If there is one thing that The Beatles taught us it is the importance of togetherness. In these current times of discrimination, protests, and riots, their message of ‘coming together’ is even more important. Even though their music is over fifty years old, their lyrics are timeless. As we celebrate World Beatles Day on June 25th, we look back on their message of peace and love, and the aging of their music.
Formed in Liverpool, England in 1960, the then unknown band consisted of four members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. They began as background singers and players for recording artist Tony Sheridan. But their talent was quickly recognized and they blew up and became an international sensation. Their music was integral to the development of the counterculture – an antiwar group focused on spreading peace and love instead of violence. The first single ‘Love Me Do’ was released in 1962. It became a smash hit and started what is known today as “Beatlemania”. Over the course of their decade run as a group, the band released a total of five albums. Their second to last album, Abbey Road, was released in 1969 and penned some of the most famous songs known today. Here is a closer look at some of those songs, and how their universality has been defined over the decades.
Come Together (Abbey Road, 1969):
“He say I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is
You got to be free
Come together, right now
This song was written by John Lennon and was originally a political rallying song. It depicts different groups of people coming together and working together. They are all more alike than what they think because they all believe in a cause. This was one of the many songs that became an anthem for the counterculture as it supported togetherness. This song has aged incredibly well as it could stand as an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2020, we see millions of people from all over the world of all ages working together to fight racial injustice in this country.
Here Comes the Sun (Abbey Road, 1969):
“Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been
Here comes the sun, doo-dun-doo-doo
Here comes the sun, and I say
Written by George Harrison, Here Comes the Sun became an anthem of hope during political turmoil. It depicts metaphorical situations that can provide a sense of peace, knowing that sun will eventually come out (metaphorically). Like most of The Beatles’ songs, this sounds like it could have been written in 2020. During these unprecedented times and turmoil, this song can stand as a symbol of hope for the future of those being discriminated right now. If we come together and keep fighting, the sun will come out.
Let It Be (Let It Be, 1970)
“When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, ‘let it be’”
One of the last songs to be released by The Beatles, Let It Be, just like Here Comes the Sun, stands as a symbol of hope for the future. The song came to Paul McCartney in a dream. He was growing weary about what was happening around the world. This translated into his dreams. His mother came to him like an angel and said, “Paul, let it be.” Thus, this song was born. Created out of stress about current events, McCartney encapsulated what it is like to be scared in unprecedented times. This is a feeling that right now, we know all too well starting with the pandemic, and now racial injustice. That can be taxing to anyone’s mental health. But, let this song, just like how it served McCartney, be a source of hope and peace.
All You Need Is Love (Magical Mystery Tour, 1967):
“All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need”
Written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, All You Need Is Love stands as an anthem for kindness. This song promotes the spreading of love, kindness, and peace. It exclaims how easy it is to do so. Love is a simple humanistic need. As the song says, when love is being given and received, the world becomes a much healthier place to exist. Sometimes during this strange period in our history, it is hard to feel the love. But, in order to receive it, we must be willing to give it, which can stand a lesson that we must take away from this song.
The reason why The Beatles have aged so well is because of the universality of the themes in their songs. The lyrics catapulted a movement to end violence and hatred. Their songs traveled through decades of war and tragedy because we humans have a bad habit of repeating history. Their lyrics have the same capacity today to promote kindness and end the violence, injustice, and hatred. After all, Paul McCartney said “All You Need Is Love”.
The work it takes to come together is a tall task, but with The Beatles informative lyrics, anything seems possible. On this Beatles Day, please come together and try to spread their message of kindness towards others and actively work to combat racial injustice and be a voice in the Black Lives Matters movement.
“Love is all you need”.