Friday, February 06, 2004

Strawberry Fields Forever

New York City is all a-frothing in twitterpation this weekend in honor of the anniversary of the Beatles's first panty-wetting arrival in America, which happened exactly 40 years ago today at JFK Airport. (Gothamist has all the Beatles-related partying details; here's a photo of The Day the Moptops Landed.) In my opinion, it seems dumb to commemorate a plane landing: I guess the arrival of Pan Am Flight 101 symbolically signaled the arrival of Beatlemania in the US, but I associate the Beatles' first big break on these shores more with their legendary Ed Sullivan Show performance, which also turns 40 soon—this coming Monday, actually (2/9/64). Indeed, the Ed Sullivan spot is the subject of a great in-depth Rolling Stone cover story this week (the best parts are only in the print version, sadly). Who knew the Broadway cast of Oliver! The Musical also performed that night?

How many high schoolers do you think see photos of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and think: "Hey, they totally ripped that shit off from that one OutKast video? Or was it The Strokes?" [Watch 'Hey Ya!' and 'Last Nite']

This year would also have marked John Lennon's 64th birthday. Yes, this means that when Beatlemania started, Lennon was the same age I am now [cripplingly depressing sob]; but it also means it's time to revisit one of my favorite Beatles songs, 'When I'm 64.' (OK I know the song's sung by and mostly written by Paul, but I can't wait until 2006!) Scanning the lyrics, John's predictions about his old age aren't looking particularly accurate. First of all, of course, his ass is dead. At 64 he ain't nothing to take care of but a 24-year-old corpse. A less morbid read doesn't look much better: as far as I know, there's no "cottage on the Isle of Wight" (perhaps it was too dear for him to afford). And assuming we ignore the unknown numbers of bastard groupie offspring, there are no Lennon grandkiddies named "Vera, Chuck, and Dave"—and isn't Sean Lennon a homo anyway? (I mean, he's half-asian, which is basically the same thing.) Glad John stuck to writing songs and dropping acid and playing sitars rather than trying to be all Miss Cleo and shit and predict the future. Maybe if I play the song backwards....

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