I’m not quite old enough to remember the Beatles when they were still recording. My earliest memories of Top of the Pops date from just after they split up. But when I started getting interested in music they were still a very recent phenomenon and their influence was felt in every discussion about music. They seemed to get the credit for all of the changes that popular music had gone through in the 1960s. And, of course, they were very influential – but I think that in the early 1970s their popularity overshadowed many other artists who were just as influential.
Once I reached that conclusion I pretty much stopped listening to the Beatles. Oh, I’ve got a few of their albums on vinyl, but I never replaced them on CD. Personally, I’d rather listen to the Beach Boys or Bob Dylan.
And I have to say that I’m really rather impressed. Oh, there’s nothing really new there. The album consists of a number of Beatles songs that have been remixed and “mashed-up” by George Martin with help from his son Giles. But there’s something about the way that the familiar songs have been changed in subtle (and, sometimes, not so subtle) ways that really made me listen to them more carefully than I had for thirty years. The songs had become overfamiliar and the alterations knock you out of your complacency and force you to really listen to them. Which is well worth doing, because actually the songs are far better than their overfamiliarity would have you believe.
I still think that the Beatles weren’t necessary the best band around in the 60s, but this album has made me re-evaluate them and I’ll be listening to them more in the future. I might even buy a CD or two.