Streams

Meet (and Get to Know) the Beatles

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bob Spitz, journalist and author of The Beatles: The Biography; and Jim Henke, vice president of exhibitions and curatorial affairs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has an exhibit on John Lennon's New York, discuss the persistent popularity of the Beatles. What's your take on the Beatles? Are you a young fan of the band; or an older non-fan of the band? What about Lennon in NYC - did you know him when he lived here? Comment below!

Guests:

Jim Henke and Bob Spitz

Comments [44]

Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

Gee, what a coincidence that this survey and this Brian Lehrer episode happened to occur when The Beatles' catalog as well as the game has just been released...
Hey, Mr. Lehrer, do you get a cut of the action?
By the way, there are many individuals "of color" who love The Beatles; certainly the musical artists in these communities have expressed the impact of the group's influence. To deny that is just as ignorant as when it's denied that many black men and women liked or listened to Elvis.

Sep. 17 2009 09:00 AM
Zach from UWS

Wow. There are a lot of Gen Xers showing their latchkey kid angst on this comment page right now...not that I want to get into a generational war, but it seems a little stereotypical.

Sep. 16 2009 12:16 PM
Kathleen Vignolini from Long Branch, NJ

PPS - OPPS! Forgot to say that I'm in that "elder" group, 63 this year!
Even after Rigby, I still didn't listen to rock much, but then those few stations stopped playing Folk music, and rock bands started writing lyrics that had a story, & Rock wasn't so awful.

Sep. 16 2009 12:05 PM
Veronica from Mannahatta

CP from Williamsburg... To your point, I agree, I think Michael Jackson was the first musical artist to cross so many racial lines and impact so many with his music.

Sep. 16 2009 12:01 PM
Michal from UWS

P.S. I only tune my radio to something other than WNYC for 15 minutes per day. And this segment made for a nice lead-in to the 12 O'Clock Beatles Block on Q104.

*Contented sigh.*

Sep. 16 2009 12:01 PM
Camille from Slovenia

I agree with a lot of the people who say that The Beatles are not particularly significant in communities of color OR influential to much music coming out of communities of color. I am a young black woman (28) and did grow up listening to the Beatles (only because I randomly found a Beatles record at my day care center), but I am kinda sick of them now. For my money, The Smiths are my favorite band.

Sep. 16 2009 11:58 AM
Michal from UWS

Agree wholeheartedly on your guest's "growing up with the Beatles" assessment. When my sister and I were young, my parents bought Beatles compilation tapes for long family road trips; it was our first real exposure to rock music, and the appeal never wore off.

My sister and I eventually discovered the later, more psychedelic work. Turned out our mom didn't really care for that stuff.

Sep. 16 2009 11:58 AM
Richard Williams from Larchmont, NY

I am a trombone player and the brass quintet I am in is called "Brass Onion".

Sep. 16 2009 11:58 AM
Gregory Piwinski from Staten Island

I didn't like the early Beatles but i believe through repitition they grew on me and today I tend to connect many memories with the music. I think they are probably the most played of all with covers and in movies and television.

Sep. 16 2009 11:58 AM
Jennifer from NYC

My mother worked every Saturday when I was a small child in the 1970s, and my dad & I listened to The Beatles every weekend. We saw the John Lennon exhibit together recently, and it was great to have a whole set of shared memories around something cultural. It was very bonding. The Beatles are the soundtrack of our relationship.

Sep. 16 2009 11:58 AM
Evan from New York, NY

Allison, well put. On behalf of Gen X'ers everywhere, STOP! ENOUGH! WE GET IT, BOOMERS. YOU ARE THE MOST SPECIAL GENERATION EVER AND EVERYONE ELSE IS NOTHING (Caps intended).

Sep. 16 2009 11:58 AM
Kate Steinberg from Brooklyn

Also, I have a Gen X friend who is not a fan of the Beatles, but recognizing their cultural importance, wants someone to sort of tutor his 8-year-old son in Beatles 101, since he is not objectively able to do so!

Sep. 16 2009 11:57 AM
Stephen from Scarsdale, NY

I am only 19 years old, but ever since I was little, my mother has always listened to the Beatles, especially with me around. She got me to love that music, especially when she describes the early Beatles shows that she attended. I think the reason that they are still so popular is that they have innovated the sounds of modern rock, especially in there later albums. Songs like A Day in the Life and Strawberry Fields Forever song so unique to the point where I have never really heard songs that that resonate as well in my ears. Or in other words I think no other artists has never been able to create such unique, classic, and trippy music.

