By Dave Coonan, Hofstra Alum
As a die-hard Beatles fan, I have been waiting patiently for over two years to find out if the rumors of a Beatles – iTunes partnership would eventually unfold.
Going back as far as 2008, stories were popping up on the internet and in various other news outlets stating that there had been a deal struck and everyone's favorite band from Liverpool would soon be available for your downloading convenience. So I waited and waited, and for two more years I stuck it out, hoping that perhaps someday I would be able to see John, Paul, George, and Ringo surrounded by the familiar steel-gray border of the iTunes store.
And then it happened.
Two days ago the British Invasion finally caught up with the digital age, and the entire Beatles catalog became available online. Surrounded by hype and dollar signs, the team at Apple turned this launch into the biggest news story of the week. On Monday night, the Apple homepage had a mysterious message that told its viewers to come back at 10am (our time) the next day for a surprise. That surprise, of course, was that the Beatles' music was now available on iTunes.
I viewed this launch as simply a convenience and an insurance policy to cover my losses in case one of my precious albums went missing – because I already own everything the band has ever released. Mostly on CD, but some on vinyl. And that includes solo albums (minus Ringo's).
It's fair to say that most appreciators of the Fab Four probably have, at the very least, the basics. Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, the White Album, maybe Revolver. These are classic albums and they transcend generations. And since this generation gets most of its music from iTunes, it only makes sense that the greatest band in history be available to a more widespread audience so that the legacy, and the music, continues. "Join or Die," as the old saying goes.
This certainly isn't the first move into the modern mainstream for the Beatles, and it probably won't be the last. Just two years ago, the Lennon/McCartney songbook became available for the American Idol contestants. This turned out to be such a hit that for the first time ever, they featured an artist for two consecutive weeks.
In addition, last year the highly successful Beatles Rock Band was released for all major gaming platforms, and this season the show Glee featured Beatles music on the program (I have mixed feelings about this – it's a mixture of sea sickness and severe depression). It doesn't seem to be stopping either. The Beatles have been assimilated into out popular culture in many, many different ways. It started a few years ago with the film Across the Universe, and the introduction of the band's music onto iTunes is simply another step.
This is fascinating considering that the band broke up 40 years ago. Broke up 40 years ago, meaning that they stopped making music. And when you consider that the time between their first album as mop-topped teenagers and their last album was only seven years, it becomes even more fascinating.
Good music is good music, plain and simple. By strategically placing their songs into all forms of popular culture – and in return, popular culture embracing the songs – The Beatles have maintained that they aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and have certainly established that they are, without a doubt, timeless.
As with any music, it's only relevant if people are listening to it. And I think it's safe to say that this music is being enjoyed by our current generation, it will be enjoyed by the next generation, and I won't be surprised if my grandkids one day ask me what "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" means.