Culture

The Religion of Beatlemania Still Going Strong

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America is celebrating The Beatles’ Jubilee. 50 years ago this year The Fab Four landed on this side of the Atlantic and the ’60s officially began. (At least, that is, according to PBS.) With the announcement that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two surviving Beatles, will reunite at the Grammys on January 26 and perform a concert to air on February 9, 50 years to the day of their Ed Sullivan premiere, it would seem that Beatlemania (unlike much of organized religion) is making a resurgence in pop culture. Think the Fab Four are so yesterday? Think again:

A 2009 Pew Research Center survey placed the Beatles in the top four favorite music acts of Americans ages 16 to 64 — suggesting the band that helped create the 1960s Generation Gap ultimately helped us come together. Perhaps that’s the Beatles’ greatest gift: music that can be shared not only across the universe, but across generational lines.

Imagine a mathematician trying to quantify each Beatles’ album with Martha Stewart-like graphics. Wait, you don’t have to, just check out one Millennial’s  4 Simple Charts Visualizing The Beatles’ Major Albums and you’ll find out that The Beatles aren’t just for rock n’rollers, they’re for nerds, too. “A new project on Kickstarter aims to tap into the passion of teenyboppers young and old withVisualising the Beatles, a book of infographics about each of the Fab Four’s major records.” Seriously: If that doesn’t make you want to start a Revolution, nothing will.

Huff Po details A Comprehensive Guide to The Beatles’ Invasion of Comic Culture for Millennial comic fans:

“Thanks to a book by Enzo Gentile and Fabio Schiavo, appropriately titled “The Beatles in Comic Strips,” we’ve been enlightened on the Fab Four’s history of comic book appearances. From subtle cameos to entire issues, the group managed to squeeze their iconic faces and psychedelic style into more than a few works of comic art.”

In March, Vans will release four pairs of Beatles-themed shoes for their Millennial audience:

“The most expensive of the bunch, the Sk8-Hi Reissue, features stylized portraits of all four Beatles running up the ankles apropos to cartoon portraits of each as they were animated for the film. The other shoes each feature psychedelic tableaus from the film. The Classic Slip-Ons play off the movie’s Sea of Monsters, showing trippy marine life swimming in an ocean of pink. The Era shoes depict all four band members, some wearing rainbow pants, hanging out in a yellow garden. And the final pair, a model called Authentic, is adorned with a pattern that reads “Allyouneedislove” running over and over again and into itself in purple, yellow and green.”

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Of course, Beatles fans of all ages are being targeted during the Jubilee. Publishers and record companies are releasing a slew of new books and yet another box set of Beatles’ music, this time from the American perspective. A concise review of the upcoming release of The Beatles’ US Albums box set details the great lengths to which Capitol Records went to market a band they’d originally turned down. For anyone fortunate enough to be introduced to the Fab Four in the era of tape and CD, this article gives great insight into how the first generation of American fans first heard The Beatles. Needless to say, at $159.99, the box set is reserved for those afflicted by chronic Beatlemania.

And the testimony of first generation Beatle-ivers is in high demand. Were you there in New York in 1964? If so, the New York Daily News wants to share your memories. In fact, it stands to be many a Baby Boomer’s chance at their 15 minutes of fame as everyone chimes in to recall when the Four Lads from Liverpool took America by storm. The celebration, however, isn’t just for the first generation.

Feel like joining in the revelry with fellow Beatlemaniacs? The Fest for Beatles Fans, a fan convention celebrating its 40th year, will mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ arrival in America by hosting their annual Fest in New York City from February 7-9, exactly 50 years to the date of the band’s premiere on the Ed Sullivan Show. An event list for The Fest includes a pilgrimage to JFK Airport to re-live the landing of the Fab Four on American soil. So far, a reported 8,000 fans (“among them, many teenagers“) from 40 states and 4 continents will be convening in Manhattan to celebrate all things Beatles – and those are only the advanced ticket sale records to date.

Along with soliciting Gen-X and Millennial fans’ best Beatles’ scream-faces via social media, The Fest is incorporating the next generation of Beatles fans through a new feature for the Big 50: The Cavern Club.

“Introducing for the New York City FEST: The Cavern Club. Reinventing the underground Liverpool hotspot where The Beatles were discovered in 1961, this will be a place to rediscover The Beatles through a mixed bag of modern interpretations: young rock bands who admire The Beatles, fashion designers, hip hop artists, dancers, young performers, spiritual thought leaders and DJs playing into the night as it turns into the Rave Cave. CELEBRATE THE BEATLES LIKE ITS 2014.”

Reformed Beatleism? Perhaps. Evidence that the Fathers of the pop culture gods are still actively worshiped? Absolutely. Like Zeus on Olympus, John, Paul, George and Ringo still reign in the pop culture pantheon.