Sep. 16 2009 11:57 AM
Valeen from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

I have always been a Beatles fan, and since moving to New York, I've always wanted to visit Strawberry Fields during the memorials for John Lennon. Its never worked out with my schedule, but I happened to be in Central Park the day after George Harrison died and I literally stumbled across Strawberry Fields and a huge gathering of people singing and playing their music. It was an amazing New York and Beatles fan moment and I spent my entire afternoon enjoying the company of fans just like me.

Sep. 16 2009 11:56 AM
Veronica from Mannahatta

My mother tells me when I was three in 1969, I kept playing St. Pepper's over and over again.

Sep. 16 2009 11:56 AM
Hattie from Brooklyn

The Beatles made great "gateway" music. They were fantastic in their own right but opened more skeptical, tradition music listeners to music they might not have gotten into. Vive les Beatles.

Sep. 16 2009 11:56 AM
Marcos from the Bronx

To clarify my earlier question: Is it still true that Black folk and other people of color don't like the Beatles?

Sep. 16 2009 11:55 AM
john from office

This is sooo tedious. The reason we are speaking about this is the same reason we still speak about woodstock, baby boomers are in love with their youth. They are just a band.

Sep. 16 2009 11:55 AM
Debbie from NJ

I'm not quite Gen Y... one of the last years of Gen X (33) and I LOVE the Beatles. My mom was a HUGE fan. She saw them in Shea, skipped school to try to see them at the Hotel Pennsylvania right before they were on Ed Sullivan. So they've always been a part of my culture. We used to dance around the living room to Meet the Beatles. On every birthday we used to BLAST "Birthday" so loud we actually busted a speaker one year!

Now that I'm a mom, I sing Beatles songs to my son all the time and hope that I can impart that appreciation onto him. As I got older I'd say that I like later Beatles more than the early pop stuff.

Sep. 16 2009 11:55 AM
Pjbeee from Ridgewood NJ

Another comment:

The Beatles are notable for so many reasons, and here are just a couple, in addition to what you've already discussed on-air.

Every album was chock full of memorable songs, a huge percentage of which could have been singles, and they wrote almost all their own music.

Not to mention that they have changed the course of music more than any other band, and over so many years.

Not to knock greats like Sinatra, but his influence on the course of music, while notable, doesn't match that of the Beatles for sheer variety.

Sep. 16 2009 11:55 AM
Jenny from Brooklyn

My 3 and 6 year olds are obsessed with the Yellow Submarine. They would watch the DVD every day, if I let them. It's the only music that we've been allowed to play in the car, hence I'm sick to death of the White Album.

Sep. 16 2009 11:54 AM
Kathleen Vignolini from Long Branch, NJ

When the Beatles first showed up, I couldn't stand them, with their "dumb" lyrics, "Yeah, yeah, yeah" stuff. I thought the girls screaming were fools!
Then they came out with Eleanor Rigby, and WOW, they seemed to grow up, and finally be saying something real!
PS, I was an avid "folk" fan, & also preferred Classical, & Jazz & Blues to Rock ... same reason stupid lyrics!

Sep. 16 2009 11:54 AM
Susan from Yorktown Heights NY

I just turned 50 (as did many of my friends.) We all love the Beatles, not only for their music, but because they remind us of our childhood. Many of our kids also love the Beatles, some more than we ever did.

My husband and I have our own little connection to the band:
"When I'm 64" was our wedding song. We only have 14 years to find out...

Sep. 16 2009 11:53 AM
sarah from UWS

I'm 30, never minded the Beatles but wasn't really into them.

Last week I played Beatles Rockband for the first time - now they're stuck in my head. I'm a lot more interested in them now.

Sep. 16 2009 11:53 AM
Allison from Brooklyn

I am so over the Beatles! I think part of this is my dislike of my parents generation (the Boomers...I'm GenX).

Let it go and let the Boomers go.

I just can't stand it! Why are the kids listening to MY PARENTS music. Stop the madness!

Sep. 16 2009 11:53 AM
josh

Bought my first CD in years -- Sgt Peppers remixed -- partly b/c I saw my first CD FOR SALE in years. 7//11 -- brilliant.

Sep. 16 2009 11:53 AM
CP from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

I disagree that the Beatles are universally popular - don't you think this changes, at least in America, across racial lines? I don't see latino or black communities prizing the Beatles in the same iconic way that white audiences do.

