Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Music History Monday: Why All the Hate?

John Lennon (1940-1980) and Yoko Ono (born 1933) immediately after their wedding in Gibraltar (the famed “rock” is in the background); John is holding their marriage certificate over his head

We mark the wedding on March 20, 1969 – 54 years ago today – between the Liverpool-born Beatle John Lennon (1940-1980) and the Tokyo-born artist and musician Yoko Ono (born 1933).  Their wedding took place in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula.  At the time of their marriage, Lennon was 28 years old, and Ono was 36.

Classic Rock ‘n’ Roll as a Geriatric Phenomenon

Given their seminal, world-wide cultural impact, the brevity of The Beatles’ tenure remains, for me, nothing short of mind-boggling.

The Beatles performing during their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964
The Beatles performing during their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964

Let us consider.  The Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, which cemented their world-wide fame, occurred on February 9, 1964.  The band’s final paid concert occurred on August 29, 1966, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, just thirty months later.  The Beatles’ final album to be recorded, Abbey Road, was released three years after that, on September 26, 1969.  (For our information, the album Let it Be, which had been recorded prior to Abbey Road, was released in May 1970.)

The Beatles, then, was strictly a 1960s band.  The last time they were together as a quartet was on August 22, 1969, when they attended a photo shoot at John Lennon’s estate.  On April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney issued a press release indicating that he was no longer a member of the group.  The “divorce” proceedings that followed were lengthy and rancorous; the group was not legally dissolved until December 29, 1974.

Let’s run the numbers.  From the time of their first number one hit, I Want to Hold Your Hand in February of 1964, to the release of their last album in in May 1970, The Beatles were together for just six years.  We’d compare those six years to any number of still-performing rock bands that were founded before Noah’s Flood.  For example, The Who, founded 1964, continues to perform after 59 years; The Eagles, founded in 1971, continues to perform after 52 years; the still-performing Kiss was founded in 1973 and U2 in 1978.  …

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