They’ve been covered by David Bowie, Tori Amos, Aerosmith, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., The Damned, John Denver, and Celine Dion (among others). They’ve been sampled by The Beastie Boys, The Roots, and a Tribe Called Quest. Fifty years ago today, American pop culture changed forever when a group of shaggy-haired Brits arrived in the United States. I was born too late to be part of that first wave of Beatlemania, although my mother- 14 years old at the time- remembers the excitement of their arrival vividly. Even so, like almost anyone who loves rock and roll, I fell in love with their music and feel like they’re one of those bands that I’m constantly rediscovering. They’ve been an influence on so many current bands that it’s hard to say who hasn’t been impacted by their music, and their style evolved so much throughout their career that no matter what you feel like listening to, there’s an album to fit your mood (not to mention the fantastic solo albums that the band went on to produce after they broke up, including one of my favorite albums of all time, and this incredibly catchy song). You could ask almost anyone to name their favorite Beatle, and they can give you an answer off the top of their head as well as reasons why they love that member the best.
The thing I love most about the library is finding whatever I want on a given subject, and of course we’ve got tons of material about the Beatles. Their albums and books about the Beatles are a given, but you might not know that we’ve also got sheet music and live performance videos. Our picture file has images that you can check out (great for teachers!) and searching old issues of newspapers and magazines can yield great and sometimes unintentionally hilarious results. Take this quote from the Pittsburgh Courier in 1964, in an article about experimental jazz musicians such as John Coltrane: “Thank God for [these musicians]; otherwise, we would be left to wallow in an ocean of tired funk, the Beatles, and Al Hirt.”