Monday, August 10, 2009

A Response to Comments on My Buckley/Beatles Article

Normally, I do not reply to comments left on my articles. But I thought I would make an exception here with regard to my most recent column on the late William F. Buckley's attitude towards The Beatles.

Specifically, I wish to reply to Bob Stapler and Steve Laib who are also contributors to IC.

My article addressed the merits of Beatles music and why I thought Buckley's comments 45 years ago missed the mark. Now both Stapler and Laib tend to agree with Buckley's assessment that the Beatles music was "awful" at least in their early years. Like Buckley, both have a preference for classical music. So perhaps they didn't like it when the Beatles sang "Roll Over Beethoven." Of course, I made no comment concerning classical music in the article other than to mention it formed a significant part of Buckley's musical education. I do like some classical music. I like jazz better. But in all honestly on most occasions I prefer 1960s and 1970s rock n' roll although some of it does owe its inspiration to classical music. Of course, '60s and '70s rock encompasses a great deal of music. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Nick Drake have little in common but I enjoy both just the same. We all have our preferences.

I also found it interesting that John Williams came up in the commentary. Williams, of course, was the conductor for the Boston Pops for many years. His predecessor, Arthur Fiedler, conducted the Boston Pops for nearly half a century. One of the many albums Fiedler and the Boston Pops recorded was Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops Play The Beatles. Fiedler embraced The Beatles with the same enthusiasm he embraced Brahms.

Stapler, at least, acknowledged the Beatles were fun. However, Laib writes, "Meanwhile, the fact that a lot of people enjoy things is of little validity. A lot of people enjoy drugs, but it certainly isn't good for them." Would Beethoven's music have endured nearly two centuries after his death if people didn't enjoy the Ninth? Moreover, I'm not sure how parents and their children singing "Let It Be" at a Paul McCartney concert is analogous to snorting cocaine. Or put another way, Laib's comment isn't up to snuff.

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