No-one spending their teen years in the sixties would have been unaffected by the Beatles. In fact, it’s fair to say that no-one since 1963 has been unaffected judging by their continuing newsworthiness.
They were significant to we Brits at the time because they wrote their own songs, many of which became hits for others. At first they were rebels because they had long hair, albeit seemingly tailored along with their suits. But they were soon lauded as contemporary composers on a par with Mozart.
All that guff passed over my head, except it is worth noting that the second long player album I bought was their second album, With The Beatles. (Since you ask, my first was a Woolworth’s cheapo recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.)
What, to my mind, is significant is that if I hear any – and I do mean any – Beatles song, it’s imprinted on my mind: I can sing along with it as, no doubt, so can millions of others.
And one such place is Andorra and a road through the Pyrenees, the mountain chain which forms the border between France and Spain. In 1971 I was on my first set of worldly travels; I had no particular direction in mind and was just going where my pig was headed. I’d hitched a ride in France with a German lass driving a Volkswagen Beetle and she had but one album, probably an 8-track cassette – Abbey Road.
It was raining as we drove upwards towards the pass. We rounded a bend at the top and there below us was a lake and it glittered as the clouds cleared and the Beatles sang – and we did too – Here Comes The Sun.
We drove on as the Beatles sang on.
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right.
It’s all right.
And it was.