I read an article today which argued that the world should move on from The Beatles because they were always overrated — the usual, really. It’s an opinion I’ve heard many times, but what irked me about this particular article was the author’s claim that the reason for The Beatles’ enduring popularity is the ‘arrogance’ of the Baby Boom generation, who are apparently desperately clinging onto things which represent how much better they think their era was. And that includes The Beatles.
I say this with the greatest respect for first-generation Beatles fans, but they are not the sole reason for the band’s continued relevance. The fact is that people in every generation since then have discovered the music for themselves. We haven’t had it forced upon us by the Boomers; we love it. And we shouldn’t have to justify why we love it. Yes, in many cases our parents may have introduced us to it. But we don’t have to like what our parents like. We can either accept it or reject it, and the fact that we accepted The Beatles was our own choice.
I’ve loved The Beatles for pretty much my whole life. I don’t even have a specific life-changing moment of discovery, because they were just always there. Their music was played in the house and in the car from the very beginning of my life, and so I simply absorbed it. That was my parents’ doing, but of course I made a conscious decision as I got older to start my own collection and keep discovering more and more about The Beatles for myself.
My parents were born in the 1960s, but although they were around when The Beatles were together and making music, they were young children. They were not the teenagers or young adults who bought the records, collected newspaper and magazine clippings of them or went to see them live. But The Beatles were still part of their lives, as they later became an even bigger part of mine. So to imply that they belong to that one generation, and that they’ll eventually die out with it, is complete rubbish. The Beatles will be around for as long as people listen to them, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
I could rant about all the other flaws in the ‘Beatles are overrated’ argument, but I won’t. I’ve heard it too many times, and chances are someone who believes that won’t change their mind. If they don’t want to listen to The Beatles, no one is forcing them. But if they’re going to tell Beatles fans that they need to let it go — as the guy who wrote this article did — then I will say that they need to get off their high horse and let everyone listen to whatever they want.
Back in the 60s, no one could have predicted that people would still be listening to a pop group fifty years later. The Beatles proved otherwise, and generations to come will ensure it stays that way.