Tomorrow Never Knows
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Keeping The Beatles’ Music Burning for Future Generations
WHEN we talk about iconic acts and those…
PHOTO CREDIT: David McEnery/REX Shutterstock
artists who will live forever, surely The Beatles are top of the list. I am not saying other acts lack worthiness and that sort of clout but The Beatles are on their own planet; a plain so rarefied that it is hard to see any other artist ever getting to that level. The band’s album, A Hard Day’s Night just turned fifty-five and we get to celebrate fifty years of Abbey Road in September. I love the fact that, with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still making music, we have two of The Beatles in the world. It is a privilege but one cannot overlook John Lennon and George Harrison and the fact these four guys created the best music the world has ever known. It does seem unbelievable that, somewhere, someone does not know who The Beatles are; maybe, in years to come, there will be less awareness and their music will not be as prolific as it is now. That is a bone-chilling thought but, in these days of streaming, are we doing enough to keep bands like The Beatles alive and shared? Sure, radio plays their songs and many of us have records by The Beatles but on these big platforms, are people who are a little new to the band being led in their direction? The Beatles will always be played an adored but I do have a concern that, as we use streaming services more now, whether there will be a day when the greatest band ever are not as influential as they once were.
With the recent film, Yesterday, still in our minds, it has created a nice effect: many of The Beatles’ classics are making their way back into the charts. Billboard explain more:
In all, five '60s/'70s Beatles titles re-enter the Hot Rock Songs tally dated July 13, led by "Here Comes the Sun," at No. 9. (Older titles are allowed on Billboard's multi-metric charts, such as Hot Rock Songs, if they rank in the tallies' top half and show a meaningful reason for resurging.)
Renewed interest in the band's catalog comes thanks to Yesterday, which premiered in theaters on June 28. In the film, the lead character, portrayed by Himesh Patel, finds that he is one of the only people alive who remembers The Beatles, leading him to begin performing their music and passing it off as his own.
In the June 28-July 4 tracking week, The Beatles saw a 26% boost in equivalent album units, earning 54,000, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 17,000 comprised traditional album sales, a 41% increase. Additionally, the band's catalog was streamed 51.2 million times on on-demand services, up 17%, and it moved 35,000 digital downloads, a vault of 40%.
"Here Comes the Sun" leads the band's Hot Rock Songs return with 3.8 million U.S. streams and 2,000 downloads sold. "Let It Be" follows at No. 12 (2.8 million streams, 2,000 sold). The other three re-entries: the film's namesake "Yesterday" (No. 14; 2.3 million streams, 2,000 sold); "Hey Jude" (No. 16; 2.4 million streams, 2,000 sold); and "Come Together" (No. 17; 2.7 million streams, 1,000 sold).
All five titles had previously reached Hot Rock Songs, with "Here Comes the Sun" and "Come Together" the band's highest-charting titles prior to the latest list, both at No. 14 (in 2017 and 2016, respectively). Thus, thanks to "Here Comes the Sun" at No. 9, The Beatles land their first top 10 on Hot Rock Songs, which began in 2009”.
I do like the fact that a film can put a band’s music back to the fore and many argue that The Beatles are always at the front and never go away. are always stories about The Beatles and we get to celebrate their big albums. I do have a concern that there will be a generation that hear about The Beatles through their grandparents. Consider how many people discovered The Beatles: we had our parents’ collection and we were raised on their sounds. Now, I do think that parents and relatives have The Beatles in their collection but there will be a day when that shrinks.
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One might say that all great artists warrant as much acclaim as The Beatles and I would agree with that. I think all the legendary bands/artists who have given the world so much should endure for decades and be heard by as many people as possible. Whilst many of The Beatles’ biggest songs have millions of streams on Spotify (Here Comes the Sun has over 324,000,000 streams), compare that to new artists and it is quite glaring. By comparison, some of Pop’s modern stars are more popular and have bigger sway on streaming sites. I feel The Beatles, more than anyone else in music, should be put on a pedestal and should have this immortal love behind them. They changed the world in so many ways and, whilst it is great Yesterday has put some of their songs back into the charts, I do feel like more should be done to keep The Beatles’ music right at the centre. Some people might approach my fears with a simple argument: vinyl will always exist so their records will endure; their music is always in the world so people can find it. This is true…but consider how prevalent their music was years ago and how that has changed. I do think The Beatles are played far less on the radio than they should and, whilst I know stations have quotas and they cannot play too much from the same act, I do not hear the Beatles nearly enough.
I do think that there needs to be more happening on streaming sites and radio to get The Beatles’ music out there; to play some of the lesser-known songs and encourage people to seek out their music. One hopes that tradition of passing on vinyl will continue but, the more digital we get, will this happen less? I know The Beatles will never be completely forgotten but I genuinely have heard some younger people ask who the band is; not aware of their songs and, in a way, it sort of mirrors the plot of Yesterday: living in a world where one person remembers The Beatles and they do not exist to anyone else. The band inspired my parents and I am so glad that The Beatles were brought into my life from a young age. I cannot put into words the effect the band has had and how much they have transformed me. I am in my thirties and there are still songs from the band I have not heard. Algorithms on streaming sites work to an extent but I think they are too narrow and they are not nearly as bold as they should be. We all sort of get into a habit of listening to the music we are used to and not often breaking away from that. I do have this anxiety where The Beatles are relatively underground on streaming sites and there is still this reliance on new artists. Fewer parents will keep vinyl and the radio stations, who do not play The Beatles’ music enough, will not do as much as they should.
Sure, there are podcasts, articles and news items about The Beatles but will we get to a stage when this will star to dry? Will The Beatles’ genius start to dim? I do not think that is possible but I feel like here is a band that have influenced so many people and artists and their music needs to be preserved and promoted as much as possible. Even as a die-hard fan, I still get surprised by a track of theirs I have not heard in a while. Radio stations do not dig deep enough into the back catalogue and I hope this recent wave created by Yesterday continues. We are, as I mentioned, lucky to have two Beatles with us still and Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr do not look like they are going to retire anytime soon! I am not saying streaming sites need to put out a Beatles alert ever week but I do think we owe this wonderful music more than we are giving it right now. In the meantime, we have Abbey Road’s fiftieth to celebrate in a couple of months and who knows where McCartney and Starr will go from here? The Beatles’ music sound as original and exciting to me now as it did when I was a child and I hope that sensation continues for generations to come. There are other remarkable artists who have shifted the world and changed music but, in my opinion, none have had the same impact…
AS The Beatles.