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Beatlemania Strikes Again!
By: Katie S., Oakwood High, Toronto, Ontario


The Beatles- John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, and George Harrison comprised this unforgettable band, who are now labeled “the most significant music creators of the 20th century”.

Beatlemania began in Britain and made its way over to America in 1964, when every teenage girl was swept off her feet listening to She Loves You and I Wanna Hold Your Hand. They arrived in New York for their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, to find a packed audience of screaming girls and a mere estimated 73 million home viewers. It didn’t take long before The Beatles were a household name, and their songs were played by people of all ages.

The Beatles paved the way for other musical groups of that time like The Monkees, who were specifically created as an American version of the British band. Being associated with such boy bands only helped to give this group the title themselves but, compared to the standards of today, can we really consider them a boy band? Sure, they had the screaming girls (a must on the list of qualifications) but they actually * gasp * wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, unlike The Monkees (the ideal boy band of the 1960’s) or the Backstreet Boys and ‘Nsync (the boy bands of the 21st century).

So what is it that would categorize The Beatles with these others? Perhaps it’s the genre of music (“pop”), but this band evolved so much as a group that their later hits, which had more of a rock sound, could hardly be compared to the early pop music they were recording. This is only one example of how hard it is to label The Beatles as any one genre but if anyone could pull it all off, it was definitely them.

Thirty years after the band broke up, and twenty years after the death of one of its members, EMI records decided to release a compilation album of The Beatles twenty-seven #1 hit, and call it, cleverly, “1”.

So here we are in the 21st century, and the boy band of the 1960’s meets the boy bands of today. They find their CD’s sitting next to each other on the music store shelves, competing for record sales - and a tough competition it is. “1”, however, has become a definite success holding the title of the #1 album in the U.S. for the first week of January, 2001. So what still attracts us to this timeless band decades after their first success? In 1964 their good looks were enough to sell the records, but that can’t be it now, because no matter how cute they were back then, styles have changed these days, and that’s not the ‘look’ anymore. So it must be the music. Would the boy bands of today be as successful as The Beatles are now if record sales were based solely on the quality of their music?

Well, the industry seems to have it all figured out, because following the release of “1”, Atlantic Virgin and Miramax Films plans to re-release A Hard Day’s Night (the first of the 5 films that The Beatles made). It is scheduled for release in theatres in late January but it’s hard to predict whether or not this re-release will be a success. The majority of movie-goers are teenagers who aren’t necessarily too keen about music that their parents used to listen to “back in the day” but for as many teenagers who don’t appreciate The Beatles and their successful return, there are the teenagers who have grown up with their music and never tire of the band.

Now that Beatlemania has returned, it’s difficult to predict whether it will last, since everything that is re-released has already been heard and seen. Hopefully The Beatles will maintain their constant timelessness when this recent Beatlemania dies down and maybe it will all come around again in another thirty years.

Originally printed in Oakwood High's online newspaper: VOICES

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