Generations, part II: All You Need is the Beatles

Hot on the heels of my recent post here about intergenerational communications comes a report in the New York Times that suggests that the Beatles may be shaping up to be the bridge between today’s young generation and all who went before, except for those over 65 (thereby keeping the group’s song ‘When I’m 64’ just on the right side of the divide…). According to the report, the Beatles rank in the top four favourite musical acts of every generation up to that age. It is what we have in common, and apparently this has had the effect of softening the friction between generations.

This is indeed remarkable. Today’s 16-year-olds are listening to music that was recorded over 40 years ago. Back when I was 16, to achieve the same effect I would have had to listen to something recorded in 1930 or earlier. And in case you’re not immediately on the ball as regards what was hot in 1930, here’s the chart. I’ve only ever heard of two of the acts, and I’ve heard only two of the songs (or at least I don’t remember coming across the others). Maybe if there had been some real musical influences in common we would have had a better understanding with our parents back then. Indeed, maybe she wouldn’t have been Leaving Home.

Remarkably, the Beatles – whose successful musical output was recorded really only over eight years – have dominated modern music more than anyone before or since, with perhaps the exception of Mozart and Beethoven. Beyond music, they influenced style, opinion and fashion; and not just one generation, but many generations. Their influence is recognised by everyone (except my spellchecker). So as we struggle to connect, it appears that The Beatles Are All We Need.

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4 Comments on “Generations, part II: All You Need is the Beatles”

  1. Vincent Says:

    I gave a quick look at the music chart thingy and what amased me was that I could know any of the songs never mind the three or four for each year I looked upon. Now I managed to survive very well without knowing u2 or van the man up until a few years ago. This I may be forgiven as I grew up in a aural fog of BBC radio 2 and every C&W known to man. I knew about Folsom prison well before any child decently should, even those with a stake in the place.
    The Beatles though, I doubt anyone really dislikes them except those old enough to have been around to hear Minnie the Moocher in 1931. So all in all, those over 90 not 64.
    Are you getting a bit of Sun, it’s scarce enough this side at the moment. But Perseid meteor shower is very spectacular this year.

  2. Mark Says:

    Hot on the “heals” ? Heels, surely !


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