As a true “musical Jedi,” Paul McCartney knew he could learn by ear and switched off the worldly “how-to.” Being a “lefty,” he found it difficult to play guitar right-handed until he saw a Slim Whitman poster where Slim played left-handed by reversing the strings. Paul was born the same year as left-handed Jimi Hendrix, and both of them followed Mozart who was also a lefty. The difference with Mozart was that he didn’t reverse the piano strings.
Paul’s father played trumpet and piano and encouraged Paul to take piano lessons. Like Mozart, Paul would craft his notes on the piano to form his musical thoughts. However, Paul did not write for a particular instrument like Mozart, who wrote two works specifically for fellow Free Mason, Benjamin Franklin’s invention: the glass armonica. It was made of smaller to larger glass rings, creating sounds like a finger running around a crystal glass. It was introduced to Mozart by Franz Mesmer, the pioneering hypnotherapist who used his armonica to “mesmerize” his patients for healing.
Paul’s father gave him a nickel-plated trumpet for his 14th birthday. As rock and roll became popular on Radio Luxembourg, Paul traded the trumpet for an acoustic guitar so he could sing while playing. Paul would go on to sing, play and compose songs in his dreams, one of which was the melody for “Yesterday.” Becoming the fourth most successful song of all time, it was performed over seven million times in the 20th century alone by different artists.
Paul’s bandmate John Lennon had a rough as sandpaper childhood, and in school was seen as the troublesome lad, labeled by his teachers as being on the road to failure.
Imagine a teacher seeing John’s dissidence as pain in disguise and supporting him in learning how to identify and deal with it. When John was 17, his mother was struck and killed by a car, and John was left with the pain of heavy loss in a timeless vacuum.
John met Paul about a year before and had already formed a group called the Quarrymen. Paul joined as a rhythm guitarist and having become good friends with George Harrison at age 12, they invited George to join the group. Some 7.6 billion years from now people might remember their prophetic song, ”Here Comes the Sun,” as they watch the earth crashing into the sun.
When tiny Georgie was an infant in the womb, his mother would listen to Indian music, including the sitar, intending for him to “pick up on the peace vibes.” Talk about a mother’s influence. George would go on to include the sitar in Beatles music and introduce Transcendental Meditation to millions of people around the world. He received a guitar from his father at 13 and was inspired by Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” to pursue rock music.
Ringo’s childhood was also challenging as his folks separated when he was 4, and at 6, an appendicitis operation left him in a coma for days. At 13, he contracted tuberculosis and remained in a hospital for two years. The medical staff made an effort to stimulate motor activity and relieve boredom by encouraging their patients to join the hospital band, leading to Ringo to take up the drums. Life’s crooked path can be a straight arrow of perfection.
When Paul was 14, his mother unexpectedly died of an embolism. Paul’s sudden loss became a real connection with John, who had suffered the same blow. The heavy emotional losses and giant empty spaces could only be expressed through their original music, impacting billions of people and creating unparalleled music history.
After an audition for Decca Records, the group was told, “guitar groups are on the way out.” Later when they auditioned for producer George Martin, he asked them if there was anything they personally did not like. George answered: “Well, there’s your tie, for a start.” That was the turning point as John and Paul joined in with jokes, inspiring Martin to sign them. They recorded “Love Me Do” and “the rest is history.”
The Beatles’ historic February ’64, U.S. debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” was a monumental event that catapulted them into international stardom. This was a massive pivotal moment in global media history in a multitude of ways. Just a little over two months after the assassination of JFK, The Beatles exploded onto the global stage with a startling new genre of music, in concert with phenomenal, uncanny and powerful charisma. With a perfect storm of technology and talent, TV and vinyl records proved that millions of dollars could be made overnight.
The Beatles’ unique but universal music, original hairstyles and seemingly endless parade of number one-hit love songs all carried such an influence that countless millions of people around the world set out to become rock musicians.
With the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album, The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature described it as “the most important and influential rock and roll album ever recorded.”Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it number one in its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
“Love, Love, Love” are words in The Beatles’ song, “All You Need is Love.” A seemingly simple song, it rippled across religions, cultures, philosophies and countries with a universal and emotional connecting force. It was the first live global satellite TV link seen by over 400 million in 25 countries in June ’67, a whopping 8 times as many viewers as the Super Bowl that year.
The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, selling over 600 million records.
So what made the Beatles famous? Riding the invisible wave of perfect timing, their fame arrives with their original, limitlessly pleasing music, plain and simple. I was fortunate to sit next to Paul and Jimmy Page at Rod Stewart’s birthday party and expressed to Paul how I felt he is a genius. He responded like a humble kid on the playground, as if surprised, and thanked me.
Mr. Malibu’s high-profile events and celebrity interviews reach over 22 million on television, 500,000 via social media and nearly 4 million on YouTube. Visit MalibuHD.com and HeartAscent.com to learn more. Look for more Mr. Malibu chapters in next month’s issue.