July 18, 2019

The Beatles Branding Machines Charges Ahead

“Yesterday, a new musical dramedy debuting this Friday, conjures up a world we can’t begin to imagine: one in which the Beatles never existed. Somehow, after a global blackout, no one on Earth has ever heard of the band, except for the protagonist Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a scrappy musician from a small English seaside town. Performing the Beatles discography as his own, he’s suddenly elevated to worldwide stardom, and we’re led to accept that the world will always laud songs like “Hey Jude” no matter who the performer is.

Yesterday, a new musical dramedy debuting this Friday, conjures up a world we can’t begin to imagine: one in which the Beatles never existed. Somehow, after a global blackout, no one on Earth has ever heard of the band, except for the protagonist Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a scrappy musician from a small English seaside town. Performing the Beatles discography as his own, he’s suddenly elevated to worldwide stardom, and we’re led to accept that the world will always laud songs like “Hey Jude” no matter who the performer is.

Though the Beatles broke up in 1970, their legacy has been repeatedly and consistently promoted in the following decades. Whole radio stations are dedicated to their music; video games, re-mastered albums, and documentaries are still being produced about their musical career; remaining band members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, still release music and trade on their Beatles cred today. In the eighth grade, my classmates and I — born nearly 30 years after the release of their final album had to perform a musical version of Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches, set entirely to the Beatles’ hits.

According to Peter Doggett, music journalist and author of You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup, we can blame the baby boomers for all this. “The 1960s have been constantly marketed to subsequent generations as being the golden era of all time,” he said. “It’s all part of a sort of wider cultural domination of subsequent generations by the people who were alive in the sixties.” Adding to that, the band’s company and individual member’s estates have jumped on every commercial opportunity to secure their legacy. Objectively, they’ve succeeded.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."

"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."

"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."

"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."

"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."

"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."

"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."

"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."

"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."

"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."

"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."

"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."