Who are The Beatles?

I have recently had the opportunity to introduce a friend to The Beatles. No, this “friend” is not actually my 2-year-old niece or anything like that, though I know why you would think that considering the above statement.

No, this friend is 26 years old and as of last summer had “heard of” The Beatles and knew one of their songs “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” I lamented this fact to two other friends, one of which freaked out at the same level I was freaking out, the other which said, “I don’t know but one of their songs either.” I’m trying to remember the song he knew; I believe it was “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (but I could be wrong.) Two friends who don’t know The Beatles? I either need to help them or I need new friends.

I immediately started FTPing Beatles songs so my uninformed friend could see what he’d been missing all of his life. I quizzed him at every moment, thinking “Surely he knows the songs, he just doesn’t know he knows the songs.”

Me: “Do you know ‘Across The Universe?'”
Him: “That’s a movie, not a song, right?”
Me: “We have a lot of work to do.”

I didn’t overwhelm him with all of my Beatles music so I started with a few greatest hits albums, figured once he realized all that he’d been missing and begged for more I could send the rest. I waited for him to announce I was the greatest person in the world for introducing him to this huge piece of musical history he had been missing. (I won’t go into the fact that this friend previously called himself a “music expert” – I won’t go into that lest you get a side cramp from laughing so hard.)

So I sent him the music and I waited. And waited. And waited. Weeks later I checked the FTP – he had not even downloaded the music. I was devastated. I asked him about this; he blamed slow download speeds. Yet I knew he had been downloading his trance music like crazy; this was no excuse. I was so disappointed in my “music expert” friend.

On a recent hike when Jeff broke into song, entertaining us all with “Rocky Raccoon,” everyone but my friend was able to sing along. When I commented during a recent drive with said friend that I thought the street named “Strawberry Fields” sounded like an absolutely wonderful place to live, he had no understanding of why I was making that comment.

No, I don’t know which rock he grew up under or if they just didn’t have record players on his planet.

elton1I am taken back to my own childhood of going through my parents’ records, giggling that my dad owned The Beach Boys and Simon and Garfunkel while Mom collected Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. The first gay man I ever knew was Elton John and I chased my sister around the house with his record because she wasn’t sure what to think of his rose-colored glasses. My family listened to Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane and The Doors. And of course, The Beatles.

The song legends of my parents’ generation gave me a childhood of color, of rock and roll, of love.

My friend finally downloaded the music from the FTP but I’m not sure he’s even bothered to listen to it. Maybe he’s just not meant to understand.

He visited a mutual friend of ours this week and she had heard of this “not knowing The Beatles” craziness, so she forced him to listen to them all night. “This is pretty good stuff!” he said at one point.

Yes, yes it is, my friend.

“I can’t imagine a life without it,” our mutual friend told me this morning, “As I sit here and listen to “Paperback Writer.”

I completely agree with her. Our friend has some catching up to do.

(Update: I didn’t just feel bad for said friend. Once I realized he wasn’t going to bother listening, another friend suggested I start messing with him. “‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is the best Beatles record ever!” he told me to say. I did tell him the Beatles sang “Uncle John’s Band,” which he believed. Is it safe to say he brought this on himself?)