The "Favorite Beatle" Question

I watched A Hard Day’s Night yesterday, the Miramax two-disc DVD version released a few years ago. I hadn’t watched one of the Beatles’ films in a while, and my VHS tapes are packed away, so I had little choice but to go with AHDN.

It’s a great film. I can’t fault anything of it. The Beatles weren’t actors, but you wouldn’t know by watching. The story was rather thin, but you wouldn’t care. Dick Lester’s direction was top-notch, the cinematography holds up. If the film were made in color it might have looked dated, but black and white serves the film well, gives it a timeless look and appeal. The tie-in album is, I think, by far the best of the Beatles’ first four (UK) albums. If I could take one Beatle artifact with me to a desert island, there’s no choice–I’d take A Hard Day’s Night.

I’ve loved the Beatles for a long time. A very long time. I had Beatles CDs before I had a CD player. I scoured back-alley record stores and online auction websites to acquire bootleg albums, especially anything related to the “Get Back” fiasco. Suffice to say, I have a lot of The Beatles in my CD collection.

I’m sometimes asked, Who is your favorite Beatle? I think anyone who likes the Beatles gets “The Question” at one time or another. It’s a natural question, and watching A Hard Day’s Night for the first time in a year and a half “The Question” reared its head in the back of my mind.

It may be a cop-out, but I would have to say, It depends.

My favorite Beatle is a situational thing, dependent almost entirely upon mood, just as mood determines which of their albums sees time in the CD player and which don’t. Early-period Beatles, not so much. Late-period Beatles, most of the time. But then you toss in “Revolver,” and that’s the album I can listen to the most, yet that falls smack dab in the middle of their career. It’s a mood thing.

Then there’s which of the solo albums see play time and which don’t. George’s albums, especially “All Things Must Pass,” “Cloud Nine,” and “Brainwashed,” see a lot of play time. Ringo’s albums, especially the ones since “Time Takes Time,” see a bit. John’s albums and Paul’s albums, though, get very little play, but then I’ll go on a tear and I might listen to “Band on the Run” three times in a single day. It’s a mood thing.

See, I think it’s more about how we perceive the Beatles and their personalities than how they really were. In my angry moods, I might lean toward John. In my facile moods, Paul. In my eager-to-please moments, Ringo. In my deeper, more introspective moments, George. These aren’t hard-and-fast perceptions of who the Beatles were as individuals. Rather, these are the personality caricatures we’ve formed of them over the past forty years, carcicatures defined in large part by A Hard Day’s Night and the other films.

I am a Beatles fan. I am also a fan of the Beatles as individuals. But I would be hard-pressed to say that one Beatle is my favorite above the other three.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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