The Beatles Complete

I am one for epic quests. We celebrated Tim Marzullo's 30th birthday this past Friday by playing Beatles Rockband. Tim is another for epic quests and adventures and instead of randomly picking songs, he decided that we were going to play all the songs, album by album in chronological order. After toasting to some fine Sonoma Merlot, we began to play at around eight in the evening.

I was introduced to the Beatles by my first guitar teacher at the age of 13. One day, after he had been teaching us for a few months he asked my brother and me if we listened to the Beatles. We both shook our heads and said that we never heard of them, much less listened to the songs about the Beatles. He made no response and the look on his face was beyond shock. That anyone would be so ignorant about the greatest band ever was a sort of cosmic error that needed to be immediately rectified. I think he came the very next day to drop a compilation album and either it was my brother or I who asked, "Are they pretty good?". All he said was, "Listen" and left.

I still remember that the first song on Side A was "Love Me Do". The wonderful and loud harmonica intro followed by three thumps on the drums and Lennon-McCartney singing "love, love me do" in unison. I was hooked. I listened to the whole album without a break and I wondered what was I thinking not to have checked them out before. They were awesome! This was the time when most people (including myself) were listening to Bryan Adams. It was that and learning to play an instrument that really got me started into collecting and listening to music.

From that point, I wandered forward and backward in time. My head literally exploded in the next year with all the sounds of the 60s and 70s. Everyone starts their musical exploration at some starting point, a place which is sooner or later forgotten. My starting point has been the Beatles, which has remained as a sort of a center which I return to no matter how far I travel. Every time when I return to them I always find something new and interesting that increases my appreciation for their genius.

Rockband and Guitar Hero dumb down of the effort required to play a real instrument (See old post). Does this inspire people to really take up learning to play? or is it a cop-out from actually learning one. For a party game, Rockband is great. The simplicity does make it inclusive and levels the playing field for musicians and non-musicians. My own experience of listening to some of the songs that I had not heard before, or not listened to very carefully, made me want to go back and learn to play them.

We finally got done at one in the morning. We had made it through every single one of the 45 Beatles Rockband songs and number of bottles of beer and wine. It has inspired another epic quest: to listen to all the Beatles albums in chronological order starting from Please Please Me (1963) through Let It Be (1970).

Beatles fans often declare allegiance to either the McCartney-is-better camp or Lennon-is-better camp. That is indeed silly. What I do wish is that the under-appreciated songwriting skills of Ringo Starr are given a nod. I absolutely loved this song, it got stuck in my head over the weekend.


Anonymous said...

Q-Ma!!!( Rani MA)....
.....Yeah Man!! I wish more such animations are done for such old favourites.The rendition with the animation made me feel I was In NurserySchool with my fairy Heart beat namely....... Q-Ma!!!

Anonymous said...

Goes Jingle Jangle...all the way.....Pragnya

Tim Marzullo said...

Downloaded the remaining tracks to Abbey Road last night. Some of the base lines on the second side 17 minute medley (yeah you know what I am talking about) are sick and super fun. Album is near perfect, save for "Something" and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" which are boring and silly, in that order.

"Oh Darling" is an unexpected gem on Rock Band. You should over in a couple weeks and we can do Abbey Road entire.

Ashdin said...

a nod also to the silent guitar player/composer George Harrison..
for such beauties like "Happy Just to Dance with You", "Something" and "Guitar gently weeps"

Hirak said...

Yes Ashdin. I think George and Ringo get the short shrift when it comes to discussion about the Beatles. Paul and John seem to dominate the conversation which could be tempered with synergistic energy of the Ringo and George.

It's odd that the most prolific, creative and cutting-edge band after fragmenting did not produce anything quite at the level of the Beatles work.