The Beatles

For Shayan.

I like the Beatles. In fact, they are one of my favourite bands. They are in the top ten for sure, and most probably, in real terms, make it into the top five… at number five. I could give you the list of my favourite bands, and whilst the order changes a lot, the actual members of the distinguished group of artists rarely changes. This is a long in development post of mine. I’ll do it one day when I run out of ideas. However, The Beatles.

The Beatles then. Everyone knows who they are, if for one person didn’t recognise John Lennon from one of his most iconic photographs… but anyway, that’s besides the post. The thing is that this month they released The Beatles: Rock Band. Merging two of the things I love most about music: the band themselves, and the ability to play their music without any musical ability. This is a good combination.

However, it’s not the music, nor the playing that has me enthralled by the game – no siree, it’s the fact that I can lord it over my flat mate. He has had little or no exposure to the band at all, save for the most basic experiences, like most of the world, with their singles. This exposure is a generous number of some of their best material, but also a rather windowed look at the band.

They’re early stuff is blues-rock and the birth of pop. Their mid term work perfected the rock album and recording method (amazingly only touring for half of their career) and then their later experimental era which paved the way for concepts upon concepts and hundreds of bands for the next 40 years. The expansive nature of the back catalogue means that the game is a good introduction.

Though when playing I notice that he does know the songs. As does everyone. Even the more obscure tracks are familiar, and the well known ones (the ones that are rather worn out) are still exciting. Ringo Starr’s drumming aside; the game does a good job of approximating the music of the three guitarists. I say Ringo aside not because I deplore his musical prowess (though some do) but, like previous Rock Band games, you are not pretending to play the drums, because you actually are. It’s like an interactive drum trainer, and exactly the sort of thing I need to hone my “skills” as they are.

I suppose it should be a given that I appreciate the Beatles, even if I didn’t like them, as I am a “connoisseur” of music. They have influenced probably, to some degree, either through 3rd or 4th generation, almost all the material I listen to. Even the minimal techno, the post-rock, the folk, they have all been influenced some how, either in a good way or a bad way, by the fab-foursome. The kicker is that most of their work is still as fresh as it was then as it is now, and that is something that very few artists can achieve. I am not saying anything new, and I am not even making any real point, I just wanted to write about a band I like a lot, and also talk about computer games.

For the record, my favourite albums are, in order, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Please Please Me, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road and my edited version of The Beatles (The White Album).

I once read an interview with Dave Grohl who stated “People who don’t like The Beatles… you gotta look at them as if they are from a different planet. I mean, who doesn’t like The Beatles?!”. I’m sure I could find some. But they’d be wrong. Obviously.