Geeking Out With the Beatles: The Magic of Music and Melody on a Young Mind

Geek Culture

Photo by dunechaserPhoto by dunechaser

Photo: dunechaser

Not only do I love Rock Band, but the Beatles also happen to be my favorite band in the entire world that ever was or will be from now until the end of the world.

Suffice it to say, as The Beatles: Rock Band gets closer to release, I’m struggling to suppress my glee.

I don’t just dig early or late Beatles, or psychedelic or 65-66 Beatles (though, if pressed, that is my favorite era)–I love all the Beatles. And if it wasn’t for the Beatles, there’s a chance I’d be far less geeky, and interesting, than I am today. How? Here’s a look at my life, with the Beatles:

All Together Now: Family sing-fests in the car. “Yellow Submarine” in particular; we just nailed that four-part harmony. I am continuing the tradition with my geeklet today, who already rocks out.

Savoy Truffle: A six year stint as a vegetarian and a subsequent love of cooking. I learned to cook with Linda McCartney’s cookbooks. Once you perfect the art of making vegetables and textured soy protein taste good, you can do anything!

And Your Bird Can Sing: An actual taste in music. I purchased Revolver when I was 12, and until that point had been listening to Wilson Phillips, Paula Abdul and NKOTB. When I asked the clerk at Dynamite Records which album I should start with–having been familiar with many of their songs but few actual albums–he steered me right. Thank you patchouli-scented clerk with glasses, wherever you are.

Paperback Writer: An appreciation for language, poetry, surrealism and plain oddity. With lyrics like “Semolina Pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower./Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna./Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe” it’s no surprise.

The Fool on the Hill: A love of Monty Python. George Harrison was a collaborator and huge fan of the Python crew, and had I not known he was involved it’s likely I never would have checked them out. Mix in my later fascination with all things medieval, and you’ve got one hell of a holy hand grenade.

Image: Natania Barron, age 15Image: Natania Barron, age 15

Image: Natania Barron, age 15. Acrylic on canvas board.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps: A lifelong love of music and musical instruments. I picked up the guitar the same year I discovered the Beatles. I learned barre chords because I wanted to play “Help”, and still know half their catalog by heart.

Free As A Bird: An appreciation of eastern culture and music. “Within You Without You” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” epitomize this gorgeous blending of music traditions with tabla, sitar, and dilruba. And through the Beatles’ spiritual journeys I learned about Hinduism, Hare Krishna and Buddhism. Definitely not stuff I would have picked up in Sunday school.

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds: An unusual sense of style. Thankfully I don’t still run around in dashikis and wire-rim glasses, but for a while I fancied myself something of a neo-hippie. And as embarrassing as it is to think about now, I’m glad for it. It simultaneously set me apart from the crowd and gave me a sense of belonging, even if it was thirty years too late.

I Want to Tell You: Reams of Beatles trivia, subsequently my first geeky obsession. McCartney was the last Beatle to try LSD. “Dear Prudence” was written about Mia Farrow’s sister. John stole the harmonica he used in “Love Me Do”. The Beatles considered making a version of The Lord of the Rings into a film. The original title for “Yesterday” was “Scrambled Eggs” and it came to McCartney in a dream… and those are just off the top of my head.

Across the Universe: A universal language. The Beatles made friends of people that a nerd like me likely never would have had. Given that I could play the guitar and sing, I was able to facilitate sing-alongs during rehearsals for school plays. I like to think that it helped me come out of my shell. Although I can’t say that my visual art endeavors were as successful (see: picture above).

All You Need Is Love: A belief that, no matter how hard I try to shake, still stands: And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Tomorrow Never Knows: What goes on… As I think about yet another generation’s exposure to the Beatles–one that includes video games and Anthologies and re-mastered tracks–I can’t help but wonder what kind of magic, melodious and otherwise, will result.

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