In My Ears and In My Eyes (Part 1), by Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs is the creator of the popular blog Pen-Elayne on the Web. She was a founding member of Friends of Lulu, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and women in comics, as readers and creators. She is married to inker Robin Riggs, with whom she shares two cats, and has odd love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton.

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9 Responses

  1. Rick Taylor says:

    BBC Amercia has run a documetary that I believe was called something like 'Secrets of the Beatles' or 'Secret Lives of the Beatles' that I've caught twice recently while channel surfing.It was quite good.

    • Elayne Riggs says:

      Argh, torture! We're like the only Cablevision system around that doesn't get BBC America… *sigh*

  2. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    That "secret life" special was just on last weekend. It was whole show about their exposure to drugs and sex while in Hamburg, and how it affected their whole career. A fine example of how much you can say about the Beatles using only innuendo, hangers-on they haven't spoken to in decades and obscure people from their early career. And if you don't have permission to use their music or even (IIRC) their likenesses.I don't think there will ever be a band that so affected people like the Beatles. You could possibly make the case for Elvis, or Nirvana, but the fab four appealed to everyone. They are royalty, and will ever be treated as such. Their names will always sell books, and their songs always sell records, whatever form records eventually come in."Looks like I'll have to buy the White Album again". –Agent Kay, Men In Black"Imagine no religion? No possessions? No countries? That's so revolutionary it's unthinkable. And he thought it, and wrote it, and made it a hit."I recall an episode of WKRP in Cincinatti where Richard Paul (Carter Country) played a Jerry Fallwell-like character who was demanding the ability to choose what was "acceptable" music to play on the station. Mr. Carlson hands him the lyrics to "Imagine", the censor-guy reads tham and says he couldn't see how he'd allow this to air. Carlson tells him to get to steppin'. Great scene.

  3. Neil C. says:

    Elayne, Like you I was a second-generation fan. My aunt gave me her copies of Meet the Beatles and Hard Day's Night, but it was in seventh or eighth grade (1977 or so), when I became a full-fledged Beatlemaniac, hunting down their albums for 4.99 at the Commack Flea Market or Korvette's. The first album by a Beatle I remember buying 'new' was Wings' Back to the Egg. And I remember being upset when I heard John was shot. While I like all kinds of music (except rap and country), the Beatles are always No. 1. Matter of fact, in less than two weeks, The Fest for Beatle Fans is back in NJ, and I'm going. :)

    • Elayne Riggs says:

      Ah yes, Beatlefest. Thanks Neil, you reminded me I wanted to mention that in next week's column.

  4. Howard Johnson says:

    Incidentally, "Rutlemania" is in LA through Friday March 21, and then moving to NYC March 26-29 at the Blender Theatre (I don't get a cut for the plug!)–every Beatle fan I know will love it. I always thought it ironic that George, who I consider to be one of the top ten songwriters in recent history, was in a band with #1 and #2…

    • Elayne Riggs says:

      Wow, great to see you here, Howard! As one of THE Python mavens, you're probably one of the best people to speak to Harrison's role in both the Beatles and the Rutles.

  5. Paul Wargelin says:

    Growing up, I heard the Beatles music–together and solo–on the radio all the time, but I didn't become a Beatlemaniac until high school in the mid-1980s. I probably heard Paul McCartney's solo music before the others because I was always listening to my parents' copy of Band on the Run (which I've since appropriated as my own), so Paul was my favorite Beatle by default during my early childhood.As a teenager, I was drawn to John Lennon's work as I admired his activist and rebel persona and loved how he could be so raw in his rock music ("Instant Karma") as well as introspective in his ballads ("Imagine"). I soon acquried my parents' copy of The John Lennon Collection.Then in 1987, George Harrison released Cloud Nine, my first solo Beatle album purchase. The excitement that album generated, George's first in five years, with radio hits "I Got My Mind Set On You" becoming a #1 smash and "When We Was Fab" honoring the Beatles music, I felt as if I was a participant in my own wave of Beatlemania, via George's music. Of course 1987 also marked the 20th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper, and I fell in love with the entire album, particularly John's wordplay imagery and psychadelic soundscapes, but George's ethereal sitar meditation "Within You, Without You" entranced me from the very first time I heard it and became a highlight of the album for me. I remember wondering what it would be like to play such a beautiful instrument–and eighteen years later I found out. I have been studying sitar since 2005, and last October, I even performed "The Inner Light," "Norwegian Wood," and "Hey Jude" on stage. And as I purchased more Beatles albums, George's songs continued to stand out from John's and Paul's–as much as I love their songs–as breaths of fresh air. "If I Needed Someone," "Taxman," "Love You To," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Here Comes the Sun," and "Something" were these unique and beautiful gems scattered amidst John and Paul's diamonds. And I think because there were so few of them during the Beatles made George's songs that much more special. So when I wasn't looking, George slipped into my subconcious and became my favorite Beatle.Ringo's happy-go-lucky persona shines through all his songs. I've seen him peform with his various All-Starrs three times now, and he is a wonderful showman.Ms. Riggs, thank you for this wonderful column, especially your thoughts on John's death coinciding with Reagan's Presidency. Strange days indeed…But I do have to wonder why you singled out George as being a "randy scouse git" (great Monkees song, BTW) above the others? All four of them had their infidelities. "Norwegian Wood" was essentially John confessing the fact, and I'm not sure he would have married Cynthia had she not been pregnant. His marriage to Yoko hit a snag when she kicked him out and gave him permission to sleep with May Pang, their personal assistant (that's quite the definition of "soulmate"). Jane Asher supposedly broke it off with Paul after she caught him with another woman one too many times, but unlike his bandmates I don't think he planned to settle down until his wandering eye did.

  6. Russ Rogers says:

    George Harrison was not the only Beatle to face plagiarism charges.This is from Wikipedia: "Come Together" was the subject of a lawsuit brought against Lennon by Chuck Berry's music publisher, Morris Levy, because one line in "Come Together" closely resembles a line of Berry's You Can't Catch Me: (i.e., The Beatles' "Here come ol' flattop, he come groovin' up slowly" vs. Berry's "Here come up flattop, he was groovin' up with me"). After settling out of court, Lennon promised to record other songs owned by Levy, all of which were released on Lennon's 1975 album Rock 'n' Roll. By the way, "Rock 'n' Roll" is still a pretty good album.