Let me get the following statement out of the way first. Believe me, I completely understand that the Beatles don’t need me to validate them, and I realize that they’ve already carved out their place in musical history without any help from me. I also understand that Paul McCartney has a lot of other things on his mind right now, as does Ringo, the other surviving Beatle. (A term he is probably sick of hearing.)
Having said all that, let me also hasten to add that I’m now a fan of a lot of their music. But I wasn’t always, even when they had become world-famous, and when I did finally begin to appreciate them I came very late to the party. In a nutshell, that’s how it is to be a music contrarian.
I’ve always been that way. It’s not my style to take the easy road and like the same music as everyone else. When I was a teenager, during the heyday of early rock and roll, I disliked Elvis and all the rest, preferring instead to immerse myself in big band music. I soon changed my mind, but then it seemed as if I was a day late and a dollar short, because everybody else had moved on to Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, or Chuck Berry.
When the Beatles first became popular, they were all anybody talked about, and my contrary side again put me squarely in the middle of those who made fun of their “mop-top” haircuts and cute little pegged pant-legs. Some said their music was just new versions of classical tunes, and there were even satirical versions of some of their songs making the rounds. I especially enjoyed Homer and Jethro’s “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (also known as “I Wanna Hold Yer Hams”).
But eventually I found myself slowly warming up to the music of the Beatles and appreciating it more and more. The process even continued later, when the Beatles all became “former-Beatles” and were no longer such a focus of attention for most music listeners. I kept finding more I liked about them and sometimes didn’t even realize I was listening to them. A good example is the theme song from the James Bond movie, Live And Let Die. I loved that song and listened to it for a long time before someone told me that Wings was McCartney’s group. (I’ve never claimed to be smart.)
One other thing, my contrary nature as it applies to music (and don’t get me started on other things) sometimes works in advance, and I’m ahead of the curve. For example, I was into Cajun music before it became popular. (Er, it is popular now, right?) Oh, and one more thing — as Barbara Mandrell (ably assisted by George Jones) put it, “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”.