Open Forum: ‘Immeasurable’

Posted: February 12, 2014

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

— Plato

With Buddy Holly's tragic plane crash in 1959, and Elvis Presley’s transition from stage performer to actor, there was the possibility of a decline of rock ’n’ roll music. But on Feb. 9, 1964, the Fab Four exploded on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and there was a musical shot that catapulted around the world.

Since their inaugural debut, those raucous, strumming, four young men from Liverpool immersed the world with rock ’n’ roll and 50 years later, the Beatles’ influence lives in nearly every song on today’s popular music charts.

The Rolling Stones created the entire album “Let it Bleed” in response to the Beatles’ “Let it Be.” More recently, there have been countless other musicians influenced — Bruno Mars, One Direction, Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, Cold Play, The Cure, U2, R.E.M., etc.

What is so phenomenal is none of the Beatles could read or write music. Paul McCartney had learned to play the piano as a boy, but beyond that their musical acumen came from a genuine love of music and an uncanny ability to learn by ear, With an open mind, they could probe, explore, and assimilate diverse music.

As many present-day musical artists, the Beatles did present innuendo about drugs (“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”). But most of their songs were about love, peace, and hope (religious). One only has to peruse many of the following songs to ascertain this fact: “All My Loving,” “And I Love Her,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “From Me to You,” “In My Life,” “Love Me Do,” “She Loves You,” etc.

McCartney is very succinct regarding his songs: “I’m really glad that most of our songs were about love, peace, and understanding.”

Beatles songs were often deep, philosophical, symbolic, and written to sooth or relax the listener. McCartney wrote “Hey Jude” to comfort John Lennon’s son Julian, when his mother and father (John and Cynthia Lennon) were divorcing. The message conveyed: “Julian, do not put the weight of this ordeal on your shoulders.”

“Let It Be” is emblematic of Paul’s deceased mother coming to him as an angel and telling him not to worry in times of trouble, everything will be alright, and just let it be.

Since the beginning of mankind, there has been singing, dancing, and the beating of drums. Music has been incorporated in psychology and psychiatry, and, in most instances, is relaxing, inspirational, motivational, and good exercise (dancing). In fact music is frequently mentioned in the Bible: “Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets” (1 Chronicles 13:8).

As chronicled in this letter, the Beatles were instrumental in the evolution and development of rock ’n’ roll music, and the sharing of love, peace, and harmony among people. It is refreshing that their love went one step further in the love of animals as Paul McCartney eloquently states, “You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”

On that “cool night” in 1964, a 10-year-old boy’s quest to emulate the Beatles began. Not to be a singer in a rock band. but to enjoy music and dance, love mankind, treat animals kindly, and realize dreams can come true! We have had many influences, but the depth and magnitude of the Beatles is immeasurable.

In closing, let us respect and follow John Lennon’s words of wisdom in the poignant lyrics of “Imagine”:

“Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”

Doug Strosnider is a resident of Winchester.