June 01, 2007

Sgt. Pepper taught the band

On the occasion of the 40th (!) anniversary of the US release date of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, here's a thoughtful column about how/why Beatles songs last.

Posted by Linkmeister at June 1, 2007 09:30 AM | TrackBack

An interesting column. I was particularly bemused by this:

A hundred years from now, musicologists say, Beatles songs will be so well known that every child will learn them as nursery rhymes, and most people won't know who wrote them. They will have become sufficiently entrenched in popular culture that it will seem as if they've always existed, like "Oh! Susanna," "This Land Is Your Land" and "Frère Jacques."
In If I Never Get Back, a nice book by one of my fellow SABR members, the hero finds himself suddenly transported back to 1869. Befriending the touring Cincinnati Red Stockings on a long train ride, he shares quite a bit of time with them. He's surprised that no one knows the words or the tune of Home On The Range (which wouldn't be written for another 3 or 4 years). Same with Happy Birthday To You, the tune of which wouldn't exist for almost a quarter of a century, and the words of which were copyrighted in 1935.

Those aren't the only reasons to recommend the book, but they're certainly apropos here.

On the other side of things, there are any number of Lennon-McCartney songs that struck me as completely familiar pieces I'd been hearing for years the very first time I heard them. For example -- Your Mother Should Know, Martha My Dear, I Will. A mark of songwriting genius, I'd say.

Posted by: N in Seattle at June 3, 2007 07:49 PM

Sounds like an interesting book; I certainly like the premise.

Posted by: Linkmeister at June 5, 2007 07:43 AM