In all, The Beatles toured for just about six years and the Fab Four created arguably the most influential canon in modern music in just a decade, before they broke up. The band, of course, is all about the music — how the lyrics evolved from happy and trite, to crooning about Lucy and life. But almost as important is how John, Paul, George and Ringo presaged the explosive age of media and celebrity of today, where nearly every act, thought and attempt at communication is catalogued, to be brought up at will, in a near infinite array of zeroes and ones. The Beatles were watched and followed in a way, organically, that most Instagram-obsessed popstars pay teams of professionals to orchestrate artificially. So, the discovery of the footage, an 11-second-clip, of a live performance from 1966, has the millions suffering from incurable Beatle-mania excited.
The clip is of a rare live performance on Top of the Pops, a BBC show that featured musical guests. It is significant for many reasons and has academics studying The Beatles particularly excited. For one, the Top of the Pops performance was one of the last ones of the band together. And since The Beatles swept the world in a blitzkrieg, watching them perform Paperback Writer live is an opportunity not to be missed.
For those who haven’t lived through the era when The Beatles were first popular, it might be difficult to imagine the fuss over a 50-year-old, grainy, 11-second video clip. The Beatles, more than any other musical act in the 20th century, typified their age. They reflected first hope and consumerism, then disillusionment and experimentation. If 11 seconds can bring back those memories, it’s worth the fuss.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines