The Beatles were one of the few bands I listened to as a very young child that I could recognize by seeing them. Most of my mom’s 45s didn’t have sleeves, so I had no idea what anyone looked like. Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and Jerry Lee Lewis were all mysteries to me as far as appearance, but I sure did love their music! The “Love Me Do” record I had didn’t have a sleeve, but most of my mom’s other Beatles records did, so I could see who they were. But I don’t think I knew they were British until I started reading about them when I was 7, because to me they sounded American.
This is the first Beatles song I loved. I played my mom’s old 45s when I got my first record player when I was 5 years old, and this is the first Beatles song that really made an impression. It’s incredibly catchy and fun and the words are easy to remember, but that doesn’t make it any less brilliant. It’s an excellent pop song.
Love, love me do
You know I love you
I’ll always be true
So please love me do
Chuck Berry was my first favorite rock and roller, but The Beatles were my first favorite rock and roll band. And if you know anything about rock history, there would be no Beatles—indeed, no modern American music, period—without Chuck Berry. As I listened to The Beatles more and more I discovered how deep his influence went. I also came to realize how much Buddy Holly inspired them. “Love Me Do” is definitely more Buddy than Chuck. I can totally hear Buddy singing this song as if he wrote it.
So I guess you could say that The Beatles were the band that showed me how to interpret your influences as an artist. I’m a writer, and I know how much I used to imitate Dorothy Parker and Jack Kerouac. Some of it was deliberate, some more organic. That’s how we find our own style. Well, hopefully we find our own style. Some people spend their careers copying others. The Beatles had their own sound that was created by way of their love for early American rock and roll and what was popular in Liverpool back in the day. And their sound evolved from the poppiness of “Love Me Do” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to more obviously complex songs like “Norwegian Wood” and “Eleanor Rigby.” Whenever I hear people say they don’t like The Beatles, well, first I try to not punch them in the throat. Once I collect myself and ask why, they usually say they just don’t like the music. There’s no real reason they don’t like it, they just say they don’t. It does not make sense. They created many different sounds throughout their career, so I find it hard to believe that anyone younger than I am (40 years old) has heard so much of The Beatles that they can make an educated statement about not liking any of their music. And I still want to punch them in the throat.
The Beatles changed everything, and even the haters agree. Nothing has been the same since The Beatles invaded America. I know I would not be who I am without them. They are one of the most important influences on my life, not just musically, but overall. Thank God for The Beatles!