Lessons from The Beatles

This year, The Beatles seem to be everywhere I look–magazine covers, TV specials, and even blog posts. This resurgence of The Fab Four’s omnipresence is probably because January marked the fiftieth anniversary of The Beatles’ American invasion, but what most people don’t know is that June actually marks the release anniversaries of several of their most famous records, including A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Beatles VI (1965), and my personal favorite Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). I need a little help from my friends to get by. Don’t you?

The Beatles have obviously had a lasting impact on American pop culture and music. More than seventy million people tuned in to watch their debut on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. To put that in perspective, at roughly 35% of 1964′s population, that’s comparatively the same as the number of people who watched the Super Bowl this year, the broadcast with the highest viewership in history. Perhaps it was their catchy music or their mop-tops that garnered so much attention, but I believe The Beatles remain a cultural icon because of the lessons they taught us about life.

Here are some of the lasting lessons I’ve carried with me from The Beatles.

1) The road to the easy life is not so easy.

Although The Beatles hit it big when they came to America, what the history books forget to mention is the long road they travelled before Beatlemania. Many times, we hear about how The Beatles got off the plane in the states to a crowd of roaring fans anxiously awaiting their arrival. We always miss the stories of the seven years between when the band formed and when they got their big break. Over the course of these seven years, the band spent two particularly trying years in Hamburg where they would often play eight-hour sets with no breaks. The moral to this story? Success takes hard work, but that doesn’t mean you should give up! As Lennon sang, “A man must break his back to earn his day of leisure.”

2) Never settle for the comfortable.

In a society that is as rapidly changing as ours, this might seem like a no-brainer, but The Beatles proved the power of innovation and the dangers of complacency. Constantly experimenting with new musical sounds and techniques, The Beatles kept themselves and their fans on their toes. A conscious and enduring desire to be different led the band to pioneer new techniques in music and pave the way for the advancement of the entire industry by popularizing artificial feedback and multi-track recording. A perfect example to all of us that we must evolve or die.

3) Never be ashamed of who you are or where you came from:

While The Beatles whole-heartedly embraced the move into American culture and the fame that came with it, they never forgot their roots. The Beatles came from the small port city Liverpool on the northwest coast of England. The Beatles embraced their humble roots. Some argue that it may even have contributed to their stardom.

These are just a few of the lessons that The Beatles have taught me, but they’ve had a major impact on many of us—old and young. The lessons The Beatles have taught us have already lasted fifty years, and I hope we carry them with us for the next fifty as well. That’s all I’ve got for now. All this Beatles talk has got me nostalgic. Until next time, you can find me crooning “Hey Juuuuuuuuude…”