It was a rocky start for me and the most influential band of my generation. OK, the most influential band ever. The British invasion hit when I was in 7th grade. The Beatles were everywhere. You couldn’t get away from Beatlemania no matter how hard you tried.
When it came to the interlopers from across the pond I personally preferred the edginess of the Kinks and the driving beats of the Dave Clark Five, but the Beatles so dominated the radio stations those bands could hardly get a song in edge-wise. Strike One.
The Fab Four pushed my beloved Beach Boys from the top of the charts. Strike Two.
But what really put me off was how the girls just swooned over them. There I was, thirteen, just starting to notice (and be noticed by?) girls, and along comes this gang of Brits with their lilting accents and long hair. Was I getting noticed any more? Not a chance. How was a short, skinny, prepubescent teenager supposed to compete with Paul McCartney and John Lennon? Strike Three. You’re out.
I will not like your music, no matter how good it is. I will not hum your melodies, no matter how catchy they are. Most of all, I will not buy your records!
I managed to keep my resolve (about buying their records, anyways) all the way through high school.
Abbey Road, released in 1969, was the first Beatles album I actually purchased (my collection now includes their entire catalogue). I wore our two vinyl copies before it came out on CD.
The Beatles really are the inventors. In cahoots with their contemporaries, they are the band that is the baseline for the acts we love. The modern bands we identify with the most are those that have taken the things The Beatles proved were possible and made them their own.
This story is about how you really can’t forget or escape that. In some ways, I think we compare everything to them.