Growing up, I had the mentality that in order for The Beatles to be so popular, they can’t have much substance to them. Bear in mind, I concluded this when I was 14, at which point it was ’99, and I think we all can remember the kind of musical tripe popular then. But in my orchestra class junior year, I ended up playing a Beatles Medley—and yes, it was as kitschy as it sounds—including “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m 64,” and “Yesterday,” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band (Reprise.)” So, after listening to the original versions of those songs and I thought, “Well, this is pretty good, it’s not that poppy garbage that they do.” Actually, I really started liking those songs to the point I got frustrated because this medley, despite being for a full orchestra, decided to omit the wonderful string arrangements from “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby.” By the end of the high school, I conceded The Beatles had a few good songs, mostly their later stuff.
When I got to college, I started listening to their older stuff, and that’s really good too. Even the terrible songs are good (“Mr. Moonlight,” anyone?) Pretty soon, I found myself a Beatlenut like so many others before, listening to The Beatles Anthologies 1, 2, and 3. Watching the Anthology. Reading about the history of every song, learning the names of people like Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall, engaging in debates about which is better Abbey Road or Let It Bleed (Abbey Road, by the way.)