Once again I had the tired old question asked of me: “The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?” I answered it the same as I have always answered; neither. Of course my answer was met with the same shock and amazement it always is met with. Is it so hard to believe that I don’t prefer either band? Or is it so hard to believe that Led Zeppelin and/or The Beach Boys should be offered as choices?
I add Led Zeppelin for personal reasons; although a serious case can be made for them, but I get the other side of the argument. I am just a big fan. But The Beach Boys deserve to be in that conversation with no exceptions. I would strongly argue that the question should read “The Beatles or The Beach Boys?” not the former. Personally if I never heard another Stones’ song again I would be quite alright with that. I am rather over and done with Mick Jagger and what and how many drugs Keith Richards’ walking corpse has consumed. I don’t deny they had their time and place in music history but they don’t deserve a monument on music’s Mt. Rushmore.
The Beach Boys were innovators of a completely new and revolutionary sound. Brian Wilson sparked a whole generation (and many generations to follow) of music and musicians. The sound he created with his band mates changed not only American music but it influenced dozens of aspects of pop culture from clothing, to activities, to television and movies. To me The Beach Boys not only deserve to be in that question but should be everyone’s answer to that question. Their contribution to musical history is epic.
I don’t discount at all what The Beatles did for music and pop culture in their own right. They had an enormous impact on a global scale. They were a phenomenon. Their record sales at the time were unprecedented (and still are). That and that alone should get their likeness cast in stone. I am just not a fan of them as a group. I think this is a case where the individuals are greater than the whole. (all of this of course is just personal preference so take it at face value) I will rarely argue against The Beatles as a great group but I do take offense when people say they are the end all and be all when it comes to music. (I take offense when anybody says that about any group or musician really)
Now this article is titled ‘John & Paul’. There is no arguing that these two great men were the heart and soul of the group, George was the glue and oddly enough, I believe, Ringo was the backbone. But the heart and soul is my focus, in particular two songs. These two songs rank high on the list of greats. One just might be the highest of them all.
This is many and my favorite Beatles tune (a close second is ‘All You Need Is Love ‘) and one of the best songs ever penned and sung by Paul. It is epic in its scale and scope. It also does what all good music should do; it elicits emotion.
For me, this just might be the best song ever written. It is the greatest dream laid out for the world to hear. It doesn’t preach. It doesn’t hit you over the head. It simple asks you to use your mind and picture what it would be like if we accepted each other, loved each other and lived together in peace and harmony. I am not a religious person (far from it) but I do wish for the words of this song to be true. Call me a dreamer… I really like to think I’m not the only one.