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Reviews |  Why I finally broke up with the Beatles

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Reviews | Why I finally broke up with the Beatles

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At first I was shocked at how saturated I had been all these years without even knowing it. Besides the music itself, there was also the need to know everything about the band’s history, individual personalities, dramas with wives and ex-wives, children, brothers, sisters, parents, the aunts. I used to observe every February 25 (George’s birthday), June 18 (Paul), July 7 (Ringo) and October 9 (John). I had purchased and immediately read, often multiple times, every book on them I could find. The internet had only made things worse. I was saturated.

The first days without the Beatles were difficult. Soon a week passed. A month. And something happened. It was as if I had woken up from a deep sleep and was once again available to the musical world. Amazing Grace.

Still, there were moments of overwhelming nostalgia.

“Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, tomorrow I’ll miss you” was the tune that hit me right in the heart about six weeks into my No Beatles diet. Ditto “Can’t Buy Me Love,” a song for running, jumping, and falling like the Fabs did in “A Hard Day’s Night,” even if you’re an adult standing in line at a post office. But I held on.

Soon trouble came knocking in the form of “Get Back,” the nearly eight-hour three-part documentary detailing the making of what would become 1970’s “Let It Be” album. for the first time in november i kept getting text messages, emails and phone calls from other obsessives who for some reason thought i was going to pay to watch what i hear is an extremely long show on songs I know back and forth but have never been on fire. For me, the first Beatles equal the best Beatles. My Beatles all dress the same, have the same haircuts, go around the world and go “Woo!” My Beatles don’t like ponies. My Beatles don’t even have enough money to give George his own microphone.

It didn’t matter that I said, to everyone, loud and clear, “I don’t care.” People were running around it like a 15-year-old fan running around a police barricade at Shea Stadium in 1965. Billy Preston’s keyboard mastery, they said, must be seen, as must the construction of the song “Get Back” or even the wonderful restoration for itself — color, sound. I’m going to be an old man soon, I told them, and I don’t have eight hours to spend on “Get Back.” I bought all the Beatles albums in LP, 8 tracks, cassette, CD. That’s enough.

None of these people knew, of course, that I would quit. Even now, I find the repeated requests I watch and discuss “Get Back” dangerously familiar:

“Have a drink!”

“Go smoke!”

“Have a cupcake!”

“Have a Beatle!”

But why go back there? Do the Beatles care if I live or die, if I’m happy or sad?

The best justification, in the end, came from a band member himself. George said, in an interview on the West 57th Street TV show in December 1987: “It’s Beatles this, Beatles that, Beatle, Beatle, Beatle, Beatle. At the end it’s like ‘Oh, fuck off with the Beatles’, you know?”

Reviews | Why I finally broke up with the Beatles

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