AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING
Oh look, a rock band on television–whatever
New Book Exposes the Beatles for Who They Really Were
Available today, Bob Spitz‘s “The Beatles: The Biography” apparently “brings the same exhaustive level of scholarship to the Fab Four that Robert Caro brought to Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson.” And here I am thinking Lyndon Johnson was a President.
Eight years, 2,792 original pages, 650 people interviewed–that’s a lot of numbers, not to forget that Spitz is 55 years old, and only 50% of this book is true anyway. Even with all those numbers though, Spitz still can’t overstate the importance of the Beatles to pop music: “They took rock ‘n’ roll from a medium that was about cars and girls and gave it context, interesting chord changes, and true musicianship.”
Sure, Bob Spitz can’t overstate the importance of the Beatles, but that doesn’t mean Riff Raff can’t–or won’t, or didn’t. The Beatles didn’t just affect rock music history–they affected all history, whether we listen to music or not. Below are some facts of the matter, w/r/t where we–as human beings–would be if the Beatles hadn’t existed.
- Instead of people saying, “Hey, nice Beatles-style haircut,” they’d say, “Hey, you sort of look like an asshole.”
- The dudes from Interpol would be really successful investment bankers at a firm owned by Ian Curtis, who is the most emotionally stable person in the world.
- The Shaggs would actually be better than the Beatles, but also the Shaggs would just be the name of a minor league baseball team.
- The brilliant meta concept of John Lennon, a Beatle, riding in a Volkswagen Beatle, a car, would be replaced with the slightly less brilliant meta concept of Mike Shinoda, a Linkin Park guy, crying.
- If you said “Ringo Starr” around a person of moderate intelligence, he would assume you were making a hilarious joke about the lovechild between Kenneth Starr and a VHS cassette containing the 1998 horror film Ringu.
- Here is a conversation that might happen if the Beatles didn’t exist:
-Hey do you want to see the Beatles tonight?
- Here is another conversation:
-Hey, so the Beatles are playing tonight.
-(nobody is listening)
- Instead of me fooling around on a drumset and my dad coming in and saying, “Who do you think you are–Ringo Starr?” my dad would come in and say, “Who do you think you are–a guy I have never heard of?”
- “Punk music,” which in a way rebelled against the Beatles’ artification of rock, would just be the name given to a series of Bo Diddley covers as played by cast members of MTV’s Punk’d.
- Inexplicably, Kid Rock would just be called Rock, mostly as a way to further torment WWE’s The Rock.
- “Garage rock” would only exist in the form of an actual garage, in a rock, where Batman parks the Batmobile and, when he must, chastises Alfred the Butler.
- All the baseball stadiums that play the Beatle’s “Birthday” when birthdays are announced at the seventh inning stretch would only use the traditional version of “Happy Birthday.” Alternatively, nobody would celebrate birthdays, or be born.
- The Country Music Awards would happen every day.
- John Lennon and Paul McCartney on the street:
-Good day, sir.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 1, 2005