I think it was when I heard Abbey Road Studios was up for sale. That triggered another momentary obsession with the Beatles yet again. Luckily, I was born just barely in time to catch the Beatles when they first hit the scene. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is the first Beatles song I remember hearing, but it was “Help!” that really made a big impression on me. I just remember that it seemed like the song lasted about 5 seconds and I wanted to hear it over and over and over. I was six or seven and the weighty content of the song really didn’t make an impression – it was the sound! So lush, gritty, harmonious… like nothing I’d ever heard before. The guitars were so punchy and in your face. The vocal harmonies were so right. The song was so great.

I really wasn’t a big Beatles fan when I was growing up and it was happening live, but later in life, now that I’ve really heard the story and really had a chance to listen to the music it continues to blow me away. Sgt. Pepper stills sounds fresh and amazing forty plus years after its release. Most people don’t know that the Beach Boys actually played a subtle but significant role in the making of Sgt. Pepper, according to interviews by both Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney. When Brian Wilson heard Rubber Soul he was motivated (in a competitive way) to create an album that topped it. That album was Pet Sounds. When the Beatles heard Pet Sounds they were, in turn, were motivated to try to out-do the Beach Boys. The result was Sgt. Pepper. We – the buying public – benefited most from that rivalry.

The Beatles changed music forever… duh. The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. They opened Pandora’s box for the rest of us and gave us a grand tour of the contents. I found this incredible Beatles video online: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6327011555352513615# .   You should watch it… and try not to obsess, at least not in public.