This is my perfect pop song:
What I love about the Beatles, and about this performance in particular, was that they seem to have manifested a zeitgeist in ways that are no longer possible in today's fractured media market.
Granted, the Lads had many peers who contributed to the Art of Rock, and who were era-defining in their own ways. But the Beatles are quintessential. Indispensable. If The Beach Boys are Oregano, and Donovan is Saffron, the Beatles are Salt - simply necessary for life and flavor (the Stones, of course, would be Pepper*).
I think that perfection of pop music has much to do with context and delivery. The Beatles debut on Ed Sullivan's show did two things: it provided them with a large and captive audience, but it also allowed them to showcase their skills. Not talent - mind you. Skill. Of course they were a seething mass of talent, but the great thing about the Ed Sullivan debut is how totally sharp and on point these guys were.
This is even more impressive, given that Elvis made one of his first noteworthy national appearances on Ed's show - and Elvis was an idol to the Fabs. Also consider: the Ed Sullivan show was live
. And yet here were these kids, really, rocking their asses off. It's so funny - when you look at the crowd there are teenagers wearing ties
. Yet from the vantage point of generations; you KNOW all those guys are going to be wearing bellbottoms and have their hair to their shoulders within four years. This, to me, is why these videos are invaluable. She Loves You
is my favorite song of the four performed that fateful night, for several reasons. They came out strong with All My Loving
, but the crowd was only getting warmed up. Till There Was You
is sweet, but it's not a rocker. She Loves You
is full-on rock and roll, though. I think it took until this, the third song, for them to realize: Every single adolescent vagina in this audience is dripping with lust and awakening.
The harmonies are sweet, George's nascent talent is suggested in his graceful soloing - it's just. perfect. They are hitting every single mark. And they know it. To a bunch of boys who are all about twenty, this is essentially Nirvana.
By the time they get to I Want to Hold Your Hand
you can tell they're a little tired. Even though both songs are excellent, to me this specific performance represents a high water mark in Western culture. The whole night was great. Their whole career was great. But this nougat of time and song represents so much more. It is the realization not only of their hard work to that point, but of the potential energy coiled within everyone watching - waiting to unfurl into a revolution of consciousness. Any minute now.
What is your Perfect Pop Song, and why?
*You can live without pepper, but why would you want to?