In Yesterday, the Music of the Beatles Has Just Got to Be Free

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

I was considered really, really weird for liking the Beatles as a high schooler some 20 years ago, right up until it seemed like everybody liked them. It was music that was given to me through my father, who owned every album and gleefully exposed me to the movie Yellow Submarine at an age where it made even less sense than it’s supposed to. The Beatles were a band that had lore behind them, whose every offhand comment to the press, major concert and infamous interpersonal feud had been breathlessly catalogued.Everybody, at some point, comes to the Beatles, if not to worship them then to scoff about how enjoying their music is so basic (or convincingly point out they cribbed from other artists). The very premise of director Danny Boyle’s Yesterday seems to prove that everyone has an opinion on the Beatles, and that we all want to gawk at what sort of world it would be without the lads from Liverpool. (For one thing, one that also wouldn’t have Oasis.) It’s plainly unthinkable, and like a mob of screaming teens chasing after history’s biggest boy band, we’re enthralled. What’s interesting about this equal parts weird and hilarious thought experiment is that it’s completely removed from the Boomer nostalgia that defines Beatles mythologizing. The Beatles, Boyle is saying, belong to everybody.

Source: Kenneth Lowe/


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