacket, don’t know where they got that stuff. Your mom was incredible doing all she did to make you guys a hit. Great memories and thanks for sharing, Beth

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