Fundamental Change in Four-Part Harmony

February 9, 2014

article-2211983-153C25D5000005DC-913_634x479Now a year older than even their famous oldsters’ love ballad, time appears on occasion similar to a snap-of-the fingers — here yesterday, then real-sudden-like, half-a-century later.

Tonight marks the 50th anniversary of a brand-new ballgame: ‘Fuck You — It’s My Fuckin’ Life.’
Or, way-more-lame, the first appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show
A spark indeed of a revolution that continues nowadays.

(Illustration found here).

In much retro-brain activity, seems to me the mid-1960s cultural tsunami-invasion from the UK concluded a two-act drama shifting the view of America, and in turn, the world. All of us in the boomer-age bracket — and are alive right now, of course — felt the initial cracks in the facade, which popped loud and clear ending the 1950s and the pre-second-world-war mentality just weeks before ‘England’s phenomenal pop combo‘ took the stage at 1697 Broadway, 53rd Street in New York City.
The assassination of JFK is considered one of the great events of history, and it was, but in actuality and in long-term consequence, Kennedy’s death signaled an end to the duplicity of Americana — we ain’t special, we just think we are. Camelot was phony, so the American Dream. And adding salt to the Dallas head-wound, youngsters started getting uppity.
Combined near-about together in history, Dallas and New York were end and beginning — the flimsy, flawed, black-and-white scenario was exploded-away into a more educated, and joyous appreciation of self.

On this Beatles-related anniversary, there’s tons of stories on the significance and whatnot of that first Sullivan episode. I did mine last November (read it here, if you’d like) and what impact it had on me and other peoples my age — focusing on the rail-car scene in “A Hard Day’s Night,” and John’s deadpan line to the financier/capitalist old guy, “Give us a kiss.”
(Written as “Gie’s a kiss“).
Kissing off the bullshit — we got rights, too. Even with down-to-there hair.

One good Beatles-anniversary story this morning comes from Michael Tomasky at the LA Times — he speaks to the reality of what really happened 50 years ago tonight.
A couple of points, first, we want loud:

But by the standards of the day, they were cacophonous.
Here’s how the Nation’s critic, Alan Rinzler, put it in 1964 after a Carnegie Hall concert.
In an article headlined “No Soul in Beatlesville,” Rinzler wrote that the music was “electrically amplified to a plaster-crumbling, glass-shattering pitch,” and was “loud, fast, and furious, totally uninfluenced by some of the more sophisticated elements” of the pop scene.

In that first wave, in early 1964, most adults mocked the group.
Highbrow derision came not just from the Nation but the New Yorker, the New Republic and the New York Times.
This music was dismissed as a little disease that would pass.
And it’s true that all this wasn’t seen as subversive yet.
That would take another year or two, when the disease hadn’t abated but, rather, metastasized and started taking over the culture, becoming dangerous.
But just because it wasn’t seen as subversive doesn’t mean it wasn’t subversive.
The 1964 Beatles may not have been overtly anti-authority, but covertly, they certainly were.
They were even, in their way, political.
Their platform?
Joy, excitement, pleasure.
Within their aura, the future — that distant and sober thing for which the young people of 1964 were supposed to plan, so they could inherit the responsibility of upholding the greatest way of life the world had ever seen — evanesced.
That fact alone made many in the establishment nervous, and rightly so.

Shortly, in their wake, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Kinks, whatnot, widened the nervous gap between fable and reality. In those weird days, I remember being greatly confused, made both angry and sad at the same time, upon hearing Dean Martin’s introduction for the Rolling Stones on the Hollywood Palace TV show in June 1964 — though, a fan of Martin’s, deep inside my naive, near-subconscious 15-year-old brain, I knew the guy was acting a douchebag-asshole.
My brain’s major problem back then, it appears after a finger-snap of 50 years later, was the confusion on ‘why?’

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