September 21, 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 Picks

"Blackface. I’ve been writing about, and researching – and opposing – racism for more than thirty years. And make no mistake: blackface isn’t funny. It’s racist. Ask Megyn Kelly. A year ago, the former Fox News star was filming a segment about..."

"Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “selfie line” may be a “political phenomenon,” according to CNN, but it’s also a misnomer, twice over: The photos that supporters end up with aren’t technically selfies—campaign aides snap them—and no one waits in a line..."

"In the archives of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, there is an old postcard from the city aquarium of a large sea turtle with four boys straddling its back. The turtle lies flattened upon a pathway in front of a fence. At the feet..."

"As we celebrated my granddaughter’s third birthday this summer, I made the following rough calculation: I’d trekked from my home in New Jersey to her Brooklyn apartment roughly 150 times to provide once-a-week day care, plus other times as needed."

"That seems to be the emerging bipartisan consensus. “On the evidence we have, the meritocratic ideal ends up being just as undemocratic as the old emphasis on inheritance and tradition,” writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “Our..."

"It was the 2019 Pet Sematary that finally broke me. Was this really necessary? I seethed in a theater earlier this year, at a loss for why anyone would green light a self-serious update to a 30-year-old so-bad-it's-good movie. "Update," even, was.."

"Tuesday was election day in Israel. But no winner has yet been declared. As of this writing, it appears that the parties committed to supporting Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister will not win a majority in Knesset. At the same time, the..."

"The last time Netflix asked me “Are you still watching?” I had to think really hard about it. Was I still watching? Or at least enough to make my $16-a-month payment worth it? The subscription economy can be a wonderful thing. We don’t have to..."