Guest post by Stephen Cowan
When I was a teenager and first became aware of the Beatles, I realized that some of their songs that I was listening to for what seemed to be the first time, I had actually already heard before as a little boy. Growing up in the early 1970s, it was hard not to hear the Beatles on lots of radio stations, including the easy listening kind of stations my parents tended to tune in to. My brother wasn’t old enough at the time to have any records, other than “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini”, so I know I didn’t hear the Beatles from him. Maybe it was the muzak instrumental versions that would be played in the Piggly Wiggly grocery store my mom would shop at, or maybe it was on TV where their songs first came to my attention. At any rate, when I fell in love with the Beatles as a teenager, it wasn’t for the first time.
In my ears, the Beatles were not just great songwriters, but they were great writers of songs for children. So many of their songs are playful and colorful, with funny lyrics and simple harmonies. Any kid could fall in love with “Yellow Submarine”, “Here Comes the Sun”, “Octopus’s Garden”, “Good Day Sunshine”, “Ob-la-di Ob-la-da”, “Hello Goodbye” and others. Some of my neice’s first word were koo koo kachew, from “I Am the Walrus” (the lyrics are listed as goo goo g’joob, but how many 1 year olds know that?). First thing in the morning, I love to walk into my daughter’s room with “Good Day Sunshine” playing on my iPhone, and she is always smiling when she hears it. Granted, she has a great daddy, and will smile at me whether I enter her room playing music or not, but still, it is a perfect wake up song for kids.
Now we have been blessed with little baby boy, who also kind of looks like a little old man with a big head sometimes, but his appearance is irrelevant. Before we had our daughter, I told my wife that I hoped our kids wouldn’t cry much. Little did I know, no one has invented a baby that didn’t cry. So now, with our new son, I have been experimenting with some methods to calm and quiet him down. Guess what? The little guy loves “Across the Universe”, by none other than the Beatles. Playing that song for him, on an endless loop, seems to make him forget, at least momentarily, about his ravenous appetite.
So once again, the Beatles are speaking to a new generation. Maybe when our son is a teenager, he will have deja-vu when he hears “Across the Universe”, again for the first time.