Sep. 16 2009 11:53 AM
Marcos from the Bronx

I had complex feelings about the Beatles growing up. I was impressed by a comentator I heard say the group marked the moment when white pop music in the US/Britain stopped being conversant with Black music. This was in the '90s

Where is this racial divide today? Please ask for more comments

Sep. 16 2009 11:52 AM
Marielle from Brooklyn

My parents are in their 70s, and they firmly believe (and will hold forth at length on the subject) that the Beatles were responsible for the complete breakdown of the moral fabric of society. This used to totally crack us kids up.

Sep. 16 2009 11:52 AM
Marlene Weisman-Abadi from Park Slope

My husband and I, (Beatle fans in our early 50s) and our 9 year old son, just got back from a summer vacation in the UK, which included a 2 day visit to Liverpool. It was heart warming to see the diverse mix of nationalities and ages who were booked on the National Trust-led tours of Lennon & McCartney’s boyhood homes, and at the other sites around Liverpool. The shared devotion to this band among the visitors was truly inspiring.

Sep. 16 2009 11:52 AM
Kate Steinberg from Brooklyn

My 5-year-old, filling out a questionnaire after the first day of Kindergarten, in answer to the question, "What person would you like to meet" answered RINGO.

And she can quote chapter and verse from Hard Day's Night, the movie.

Sep. 16 2009 11:52 AM
andy from queens

Under 40 and hate them, probably unjustly due to so many lemmings loving them. Still, there's much better music out there and I'm tired of boomer nostalgia.

Sep. 16 2009 11:52 AM
Pjbeee from Ridgewood NJ

My 19 year-old son is studying music in college nearby, and tells me that the overwhelming majority of students in his composition class are there because of the Beatles. Indeed, this conversation happened a couple of days ago when I brought up the subject of Beatles Rock Band. They are indeed MY favorite band. I am 56.

Sep. 16 2009 11:51 AM
Nancy Duggan from Morristown, NJ

Born in 1954, I fell madly in love with the Beatles, had an "I Love George" button, and played Beatles with my 10-year-old girlfriends in Stuyvesant Town. The love affair continued into my teens, waned in my twenties, and by my thirties had pretty much ended. Now I'm just bored silly by the music that I've heard for way too long.

Sep. 16 2009 11:51 AM
Zach from UWS

I'm 23. I've loved the Beatles ever since I was indoctrinated by my boomer parents as a very young child. They are enduringly popular because they produced consistently accessible and fun pop music that also managed to take artistic risks both in form and content.

Sep. 16 2009 11:51 AM
Christine Rath from Brooklyn

Hi Brian, I love this topic. I would love to know though why the segment is not including those of us from 30-50? What are the Gen X statistics on the Beatles?

Sep. 16 2009 11:51 AM
mike from rock center

everyone loves the beatles at some point in their life. if they remain your favorite, it shows you're just kind of musically lazy.

Sep. 16 2009 11:50 AM
pat from brooklyn

What's the big deal? People loved Mozart for hundreds of years. Of course one of the most innovative rock bands of modern times is going to stick around.

Sep. 16 2009 11:50 AM
Aubrey from Clevaland, OH

My 10-year-old son's favoite band is the Beatles. But he will only listen on vinyl! In his bedroom he's got a record player and 8-track player. I think he spends too much time with his grand-fathers.

Sep. 16 2009 11:50 AM
lauren from NJ

uhh, the beatles - soo overplayed its annoying. the music itself is such "saccharine sweet" pop music - its like the brittney spears of my parents generation.

lauren, age 28

Sep. 16 2009 11:49 AM
Stephen from Brooklyn

Crazy! When I was a kid int he 70's and my mom listend to 10-15 year old Sinatra it sounded ancient. Please explain, why the beatles some of it over 40 years old still sounds modern and timeless.

Sep. 16 2009 11:49 AM
Jill from westchester

here's what turned my 14 year old son on to the beatles: the film "across the universe".

Sep. 16 2009 11:48 AM
stephen from brooklyn

Crazy! When I was a kid int he 70's and my mom listend to 10-15 year old Sinatra it sounded ancient. Please explain, why the beatles some of it over 40 years old still sounds modern and timeless.

Sep. 16 2009 11:47 AM
seth

I love the Rolling Stones and the Who with a great passion and about 40 other bands to a lesser degree. At the end of the day, however, the Beatles remain the Mount Everest of rock bands. Their music sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did when I first heard it 35 years ago. Unlike the Rolling Stones and the Who, the Beatles left me clamoring for more after releasing Let It Be. The Beatles disbanded at the height of their creative powers.

Sep. 16 2009 04:18 AM

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