It’s a scary world — there are people out there, everyday folks who walk among us, who confidently espouse a dislike for The Beatles. While this is a stance that has been taken by the likes of Lou Reed, Julian Casablancas, Frank Zappa and various other contrarian iconoclasts back in the day, it is somewhat more alarming when it comes from the general public outside of the art world. Not because the ‘Fab Four’ have to be everyone’s favourite band, but because what they have given to music and also society, in general, should be self-evident.
This contribution is typified by how truly transcendent their songs prove to be. The melodies and the words that the four humble lads from Liverpool crafted are inexorably interwoven into our yesterdays, todays and likely our tomorrows that never know too. Rather than being some sort of inescapable Groundhog Day dystopia, this influence connects generations, extolls beauty and keeps the prelapsarian dream of the 1960s alive in some small but inviolable sense.
Bruce Springsteen was one of the folks who remembers keenly when the band first burst that initial dream into technicolour existence. As a 15-year-old, Springsteen can even recall when he heard them for the very first time. “I saw Elvis on TV and when I first saw Elvis, I was 9 but I was a little young, tried to play the guitar but it didn’t work out, I put it away,” Springsteen recalled to Rolling Stone Magazine. “The keeper was in 1964, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ on South Street with my mother driving.
“I immediately demanded that she let me out, I ran to the bowling alley, ran down a long neon-lit aisle, down the alley into the bowling alley. Ran to the phone booth, got in the phone booth and immediately called my girl and asked, ‘Have you heard this band called The Beatles?’ After that, it was nothing but rock ‘n’ roll and guitars.” Hearing them for the first time was a moment, he profoundly adds, that “just changed the course of my life.”
One of the most remarkable things about pop culture is that quite often stars not only ended meeting their heroes but even take to the stage with them. If you had told a young teenage Springsteen that one day he would be introducing Sir Paul McCartney as a guest on his show, he would have told you that it was a fallacy that even his hungry heart could not beget.
Nevertheless, at Hard Rock Calling, Springsteen was delighted to introduce ‘Macca’ for a jazzed-up duet of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. The charming thing about the performance is that Springsteen can barely wipe the smile off of his face enough to even attempt singing at certain points.