How Far Have We Come? Ask the Beatles

We use to burn Beatle’s albums! Really, we did. Love, love me do, She loves you ya ya ya, All you need is love…did we actually create bonfires and throw songs like these onto the pyre?

 I was reminded of these events because of two things: first, it’s the 50 year anniversary of the Beatles performing on the Ed Sullivan Show, and secondly, I caught part of the half-time super bowl show. It was there that I saw the lead singer of the Red Hot Chile Peppers jumping up and down on the stage screaming something, and shirtless to boot. I did grow up in the 60’s and 70’s, so you might think this is just some old guy who hasn’t kept up with the times. But I challenge you to listen to the Sergeant Peppers album and compare it to the super bowl performance, and you tell me which one needs to be burned. Neither, actually, but you get my point.

We’ve come a long way baby in terms of what we tolerate on TV screens, movies, video games, and in the culture at large. Check out the huge posters in store windows next time you are walking through the mall, play some video games, or watch a few “teen” TV shows and you’ll notice the stark contrast with these vs. Pacman and Leave It To Beaver.

I’m glad that we allow freedom of expression, and that there are so many different types of music and literature and entertainment we can all choose from. Watching old news clips of parents lambasting the gyrating Elvis, and grownups judging Motown songs as “colored” music, and of course parents lamenting the powerful effect they thought John, Paul, George, and Ringo were having on their precious sons and daughters puts our current angst into perspective.

Parents have always worried about the effects of the contemporary generations music on teenagers. Adults have fretted about Ragtime, jazz, R&B, rock and roll, grunge, and rap. In previous eras, much of the concern was due to the music having it’s roots in the African American community. Sadly, I think for some today it’s the same story. Think about it: we called the Beatles arrival in America the British invasion and Beatlemania. We crucified John Lennon for stating the obvious: kids were far more interested in the Beatles than spirituality. It’s no different from our current preoccupation with celebrity that finds kids more knowledgeable about every nuance of Justin Bieber’s life than with President Obama or their neighbors.  Each new generation spawned their own brand of music, partly to be different from their parents, partly to aggravate parents, and also because of new, creative artists.

So I guess it’s my duty to agonize over the latest teen throbs, but hopefully not get too worked up over it. We survived All Shook Up, The White Album, and Eminem, so I guess the world will continue to spin after last night’s half-time show. Just count on me to turn off the volume when it’s more noise than music.

PS… This is my 100th blog, thanx for reading them and please share with all your friends!


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