The next generation of Beatlemaniacs

Michael Gerber
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For me, Beatlemania is apparently a family trait, passed along the maternal line.

MIKE GERBER • This morning my sister Katie wrote to say that my young nephew is listening to The Beatles. So I did exactly what any of you would have: I sent along the DVD of Yellow Submarine. It was simply an expression of my sympathetic nervous system, entirely unconscious and immediate. If he likes that, maybe I’ll send him The Point.

No less a personage than Sean Lennon got his first taste of The Beatles from Yellow Submarine…or so his pop said to Newsweek circa 1980: “Last Christmas our neighbors showed him Yellow Submarine and he came running in, saying, ‘Daddy, you were singing… were you a Beatle?’ I said, ‘Well, yes. Right.'”

I have been waiting to do this for decades, to transmit Beatle-love to the next generation of Beatlemaniacs. My Aunt Mary—Mom’s sister, the proud owner of a pair of Wing Dings (mint, still in the box) which she bought in ’64, and present at what Paul called “our worst gig ever”—did it for me, so the least I can do is pass it on.

Have any of you actively cultivated Beatlemania in today’s youth? How?

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  1. Avatar linda a. wrote:

    I think I already said this here a few months ago so I won’t go into as much detail but my two year discovered the Beatles on his own sitting in his car seat, after I put in a cassette of Beatles songs to drown out his crying. It was more for me than for him, but not only did his crying instantly stop, but he became a life long Beatles fan. He’s 21 now and still loves the Beatles. Not only is he still a huge fan, but he’s a music fan too. He knows what he likes and it’s all good stuff. He has a great ear for what is good, which is probably why he fell in love with the Beatles in the first place at such a young age. He loves Paul’s solo music, especially Chaos and Creation, Band on the Run and Ram. As far as cultivating the love of the younger generation, I did this with my younger son to make sure he was a part of our Beatles Club at a young age. The minute I held him in my arms for the first time I sang of all things, Any Time at All to him. By the time he was in first grade he was into the Beatles too. He’s 18 now and he loves them as much as his brother and I. There is no generation gap in our family.

  2. Avatar Devin McKinney wrote:

    I gave my older niece, who was born on my 30th birthday, my coveted “cartoon Beatles” T-shirt; she eventually passed that on to her little sister. And I made sure my sister, who also grew up a Beatlemaniac, played plenty of their music around the house. Both girls, now 17 and 11, listen to other music more, but they’re sufficiently indoctrinated to know that the Beatles are better than anything that happens to be big at the moment. The younger one is quite creative and just wrote, illustrated, and stapled together a little Beatles book for my last birthday.

  3. Avatar Joe wrote:

    My son turns three in May. When he was a baby I’d sing and play him Beatles songs. I even got him the two Jason Falkner albums Bedtime With The Beatles. As he got older I carried on singing the simpler songs to him, and the first he picked up was She Loves You. He’d start singing “Yeah, yeah, yeah” back to me. We graduated to Hey Jude not long after.

    For Christmas he was given Yellow Submarine on Blu-ray, and he adores it. Every time a song begins he asks who’s singing. We listen to more songs in the car and he’s started singing along. Current faves are I Am The Walrus (“I want Eggman!”), All Together Now, Long Tall Sally and All You Need Is Love. When the latter song plays he shouts “It’s Yeah Yeah!” near the end when Lennon sings the SLY chorus. He’s also got a few Beatles t-shirts which he loves to wear. I’m proud of my son.

    My daughter’s 14 weeks old. I’m about to do it all over again. It’s like benevolent form of brainwashing.

    (Thanks for linking to my site, btw.)

    • You’re welcome, Joe–thanks for commenting on ours! (And comment more, please–we love love love commenters.)

      That sounds similar to the process I underwent lo! those many moons ago. My mother played the White Album so much (ironic, @Devin, eh?) that I used to wiggle my arms and legs with glee every time I heard the jet at the beginning of “USSR.”

      44 years later, I’m me, doing what I do. So @Joe, take that as encouragement or as a warning, depending.

  4. Avatar Michael wrote:

    My daughter just turned 3 and loves to sing Ticket to Ride. Her Beatles tastes are a bit eccentric, though. For one, she can name 3 of the 4 Beatles’ names, but always forgets John (what’s he ever done anyway). Also, I put on A Hard Day’s Night (the film), not sure what she’d think. At first I didn’t think she was too interested (why are they running? Where is the train going?), but now she loves the ‘grandfather’ scene, on the train. A 3-year-old Canadian girl saying grandfather with a scouse accent. It’s really something.

  5. Avatar trawicki wrote:

    i have no kids of my own, but i have certainly done my duty in spreading the gospel among my nieces, nephews and children of friends, including a 3 CD set i have created entitled ‘Beatles for Kids’. one young boy was actually afraid of the blue meanies in YS movie and didn’t want to continue watching (started too young with him, i guess) but others always love it. Yellow Submarine is my go-to for entertaining young visitors to my house.

  6. Avatar Trang Le wrote:

    Hello! Drop by to leave an extremely boring comment.
    I’m from a country called Vietnam, yeah, something has something to do with Beatles. I’d probably first heard of them when I was 8, my sister was a rebellious teenager who refused to listen to N’Sync, Back Street Boys, or Spice Girls. She brought home Beatles, Stones, Floyd, Nirvana, Queen and the likes. I listened to them reluctantly, and I suppose they were not really impressive – but I found myself listening to Beatles the most because there were 4 nice looking dudes in black and white on the cover, not some random triangles or an open mouth or weird men with long and greasy hair.

    I couldn’t read much English and the CD was a cheap Chinese knock-off and random compilation, the printing was horrid, but I’m sure as hell it was plagued with grammar and spelling mistakes. Anyway, my majestic sister also had a Lennon CD, I was really shocked that the guy with glass and beard was actually one of those nice looking guys on the cover of that Beatles CD. I preferred Paul’s songs on that Beatles CD: Yesterday, And I Love Her, Let It Be. But then that particular CD had a lot of slow songs that I also loved, like Imagine, Love, Look At Me, Oh My Love…

    My 8-year-old brain told me: There are 3 dudes singing. One has a real sweet voice and sings slow and nice songs: Yesterday, And I Love Her, Let It Be. The other is either shouting or moaning with guitar parts like in She Loves You, Something, I Saw Her Standing There, While My Guitar Gently Weeps (I couldn’t tell George’s and John’s voice apart back then). And the other left sings Yellow Submarine and With A Little Helf From My Friend. Then I saw a video of Imagine on TV, oh, that’s slow and nice. So the dude sings slow and nice song must be… Lennon, right? And it turned out he’s real famous! It was John Lennon and the other 3 dudes. But I can’t tell who was Lennon on the Beatles cover from the Imagine video and the bearded Lennon CD… Anyway, liking Beatles gave me a hard time because I could not find them on regular magazines. Their CDs were difficult to find. It were all boybands and girlbands. My friends hated me for talking about some irrelevant people. I knew they were big, but not really realized they were THAT big, because come on why no one really knew them?

    That’s how my life sentence started and I’ve just hit 23 last month. It was ridiculous. The amount of people in my country who know Beatles are a lot, but no one really listen to their songs (except Yesterday and hey Jude) or know them, however, John Lennon’s face, for some reason, is very popular. There’s a cafe called Yoko with a huge Lennon poster. Whenever Hey Jude or Yesterday is played they’d be like “it’s John Lennon!” and whenever Imagine is played they’d be also like “it’s John Lennon!”. So Beatles = John Lennon’s band with 3 other guys. I was pretty mad growing up and witnessing at that, but then I grew up and find my console over here.

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