I’ve been listening to the Beatles since I was a dancing fetus.
At four years of age, I already had in mind who I wanted to marry. Unfortunately for me, the only four men I thought I could ever love were either 50-something years old or… dead. Their music, however, was as fresh as it had ever been.
The Beatles, whose career peeked in 1964 and lasted until 1970, were one of the most successful and influential bands in the history of popular music. In fact, they were so famous, society had to come up with a name for their fans: Beatlemania. Beatlemania was a term referred to describing the intense fan frenzy directed towards the Beatles. It was characterized by intense levels of hysteria demonstrated by fans at the sight of their four favorite men. If you have even the slightest awareness of what constitutes attractiveness (no matter what your sexual preference is) and if you’re lucky enough to appreciate and be able to recognize good music, you can probably relate to the hundreds of girls who would tear out their hair, jump uncontrollably, and scream their lungs out when they laid their eyes on the Beatles (if they managed not to faint). Their looks didn’t help keep the ladies away either.
This fan hysteria, however, wasn’t going to stay behind in the 1960s. My mother, one of the many 14-year-old girls who fell in love with Paul McCartney the first time she heard him sing “All My Loving,” wanted to pass the joy, the passion, and – let’s be honest – the obsession on to her children. Lucky for me, I was the first guinea pig. The first time I heard a Beatles’ song, I was 24 weeks old, comfortably lounging inside my mother’s womb. Because babies start hearing outside noises at around this time of the pregnancy, my mother could not wait to introduce me to the tunes that I would be listening to for the rest of my life. Little did she know, my love for the Beatles would eventually surpass hers.
Alas, it is appropriate to say that I have been a walking Beatles song my whole life. I have arrived at this conclusion because of two reasons: one, I was named after “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and two, I hum their songs everywhere I go. I was singing their songs way before I learned how to speak English. Yes, English is my second language, something I had to learn when I moved from Argentina to the United States at the age of nine. Before that, my tongue only spoke Spanish. So for nine whole years of my life, I was singing songs that I had no idea were about love, or about a fake band named after table condiments, or controversially about LSD. I just put a few consonants here and there, threw some vowels in the mix, and it sounded like I at least was saying something.
It wasn’t long until my love for their music would affect my own musical talent. I wrote my first song when I was a mere five years of age. It might have been a thirty-second melody that sounded more like the theme song to a kids’ TV show than anything else, but regardless, I had written lyrics and composed, for a lack of a better word, a small piece of music. Unsurprisingly to my family, it was a song that confessed the love of a 5-year-old girl to John Lennon.
In Spanish, the conversation went as follows:
“Mommy! I wrote this for John.”
“Just now? I thought you were eating lunch!”
“Hold on, let me get the guitar,” was my father’s response.
I cleared my throat and sung the words: “My love, I will always love you. Because you are my boyfriend and love with never die. Love. Love. Love.”
Despite the lyrics, I wasn’t naïve. I knew John had long been dead and that even if he were alive, he would be about 54 years old. That didn’t stop me. Instead, I would tell my mom – by this point, blown out of her mind that I was so in love with this band – that I was planning to marry John Lennon when my time came to be in Heaven. She would laugh; I was pretty cute. But I was serious.
When I was six years old, the first Beatles Anthology came out. The CD was the first of three double-disc albums composed of mostly never-before-released Beatles material. For the first three months after it came out, I listened to that CD every single living day. I was especially attracted to the first track, “Free As a Bird,” which I would play on repeat and I would dance to in my blue Cinderella costume dress. To this day, my dad tells me that I have forever ruined that song for him. The poor man had to listen to it about fifteen times a day, seven days a week.
Growing up, I wasn’t listening to the Spice Girls and singing to boys that if they wanted to be my lover, they had to get with my friends. I was telling them that I wanted to hold their hand and that it’s easy, all you need is love. I had managed to make friends with another 10-year-old Beatles fan, Valerie, who used to join me in choreographing dances to “Can’t Buy Me Love” or “A Hard Day’s Night” to show our dads when they came home from work. We would get together after our school bus dropped us off to record our weekly (sometimes daily) “Beatles Radio,” filled with full-length interviews and in-depth commentary on issues such as Paul McCartney’s new wife and George Harrison’s throat cancer.
Needless to say, it’s really rather preposterous how much I know about the Beatles. Ninety percent of the time, I know whoever I’m talking to doesn’t really care that the song “Julia” is secretly for Yoko Ono, or that Paul wrote “When I’m Sixty-Four” when he was sixteen years old. Much less do they care about any other obnoxious Beatles-related fact that I throw at them. But I do try to refrain this information to myself sometimes. I make it a point not to play the Beatles when there are other people in the car, unless they deliberately choose one of their songs. And although it may not seem like it, I do listen to other bands and artists. But there’s nothing to be ashamed about. So what if I’m abnormally passionate about a band that broke up forty years ago? Do others not care that this band makes me happy?
The Beatles make up a big part of who I am, although the entity of who I am is not only a Beatles fan. I can rely on them when I’m sad, when I’m lonely, when I’m happy, when I’m angry. Sometimes, it takes more than human contact to make you feel like your true self. As much as friends’ and family members’ advice and support may console you during hard times, there are some things that just music can say to make you feel right.
After all, lyrics that endorse love should never be undervalued