Sunday, December 02, 2012

Love Me Do: The Beatles '62

Just been watching the BBC4 programme on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first single, Love Me Do. Some interesting footage, including some whingeing from sacked drummer Pete Best. And a slightly misleading commentary from Stuart Maconie, suggesting that Parlophone was a small label (ask Adam Faith), that it was only from merchant seamen bringing American discs into the UK that you could get to hear records like Good Golly Miss Molly (not true, although Radio Luxembourg was the only place to hear decent rock and roll), and that beer was 10p a pint in 1962 (it waseven less than that!). There is much fantasising about that era today - the reality is that the Beatles got lucky and that Love Me Do was OK, but hardly a fantastic record.
Nevertheless, the programme brought back memories of the time: the Cuban missile crisis, when as a 16 year old schoolboy I planned with friends to go to Ireland where we thought we might be safer if the bomb was dropped; the death of Marilyn Monroe, and the launch of Telstar. Love Me Do was the only Beatles record (indeed the only UK 60s beat record) to make it into my personal top ten of the time (one week at number 10) as I much preferred the US originals. Not living in Liverpool I never visited the Cavern, but I was a regular at my local dancehall and occasionally in the West End where similar bands played the same rock and roll songs every week (the Konrads and the Herd for example). I loved that music but I always knew that what I was listening to was a second rate copy of the real thing.
In this year of 50th anniversaries - of the Stones as well as the Beatles - it's good to think that, musically speaking, I could not have grown up at a better time. So for that I thank the Beatles. But I can't forget that it was the great American rock and roll, blues and soul artists that I really should thank.


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